Cork board floors can suit any home but they require an element of love and attention
Maintaining Cork Board Floors
If you have cork board floors in your home or are interested in installing them you are probably wondering how they should be maintained. Cork flooring is becoming fashionable once again as people are looking for green flooring i.e. to use materials that do not damage the Earth either in cultivation or harvestation. Cork is the perfect answer as it can be harvested without cutting down the tree thus doesn’t lead to large areas of deforestation.
So how do you look after cork boards?
Cork boards need to be sealed when laid or you will experience problems as it is not naturally water resistant. It will stain easily too so sealing it will help to prevent this happening. Unsealed cork floors can be sealed using wax polish or an organic primer. If you have bought cork flooring with a vinyl finish you do not need to worry about resealing it.
If your cork tiles show signs of wear and tear they can be resealed to give them a new look. You can also use a sander and sand cork down very lightly if it becomes pitted or the surface is damaged. But be careful as you can easily damage this natural flooring. You have to expect the color of the cork to fade in areas open to direct sunlight.
If you spill something onto the cork boards, you need to clean up immediately as cork is very absorbent. While cork tiles are relatively inexpensive they do require a fair amount of upkeep to maintain their appearance. If you don’t like vacuuming or housework then cork board floors are not the answer for your flooring needs.
Why are cork board sheets used for floors?
Given the above difficulties in maintaining these floors you may be wondering why cork board sheets are used for flooring. The answer is very simple. Not only is this a natural material sourced from evergreen trees that do not have to be culled for harvesting, but it is also soft, comfortable and provides very quiet floors. It is very suitable for kid’s bedrooms and in kitchens or other high traffic areas in the home. Parents love the fact that it is non-slip unlike lino or tiles which can become rather dangerous for kids when wet.
Can you paint cork board?
You can paint cork board if you want to achieve a specific color although it is worth bearing in mind that you can buy large cork board in various colors. The most popular tends to be charcoal, green and blue but it obviously depends on your personal tastes and the décor in your home as to which is most suitable.
If you are buying cork tiles make sure that they are suitable for use on the floor. Cork wall tiles will not wear properly and can prove to be an expensive mistake even though they initially appear to be cheaper than cork flooring. Pick the thickest tiles you can afford as they will be the hardest wearing. If you cannot afford 100% cork flooring or are worried that it is not resistant enough for your family, you could consider composite flooring. This is where a layer of cork is sandwiched between a vinyl backing and a cork veneer. It is longer lasting and more durable and usually comes in a wider range of colors.
How easy is it to lay cork tiles?
Most people can lay cork tiles as they are fairly lightweight and flexible. The mistake most people make is to try to lay them on a floor that isn’t level or they don’t allow the cork to adjust to the room before laying the tiles. You have to store cork tiles in the room that is going to be floored for at least 48 hours before you begin laying the floor. The floor must be dry and completely level or your cork flooring will not look great. Don’t lay cork over under floor heating as the heat will cause the floor to lift. Also don’t lay it onto concrete sub floors unless a damp proof membrane is already in place.
Don’t seal a freshly laid cork floor too quickly as the cork needs time to settle. If you do seal it, allow plenty of time between coats so that you get an even finish. While cork board floors are cheap and straightforward, failing to follow these basic steps has ruined more than one floor.