Cork, do you know it mainly from a bottle stopper? Imagine that this is a material that could not be simpler: quite simply the crushed bark of the cork oak. 100% natural. It is a material with exceptional properties. It is elastic, it has a very good insulating effect – it absorbs the sound of footsteps in particular, but is also waterproof. No wonder then that it is used for bottle caps. As it is also very practical but also very pleasant to the touch, it is the material to recommend for your floor.
Cork as a floor covering
Traditionally, cork is laid in the form of massive tiles which are glued to the substrate and then sealed. The cork to be glued is therefore available in different sizes, formats and colors. The colors of the cork floors range from classic and dark honey tones to modern white and gray tones. In fact cork can take the tone of many other materials such as wood or concrete. Through processing and printing techniques, you can get a cork floor that perfectly mimics stone or a floor decorated with abstract designs. The thickness of the cork layer on the floor is usually between four and six millimeters. Cork insulates the floor and is ideal for the living room – especially if you like to walk barefoot. As an alternative to cork tiles, there is also cork parquet. Already sealed cork boards are either glued to each other or clipped into each other using a tongue and groove. In this way, a cork floor can also be laid floating, i.e. without being connected to the sub-floor. If you no longer like the cork floor or if you are moving, it can be removed quickly.
Lay cork on the floor
Much like you would lay laminate or linoleum, you can easily lay cork in just a few clicks. Of course, it is especially important that the surface is absolutely solid, clean and even. This is the only way to obtain a satisfactory result. Old coverings such as PVC must be completely removed. If the floor has any irregularities, they must be leveled. If you’re keen to do things on your own, be aware that DIY stores offer relatively detailed instructions on how to assemble your cork flooring at home and also provide helpful tips and advice. You can find tutorials on the Net as well. “Clickable” cork floors are less expensive than glue-in cork floors. For the first, it takes less than 50 euros per square meter. The first prices start from 25 euros. While it takes between 50 and 70 euros per square meter for cork floors to be glued.
Cork floor: clean it, maintain it, sand it
Cork is an easy-care floor covering. You wipe it down regularly and vacuum and that’s enough to keep your floor clean. Even more with its antistatic properties. Having a cork floor is good for your home. When purchasing your cork flooring, you should always make sure that no solvent-based varnish has been used for waterproofing. For some time now there have been many natural water-based resins and sealing waxes which, unlike many chemical agents, do not cause unpleasant fumes on new cork flooring. The most natural way to maintain and refine cork floors is to use natural oils or waxes. A solid cork floor can also be sanded from time to time. This gives the interesting grain and warm color of the natural material a new shine. Be careful, however, with printed cork floors, they can lose their external appearance when sanded.
Cork: a sustainable material
Cork is a material of the future: it is a 100% natural raw material, and not a single tree needs to be felled to harvest it. Only the bark of the cork oak tree is peeled. Furniture, accessories and flooring made from it are therefore a sustainable alternative to living with wood. The fact that the entire cork crop is processed and no gram is lost is another sustainable aspect – in addition to the insulating properties that reduce energy costs with a cork floor. In addition, cork is an unbeatable and fully recyclable stock of CO2. And another health aspect: as it does not absorb dust or dust mites, it is suitable for asthmatics and allergy sufferers. But above all, cork is a natural and versatile raw material, which with its appearance and all its positive properties gives rooms a pleasant atmosphere.
In summary, the advantages and disadvantages of cork
Benefits of cork
- easy to maintain
- for its single-layer version, can be sanded
- insulating, even sound
- nice underfoot
- elastic, flexible
Disadvantages of cork
- expands, so can only be installed with an expansion joint
- not all cork floors are suitable for underfloor heating
- not suitable for humid rooms such as the kitchen or bathroom
- heavy furniture can leave marks on it
- if there is too much sun it may fade
- in its multi-layer version, cannot be sanded
Yesterday considered a bit old-fashioned, cork flooring is making a comeback in our interiors. Go for it!