The text discusses in detail this type of material, like cork coating on the floor. From the article you can find out what this type of finish is, what properties and characteristics it possesses, as well as assess the feasibility of using natural coating in the interior, examining its advantages and disadvantages, consumer reviews, average prices and other factors.
Characteristics of cork floors, the pros and cons
Cork flooring is made on the basis of porous oak bark. The extraction of this material does not have a negative impact on nature. The place where the bark was cut continues to grow and be updated, which allows you to perform this procedure every 9 years without threatening the condition of the tree. For the production of flooring used raw materials from 25-year-old oaks. Younger trees are not suitable for this. The most valuable is bark, cut from 150-year-old oaks.
As the basis for the coating mixture is used, consisting of molded bark. As a result of special processing inside the furnace, the material is saturated with air. It uses natural juice contained in micropores. It is called suberin. In the next step, the material is given strength. For the so-called reinforcement used resins and wood dust, which is added in several layers.
The finishing layer is made of cork or other materials, such as veneer or polyvinyl chloride. From the properties and characteristics of the top coating depends on the scope of the floors, as well as their service life.
To protect the coating from wear, as well as give it a certain design, manufacturers use veneer in combination with lining with other materials:
- veneer – the thickness of the interlayer is only 0.5 mm. The coating is applied over the base on the adhesive composition;
- veneer, lacquered for cork flooring – a lacquering compound increases the service life of the finish, which is ideal for living rooms, including bedrooms;
- veneer covered with a protective vinyl film – it prevents scratches and also prevents moisture from entering the material. Thanks to this, the manufacturer’s warranty extends over 10 years;
- veneer, made of precious woods and covered with vinyl film – the material is a veneer of natural origin, made of expensive wood species. In order to protect it is covered with a layer of vinyl.
Note! Thanks to modern technology, consumers can buy cork flooring with any design. Photo printing method allows you to apply to the surface of the material realistic imitation of grass, wood, sand, stone, etc.
A cork used as a floor has many useful properties. This finishing material has a light weight in comparison with other types of coatings. Cork is characterized by sound impenetrability. The material does not allow noise, so it is suitable even for recording studios. At the same time, the finish has a low level of thermal conductivity, due to which the heat of the room does not go to the floor, but remains inside.
The surface of the cork is elastic and soft. Specialists-orthopedists recommend using this type of decoration for people with diseases of the musculoskeletal system, as well as as a cover in children’s rooms. The cork is safe and environmentally friendly. Its surface does not slip, does not absorb liquids and does not emit harmful substances. In addition, the material has antistatic properties. Cork does not require complex care and perfectly repels dust.
The coating is resistant to liquids and chemicals. The exception is caustic solutions of alkaline origin. Cork does not interfere with natural air circulation. Due to this, the material does not contribute to the proliferation of bacteria and exacerbate allergic reactions in residents. Cork is not subject to rotting. She is not afraid of moisture. If the floors in the house get wet as a result of flooding, the coating will not deteriorate under the influence of the liquid, but provided that the surface has a protective treatment.
Cork is not afraid of temperature extremes and is not subject to fading in the sun. Unlike laminate, this material can be laid on open loggias and balconies. This type of coating is very durable and durable. Due to its porous structure, the material reduces the level of friction, therefore, the aggressiveness of external influence factors decreases.
Like any other type of coating, cork floors have both advantages and disadvantages. Because of its softness, the coating over time is pressed under the weight of the furniture. Especially for bathrooms, manufacturers produce slabs whose thickness is 1-1.2 cm. The size of such products is 14.8×14.8 cm. If the floor in the bathroom is thinner, there is a possibility that the bath will pierce it through.
Do not walk indoors in rubber-soled or high-heeled shoes, otherwise traces will remain on the surface of the coating. Also, do not lay the floor mats of latex or rubber. The trace from these products after long stay practically does not leave.
Helpful advice! The pits left by the legs of the chairs and light furniture will even out. For heavy objects, it is advisable to buy soft felt pads that will reduce pressure.
Significant disadvantages include the price of cork flooring. Moreover, the adhesive type of coating will cost much more expensive than laminate cork. On the other hand, due to the simplified installation system of castle plates, the cost of purchasing the material is partially offset. As a result, the total cost of coverage will be lower than that of natural parquet.
Another drawback of the cork is flammability. The material itself is not combustible. The flammable component of the floors are its protective coatings, for example, paint, varnish, glue. Natural coating has a low level of resistance to moisture. This deficiency can be eliminated with varnish, sealant or wax impregnation.
Some coating options (for example, glue-type floors) have a complex installation system. High-quality performance of such work can only provide specialists. In addition, it is not possible to install a floor heating system under the cork floor. The material has a high degree of thermal insulation, so heat flows will not be able to get into the room.
Manufacturers produce three types of cork, which are used as floor coverings:
- solid veneer – the material consists of solid pieces of bark (this type of finish has a high price and is used for decorating ceiling and wall surfaces, as well as niches);
- glomerate – the material has the form of sheets consisting of crushed bark, joined together by gluing (this type of finish is practical and affordable);
- combined stopper – consists of agglomerate and veneer, they are glued under high pressure.
For the production of the combined tube used veneer, which is not suitable for the manufacture of plates. As a result, the finish gets a decorative appearance and beautiful texture. Combined cork goes well with other materials.
There are the following types of coatings:
- Floating or castle floor.
- Glue floor.
- Technical traffic jam.
They have different properties and are characterized by a specific scope.
Floating floor consists of plates, interconnected by lock joints. The thickness of these panels varies in the range of 10.5-12 mm. The size of the tile is 18.5×90 cm. The finish is laid in the same way as an ordinary laminate.
For the manufacture of the base of these plates is used crushed crumb. Wood or cork is used as a topcoat, which is covered with a layer of paint and a print image. It is desirable to use this type of finish in well heated rooms where there are no temperature drops. Drastic changes can adversely affect the state of the castle connections.
Important! When buying plates, be sure to pay attention to the quality of the lock joints. The integrity of the coating and its durability depend on them.
It is not recommended to use floating cork floors in high-traffic areas, for example, in passage corridors or kitchens. The system of installation of the coating is quite simple. If one of the fragments is damaged during operation, a whole row will have to be disassembled. The section from the wall to the place where the defective element is located should be dismantled.
There is a waterproof cork board on the floor (laminate). The base in this material is a plate made of quartz and PVC. This type of coating has a higher price, and the choice of colors is limited.
After all installation work is completed, the room must be ventilated. To dry the coating, a minimum of 36 hours is required. Then the surface of the cork is thoroughly cleaned of debris and opened with varnish in 3 layers. After 5-7 days the floors can be exploited.
The advantages of cork as a finishing material are obvious. With proper care, the coating will retain its appeal for a long time. A wide range of colors and the possibility of applying prints allow you to create a unique design of the room. And subject to compliance with all the requirements of technology, cork floors can be laid independently and save a lot of money on this. Mounting adhesive coating more complicated in execution. But this type of flooring is perfectly combined with parquet and laminate.