Why Cork is Cool
December 18, 2007
The Lab received some new designs of cork flooring recently and while showing it off to a designer was questioned on its usability in a commercial application. So, The Lab decided to look into it and give some info on the subject of cork!
Cork is one material that modern technology has been unable to match or surpass. A completely natural product, cork is harvested without damaging or chopping down a single tree, making it the ultimate environmentally friendly product. By regaining its shape time and time again, no matter how much it is walked on or how long furniture stands on it, cork always retains its elasticity. It reduces sound, is warm to the touch and comfortable to walk on.
Things to consider when looking at cork:
Prefinished cork floors have two big draw-backs; they tend to look synthetic and the seams between tiles are left unprotected leading ultimately to black lines and lifting tile corners. It is recommended to site-finish cork floors – ensure that all seams between tiles get sealed and protected for a long-lasting. Like any natural material, cork flooring fades with exposure to the UV radiation in sunlight.
What about exposure to liquids? Although drops and spills wipe up very easily and won’t damage a cork floor, it is not recommended to leave large amounts of water on the floor for hours as this can potentially damage almost any floor. A naturally occurring waxy substance in cork called suberin repels insects, mites and mold and prevent water from penetrating. In addition, suberin is naturally fire resistant and cork doesn’t release any toxic off-gassing when it burns.
Cork floor, as with other flooring options must be refinished based on its use:
-Once per year for high traffic retail
-Once every two to three years for low to medium commercial traffic
Finally, recommended maintenance
- For daily maintenance vacuum or sweep the floor.
- Damp mop the floor weekly but do NOT use a lot of water.
- When cleaning the floor, use a damp mop with a PH-balanced detergent or mild soap to clean and keep the surface free of abrasives such as grit or sand.
- Always avoid the use of harsh cleaners such as abrasives, oil or ammonia-based cleaning products.