Are you considering cork flooring? It’s an eco-friendly, low maintenance option that has long-lasting potential. It is also relatively inexpensive compared to hardwood or tile floors and installing it yourself offers many do-it-yourself benefits. However, cork flooring pros and cons are just as varied as its many available options.
Pros for cork flooring include its sound absorption capabilities. It has proven to reduce noise by up to 48%, which is about four times better than most other types of flooring. It also absorbs sound at the source, meaning it will cut down on echoes in your home. And because it is moisture-resistant, it will not rot or stain as wood does. Sound absorption is a huge plus when trying to minimize noise, especially in a bedroom where sleep is as important as much of the rest of your life. And cork flooring is especially good for people who have sleep problems since it reduces the impact of snoring on their health.
Another cork floor pro is its sustainability. Cork grows in nature, slowly becoming a biodegradable material. It is very easy for plants to reproduce the compound, so cork trees are never removed from the earth. That means cork floors are virtually maintenance-free. The average cork tree is cut down every fifteen years, making it the fastest renewable building material on the planet.
Cork flooring also absorbs heat well, which can be a benefit during the winter months, or even in direct sunlight. Because it has a refractory quality, cork planks don’t fare well under direct sunlight. This can pose a problem during the summertime when a lot of people turn their houses into greenhouses. In direct sunlight, cork planks will dry out and crack, giving you a cracked plank that needs to be replaced. Or you might have a cork floor in a room that receives direct sunlight throughout the day, which can cause fading. You can control how much sunlight your cork floor receives by buying window treatments or screening, which will both reduce the amount of direct sunlight your cork floor receives, and keep the floor nicer and longer-lasting during the summer months.
When installing cork flooring, you need to consider installation considerations, including which room you’ll be installing it in and how much floor space you’ll have. In the living room, you’ll generally want to install cork flooring that is at least one-quarter inch thick to ensure optimal absorption. In larger rooms, such as a bedroom or kitchen, you’ll want cork flooring that is at least three inches thick, so it absorbs more energy and can be installed on floors that have more surface area. Choosing the right cork product for your room and level of absorption is important.
Installing cork over planks that are already installed is a great way to save money and give you more design options. Glue-down flooring requires you to cut away an entire section of the plank until it just barely covers the area you want to cover. Once you’ve done this, you then need to stitch the area together. If the glue-down planks have edges, you’ll need to trim these portions away before you’re ready to install the cork floor. Using a carpet knife, cut strips of the glue down to the same size as your cork floor, being careful to match the cork floor edges. Then you can simply use the same tool to cut strips of the excess planks away and replace them with new ones.
Cork floors that aren’t glued down usually suffer from a couple of flaws. Although they’re relatively easy to repair if something does go wrong, a glued down floor will most likely come with a standard floor warranty. That’s because a bonded floor comes with extra reinforcement built into the plank which makes it more stable, as well as extra padding under the planks to make them comfortable to walk on. If a glued floor doesn’t come with a warranty, you might have to purchase one from a third party.
One other thing to watch out for when installing cork is the actual tiles themselves. Cork tiles are a natural product, and although cork is quite tough, it can still break when it comes under tremendous pressure or weight. If you have cork flooring in a high traffic room, for example, installing cork flooring may be a good idea, as the floor may stand up to the wear and tear. Otherwise, you might consider going with something less durable.