If you did not know yet, then we inform you – they make cork coverings from the bark of cork oak. Moreover, this does not harm the tree itself. When it reaches the age of 30 years, craftsmen begin to periodically peel off the bark, and the tree continues to grow further and acquires a new layer, after about 10 years it completely restores it. The highest quality cork grows in the Mediterranean region, with Spain and Portugal being the main European producers. There are Chinese and Asian cork oak, but softer and therefore less durable coatings are obtained from its bark..
There are the following types of cork floor:
- Adhesive coatings. These are two-layer panels with pressed cork chips at the bottom. Above – one piece high quality veneer. The thickness of such panels is about four to six centimeters. Adhesive cork floors are specially treated to achieve greater resistance to moisture and temperature changes. Glue cork floors are laid on glue, but special skills are needed to lay the tiles tightly with minimal gaps.
- Cork laminate. These are already three-layer panels. Below – pressed cork chips, then the HDF carrier layer, after – the cork veneer. Coating thickness – 12 millimeters. No glue is needed for installation, there are special locks, as in a regular laminate, so the installation process itself is much easier.
- Technical cork floor. Actually, these are the remnants of the production of the previous two types of flooring, therefore they are used only as a substrate for a laminate.
The advantages of a cork floor are many:
- Good sound insulation properties. The cork is porous, therefore it perfectly dampens sounds, cannot be compared with sufficiently “loud” laminate, and even more so with stone and tiles. However, the cork floor itself will not be able to reliably drown out the noise from the neighbors below, on the contrary, it is the residents of the floor below you that will benefit – they will no longer hear the stamping of their feet.
- The cork floor is very warm and pleasant to the touch. You can walk on it barefoot, enjoying pleasant sensations.
- Ecological cleanliness. Cork is a natural material, that says it all, it can’t do any harm to anyone. And not a single tree was damaged during its production.
- The cork flooring is dust-repellent, making this floor ideal for allergy sufferers.
- Cork floor has excellent shock absorption, which reduces stress on your spine when walking.
- Cork flooring can be a natural color, which many consider a very beautiful option. Moreover, the cork can also be different! If you want a different design effect, no problem. The top layer of the cork coating can be different due to the tinting compounds. In addition, there is such a technique as photo printing on the floor, which allows you to create real pictures on the cork..
- Caring for a cork floor is easy – a regular vacuum cleaner and a damp cloth. A washing vacuum cleaner is not suitable for three-layer panels, they are not moisture resistant, similar in this parameter to a regular laminate. But for an adhesive floor, which is usually covered with several layers of varnish on top, a washing vacuum cleaner is not terrible.
- The cork floor is highly slip-resistant, so it can also be used on stair treads.
- Cork oak floor is not afraid of mold, fungi, does not absorb foreign odors.
- Usually, manufacturers give a cork floor at least 10 years of warranty, and with careful use it can last 20 years..
There are not so many disadvantages to a cork floor, and some of them only apply to a separate species. For example, as we already wrote, it will be difficult to lay the glue coating on your own, specialists will be required. In addition, it is necessary to level the surface under it especially carefully and clean it from the smallest debris. However, the cork laminate is devoid of these disadvantages, its installation is easier..
At the same time, it is precisely the adhesive cork coating that is suitable for bathrooms, balconies and kitchens, while cork laminate is still significantly less resistant to moisture and does not differ as much.
It is believed that cork flooring is very fragile. Homeowners believe that if a regular wine cork crumbles easily, then the floor will have such a disadvantage. This is not entirely true. For example, dents from not too heavy furniture on a cork floor over time, and quite quickly, usually level out themselves.
But if you drop a heavy object, such as a hammer, on the cork floor, of course, the dent will remain. It is also better not to walk on stiletto heels on the cork, and something should be placed under the sharp metal legs of massive furniture. As a protection against claws of cats and dogs, hot coating is applied on top of the cork floor, hot varnish.
Some people say that the cork is too rough, which causes the soles of slippers and socks to wear out. However, if you have chosen a cork floor that is warm in structure, you can walk on it barefoot all year round. In addition, a cork floor covered with special protective compounds does not turn out to be so rough at all..
The high cost is called one of the main disadvantages of cork flooring. You can’t argue here, although, in comparison with natural parquet made of valuable wood, cork is still cheaper..
As you can see, the cork floor has more advantages. As a floor covering, this material is great for children’s rooms, cozy bedrooms, and can be used in any interior style..