AllThings.Bio will answer the most important questions about different bio-based floorings in a series of upcoming articles. In our first article we have a closer look at cork flooring.
Where and how is cork produced?
Cork is a European product mainly obtained in Portugal and Spain from the bark of cork oaks. The trees can be peeled every 8 to 10 years for many decades and secure a living for many small farmers. A cork oak produces 1000 kilograms of cork in the course of its life. At the same time, it is an important contribution to preserve these ecologically valuable landscape areas in Portugal and Spain. To produce cork flooring the bark is crushed to granules and pressed with a binder to tiles and blocks.
Where should cork flooring be used?
Cork flooring can be suitable for all places in your house or office, even the bathroom. Cork flooring provides a comfortable walking surface and is a very good choice for all places with a need for comfortable walking and standing.
What are the advantages of cork flooring?
Cork does not only provide a very comfortable walking surface. It is an excellent acoustic and thermal insulator (cork is made up of tiny air-filled chambers), it is heat resistant (cork is also used in space shuttles as heat protection), does not charge electrostatically and contains natural substances that prevent rotting of cork flooring.
What are disadvantages?
Cork is a soft material. Sharp objects can puncture the floor and heavy furniture can leave dents, so it is better to use felt pad protection. Natural cork brightens up under intense and direct sun light. This is due to its natural origin. Slight differences in brightness of colour even within a batch are typical for natural cork.
Is cork flooring durable?
If properly maintained cork can be a very durable flooring material, but it must be sealed every few years to keep its waterproof characteristics.
Can a cork floor be easily cleaned?
If properly sealed cork flooring can be easily cleaned by vacuuming or sweeping once a week. For a more thorough cleaning pH neutral cleaning agents are recommended. In case you want to apply a natural cleaning you can use a simple mixture of water and vinegar.
Is cork flooring available in different colours and forms?
Due to the many different grains and colours cork offers many possibilities of an individual design. There are colored and undyed cork qualities – solid parquet and cork prefabricated parquet. Manufacturers offer a variety of structures and colors that fit into every home and office.
The surfaces can be untreated, oiled, waxed, transparent sealed or colored sealed. Often ingredients in colorants are not fully declared. In addition, many of the decorative coatings offered cannot be sanded again if there is any damage to the covering. Therefore consumers should preferably use natural and as fully as possible declared surface coatings such as beeswax or natural resin clear coat.
How is cork laid?
You have the choice between two types of laying:
Option 1: Solid cork tiles (4 or 6 mm thick) are firmly glued to the subfloor. They are suitable for heavy use because the cork layer can be sanded several times. This option is recommended for kitchens and bathrooms.
Option 2: Cork prefabricated parquet is made of cork veneer on a wooden fiber support plate and is laid floating (glued or with click connection). This option is moisture-sensitive. This option is recommended for living and bed rooms.
Source: AllThings.Bio, press release, 2018-02-14.
Author: Erik Lohse