Q What is cork flooring?
A Cork flooring is a product made from the bark of the cork oak tree, a material which is ground, processed into sheets and baked in a kiln to produce tiles that serve as flooring for offices, light commercial locations, and residences.
Q Where does cork flooring come from?
A Cork flooring is most popularly harvested, manufactured, and sourced in Southern Europe, with Portugal being one of the most prominent regions from which cork comes. This is an area where the cork oak species is plentiful and where hand-harvesting is most practical.
Q Why is cork known to be an environmentally sensitive choice?
A Harvesting the cork oak for its bark is strictly regulated, limiting such harvesting into nine-year cycles. The individual cork oaks must be at least 25 years old before they are harvested and when they are, the health of those cork oaks must be ensured. The cork oak is harvested by hand, and remains unaffected by the harvesting process. The bark of the cork oak grows back, leaving the cork oak as healthy as ever. As such, cork flooring is one of the most renewable sources for flooring there is.
Q Will cork flooring be tough enough for my home or office installation?
A One of the characteristics of cork flooring is its resilience to pressure and impact. Because of its cellular nature that features millions of microscopic air pockets, cork flooring has “memory” that allows it to withstand foot traffic and the pressure of furniture legs (best if the legs have felt protectors), taking its original shape after impact.
Q Is cork flooring a good option for pets?
A While no natural wood floor is entirely scratch-resistant, cork flooring is more adaptable to claws caused by dogs and cats than many other natural wood flooring options. This is due to the general resilient nature of cork flooring, which is naturally impact resistant.
Q Why is cork flooring known to be a good insulator?
A The cellular nature of cork flooring allows warmth to be held in, making it a very warm flooring to walk on, even in winter months. Another aspect of the kind of insulation cork flooring provides is that of sound, which is naturally absorbed. This makes for almost silent footfalls and can have a significant quieting effect in areas which are normally associated with echoes and other distracting ambient sounds, such as in foyers and hallways.
Q What makes cork flooring a good option when thinking about falling and impact?
A Cork flooring is cushion-like, made as it is of about 50% air that is locked into microscopic compartments which act as natural shock absorbers. This can be quite beneficial when you’ve dropped dishes and glasses. It can also a positive effect when accidental human falls occur. For areas used by children or the elderly, this can be a major benefit.
Q What about colours? Are all cork-flooring tiles the same?
A Being a natural material, cork’s colour variation should be expected. However, this can often work to the advantage of those with an eye for design, allowing for creative applications of various tonal ranges from golden yellow to nut brown. Also, colour change can be expected as the cork flooring tiles are exposed to light over time.
Q What areas are the best places to install cork flooring?
A Generally speaking, the best places to install cork flooring are on-grade (the level of the surface exterior to the space) or above grade (the second floor of a building, for instance). Areas where a lot of dampness and moisture, such as basements with newly poured subfloors, should be avoided. Subfloors must be level, dry, and clean before installation is considered.
Q Over which surfaces can I install my cork flooring?
A Cork flooring is very accommodating and installation over concrete, wooden subfloors and tile are commonplace. The surface upon which you install your cork flooring must be level, dry, and clean.
Q. Does cork flooring require underlayment?
A Traditional cork tiles can be installed directly to concrete, however, if the cork tiles are being laid over strip timber sub-floor, Hardboard underlay is recommended.
Floating cork flooring does not require underlayment, just a vapour barrier in the form of a plastic sheet.
Q How do I keep my cork flooring clean?
A Regular mopping with a damp mop will be sufficient in keeping your cork flooring tile clean. Avoid harsh cleaning agents, and do not overwet your floor. Try to clear obvious mess quickly. Spills can be absorbed with a sponge or paper towel to avoid the possibility of permanent stains.
Q Is cork flooring suitable for a kitchen?
A Yes, today the most common application for cork flooring is the kitchen. It is very comfortable to stand on and is easy to maintain. Cork, as you may know, is sound absorbent and hypoallergenic. No other flooring material combines these benefits. When maintained properly, cork flooring can last for generations.
Q Are cork floors suitable for bathrooms?
A Warm and soft, cork floors make a very comfortable flooring surface for a bathroom. However, we recommend you take certain precautions because of the high risk of spillage.
After installation, it is important to caulk the perimeter of the room, prior to installing moulding or skirting. This will prevent spills from damaging the sub-floor or walls.
Q Can the old cork floor we found in the house we just bought be refinished?
A Yes, it is possible to refinish most older cork floors.
Q How long will it take to do my floors?
A It depends on the size of the job. However, the average is 3 to 5 days. Once the final coat has been laid the floor should not be walked on for at least 12 hours.
Q Can I stay in the house while the work is in process?
A Yes! As long as you have access to living areas without using the sanded section of the house. If this is not possible we strongly recommend you seek alternative accommodation during the drying period.