Cork Kitchen Flooring

Cork Kitchen Flooring

Cork Kitchen Flooring

Considered to be one of the most environment friendly flooring material, cork tiles are derived from stripping the bark of the Cork Oak tree. This tree is native to Spain and Portugal, and has an average lifespan of about 500 years. When the bark is being stripped to produce cork tiles, it is done without cutting or damaging its inner layers, and it is done every 10-15 years. Presented below are the benefits of this flooring, and its installation process.

Benefits

The structural composition of cork flooring is what makes it different from other naturally occurring substances. Due to its cellular structure it can trap as much as 90% air or gas in it. As a result, when it is compressed to even 40 percent of its volume, it can regain its original shape. It has a soft, shock absorbing feel to it, when you are standing on it. Due to this feature, people can stand in their kitchen for hours on end without feeling uncomfortable. Cork flooring can also absorb noise and vibration to a great extent. So, the impact of dropping of things on the kitchen floor will create less amount of noise.

The presence of a waxy substance called suberin, cork is protected from insect as well as fungal infestation. Suberin also makes cork impermeable to gas or liquid. Thus, it does not cause rotting even if the surface of the floor remains wet for a long time. It has a natural resistance towards fire, and does not release any toxic gases when it burns. Cork kitchen tiles are highly durable in nature, due to which they are preferred by many people.

Installation

One of the key reasons behind the popularity of this type flooring is that it is easy to install. Before installing the flooring, you have to clear all the furniture, kitchen appliances, and carpet from the kitchen floor; clean up the dust and dirt, and allow it to dry thoroughly. Make sure that the surface of the floor is even and flat. In case there are some imperfections, level them with the help of floor patch.

Cork tile flooring is a floating floor, and can be installed on any kind of subfloor that has a hard surface. It can be installed on wood, vinyl, ceramic, or even concrete. Like any other naturally occurring product, cork tends to undergo expansion and contraction in different climatic conditions. For this reason, acclimatization of these tiles for a specific period of time is a must. Usually, the time required for this varies from 24 to 72 hours. It is recommended to read the manufacturer’s instructions and acclimate it accordingly.

Once the cork panels are acclimatized, you should lay the panels on the subfloor. The planks are designed in such a manner that the edge of one plank gets interlocked with the edge of the adjacent one. When you reach the border of the floor make sure that you keep a small gap to accommodate the expansion and contraction of the cork. Finally, apply glue to the joints of the newly installed planks. This is essential for a kitchen floor as it is exposed to a lot of liquid spills. If the joints are not properly sealed, then the liquid may seep to the surface of the cork through the gaps in the joints.

However, there are some disadvantages of this kind of flooring. It tends to fade out due to long-term exposure to sunlight, therefore, care should be taken to prevent it from fading. It can get dents if heavy kitchen appliances are placed on it. So provide enough padding on those areas to minimize their impact.


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