What makes a Quality Cork Floor?
Quality = Durability. We specialize in only the best quality cork flooring at amazingly low prices. We don’t compromise the quality to reduce the costs, its our business model that lowers costs.
So what makes a quality cork floor vs a cheap, low quality cork floor?
WHAT TO LOOK FOR:
DENSITY – Product density is determined by the size of the cork granules used to produce the cork planks. Larger granules have fewer voids to be filled by binding agents and therefore produce a higher density cork material. Large cork granules, with high density, are used as the top layer of all Natural Cork floating floors and parquet tiles to ensure the durablity of the floor. Lower density cork is only used on the bottom layer of the floating floor plank for the additional thermal, acoustical, and mold resistance properties.
FINISH – Natural Cork can be purchased unfinished but, unlike some wood flooring, it must be finished upon installation. Though some people continue to prefer paste wax or hard wax oils, the most common finish today is polyurethane. There are suppliers who offer cork with a vinyl coating that is low maintenance but cannot be refinished or easily repaired. The latest development in finishes is “anti-scratch”, a more durable coating. We offer all of the cleaning and maintenance products for these finish options.
THICKNESS – The thickness of the Natural Cork wear layer has less to do with durability than will the density of the cork material. However, it will be a source of improved insulation both in acoustics and thermal properties. A good standard thickness is 4 mm for parquet tiles, while a 3 mm top layer and 2-3 mm bottom layer is good for floating floors with an HDF core.
With Natural Cork, long lasting beauty can be achieved through purchasing a top quality material and providing proper on-going maintenance.
Providing proper maintenance begins with remembering two key properties of cork flooring, its ability to fade with exposure to light and the fact that it will react to heat and humidity in the floating plank version.
Natural Cork contains organic pigments. Much like other wood products, Natural Cork will fade over time and should never be exposed to direct sunlight. Utilizing drapes, solar film or other systems to protect your floor from excessive light will slow down this process. Cork will naturally yellow or mellow with age. Uneven exposure to light sources will cause uneven aging, so it is a good idea to rotate furnishings and area rugs periodically.
All wood flooring materials have the ability to expand and contract in response to fluctuations in temperature and humidity. Cork is a relatively stable option in comparison to most wood flooring materials. Controlling the environment, maintaining a moderate temperature and relative humidity around 50%, one can minimize the visible effects of the normal contraction and expansion of your floor. It is extremely important to sweep or vacuum the floor regularly in order to avoid build up of abrasive particles and dirt that can scratch the finish and cause the floor to wear more quickly. Most neutral cleaners specified for use on pre-finished hardwood will also work with Natural Cork, but be sure to read packaging for correct information on your exact material selection. These cleaners should be sprayed or misted over the surface and damp-mopped up as you go. It is not a good idea to use the old “bucket and mop” cleaning method on a Natural Cork floor planks. All Spills should be wiped up immediately.
In the kitchen, use a non-rubber backed rug in front of working areas, such as in front of the stove and sink to prevent local premature wear due to the rubber abrading the finish. Weight distribution is a key factor in preventing indentations to cork flooring. Minimizing impressions in the resilient cork, furniture should have proper protectors under feet and furniture with casters should have wide casters. Another tip is to use scraps or cut pieces of cork under the furniture legs to keep from denting the floor. Placing protective dishes under plants is also a key to keeping your new cork flooring looking great for years to come. Following the same concept utilizing protective mats are a good idea under office chairs. Taking just a little extra time to protect your floors will give you years of pleasure with one of the best flooring options available on the market , at least in my opinion.
Most Natural Cork floating planks have decorative patterns that are made of thin veneer laminated to a cork base. Failure to maintain the finish could result in irreparable damage to this pattern layer. The longevity of the finish can be directly related to traffic intensity and quality caring for your floor. When a Natural Cork plank floor starts to show traffic patterns and signs of wear and tear, it is time to renew the finish.
URETHANE – For Natural Cork floating floors pre-finished with an acrylic finish, a new coat of polyurethane will make the floor look brand new again and prolong its lifespan and is just as easy as adding a coat of finish to a wood floor. The entire floor will need to be gently abraded or “screened” and thoroughly cleaned before applying one or two coats of high quality water based polyurethane. The finish then needs to cure for a minimum of 48 hours prior to replacing furniture or receiving heavy traffic or dirt. Greatest success will be achieved through hiring a qualified flooring professional for this type of process. Under normal use in a residential environment, a urethane finish should last between 8 – 10 years between refinishing and can be much longer if you have taken the extra care and cleaned regularly.