Using cork floor tiles in your kitchen the spruce

You can install them effectively in both the kitchen and the bedroom. And a properly applied finish during installation can make the material resistant to stains and spills. However, there are a few basic tasks that have to be performed regularly, if you want your cork flooring to continue to look beautiful for years to come. In its natural form, cork is very absorbent, making it susceptible to water damage from spills. That is why it needs to be treated with a finishing agent that will create an invisible barrier over its surface.

Many cork tiles and planks come with sealant already applied by the manufacturer. When these are installed, you must add another layer of the sealing agent to protect the seams from moisture penetration. A quality water-based polyurethane will create a clear seal over natural cork tiles that will make them nearly impervious to damage from water and stains. The poly should be applied at least four times to unfinished cork or once to pre-finished cork after installation.

A polyurethane coat will last on a cork floor for five to seven years before it needs to be reapplied. One drawback to a poly seal is that it will leave the floor susceptible to scratches.

Real cork flooring can be refinished periodically with a light grit pad to take it down a level and remove surface scratches. After refinishing, several layers of water-based polyurethane should be applied to the floor to seal it against moisture once again. Waxing a natural cork floor can create a thick protective layer that will protect it from stains, spills, and scratches while also giving it a shimmering, shining appeal. However wax will need to be re-applied every six to 12 months depending on the level of traffic in the area.

The strongest, most lasting protection will be from percent natural wax which has not been diluted or mixed with water or oil. Wax will need to be stripped from the cork floor before refinishing it. You may also want to strip the wax coating every few years and reapply a fresh coat to remove the build-up. Cork flooring is very popular in commercial applications. However, in high traffic areasit needs to be treated with a special heavy-duty finish that will create a barrier that can withstand the rigors of the environment.

Regular maintenance of cork only requires you to vacuum or sweep the floor weekly to remove debris that can wear down the surface seal.

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Read More.Starting with the essentials, kitchens must have durable, washable, water-resistant, and stain-resistant flooring. Does cork fit the bill? Yes, it does.

using cork floor tiles in your kitchen the spruce

And while it's certainly not as durable or water-resistant as tileit offers some clear benefits over tile. When it comes to washability, stain-resistance, and ease-of-care, cork flooring is similar to hardwood, making it a little more high-maintenance than vinyl and linoleum. Cork also offers DIY-friendly installation options. The rest of your decision comes down to looks and how you want the floor to feel underfoot. Cork scores pretty highly in both of those categories.

The surface of the subfloor must be completely smooth. Any bumps, indentations, or voids in the subfloor will show through the cork material. Cork tiles are typically installed with an adhesive that bonds them to the subfloor.

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After the tiles are laid, they are lightly sanded to smooth over any inconsistencies in tile height. Then, the tiles are sealed with polyurethane or similar floor finish material.

9 Examples of Stylish Cork Flooring for the Home

This gives the flooring a moderate degree of moisture-resistance. However, as with sealed hardwoodit is recommended that spills and water be wiped up quickly and never to let water pool on the surface. The alternative to glue-down cork tiles is a floating floor made of click-together cork planks. While cork tiles typically are solid cork, cork planks are a layered product containing a wood base or core layer and a cork top layer.

The wood layer is actually high-density fiberboard HDFwhich is highly susceptible to moisture damage. It is possible to seal over a floating floor to improve moisture-resistance, but the seams between the flooring planks may not be fully sealed and thus remain vulnerable to moisture. As a result, cork planks in the kitchen must be maintained more carefully than cork tiles. Cork is a natural product, which means that the colors, patterns, and features found in each individual piece are one-of-a-kind.

Background colors can be applied to the material, using pigments added during the manufacturing process. Generally, darker materials are processed at a higher temperature than lighter materials. When installing cork in a kitchen it is often a good idea to do a dry run, laying out the individual tiles without adhesive so that you can create an attractive pattern from the natural variations in each piece.

It's important to note is that cork flooring can fade with sun exposure and can be damaged by pet claws, heavy furniture or appliances, and sharp heels.Cork is a soft, warm, comfortable flooring material that is ecologically friendly, since it is harvested in a renewable fashion.

It has become a popular choice for almost any interior application. A natural product, cork has a soft, light, sandy-colored surface that can be darkened, tinted, and stained in a variety of ways to offer additional design options.

Cork is harvested from the cork oak Quercus suber, generally at plantations planted for commercial purposes.

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The cork is found in the outer bark of the tree, which is cut away every seven to 10 years and used in a variety of purposes, from wine corks to poster boards. Manufacture of flooring material generally involves using the cork waste remaining after wine corks and other products are made. This leftover cork is pulverized, boiled, mixed with resins, and pressed into sheets for use in flooring products and sheet goods.

Cork flooring, therefore, is a very "green" product since it is made of post-industrial waste material. There are many cork flooring products available, from glue-down tiles and rollout sheets to click-lock planks that "float" over the subfloor.

The very popular plank form is a laminated product, featuring a base layer of compressed cork, a core layer of fiberboard, and a surface layer of top-quality cork. Here are nine examples of how cork flooring can be used in homes. Cork works equally well in kitchens and living areas, making it a great choice for flooring that ties two rooms together. Here, dark 6-inch square cork tiles are laid diagonally over the main floor area, while a lighter accent border runs parallel to the walls and cabinetry.

This creates visual interest both through the use of contrasting colors and the angled lines of the tiles. Cork lends both visual warmth and literal warmth to a room, through its rich brownish-red color and its ability to insulate against thermal loss. This makes it a great choice for colder climates, where cork tiles are often used in the same way that ceramic tile is often used in warmer climates. Cork is versatile enough to fit both classic and contemporary styles.

In this office lobby, natural cork has been used to complement a series of artistic decorative furnishings to create a sophisticated modern look. The main connecting flooring material features cork in its natural color, while a slightly darker shade of flooring delineates a central sitting area.

In a commercial space like this one, or in a residential high-use area, it is critical to keep cork floors clean and well-sealed. The dark cabinet wood, as well as the stainless steel accessories, complement these colors, creating a sense of dynamic tension. While cork is not as impervious to moisture and stains as ceramic tile or vinyl flooring, cork can be a good choice for kitchens, provided a good sealant layer is maintained to repel water and stains.

Durable but soft underfoot, cork is a great choice for rooms that see a variety of uses—where the flooring needs to perform and also be attractive. When this room is used as an exercise space, the resilience of cork has obvious advantages. A mottled white wallpaper provides visual texture, while features such as the contrasting brown curtains act as a counterpoint to the rest of the palette.

The use of rich warm tones from floor to ceiling gives the space an inviting and comforting ambiance. Cork is available in plank form, allowing you to create a floor that is reminiscent of traditional hardwood while retaining all of the cushioning and soundproofing attributes of cork.

In this sitting area with mission-style furniture, a cork plank floor has been installed in a room with a light blue wall palette accented by soft green accent pieces. The result is a simple yet attractive space that is charming without being overwhelming. In its darker hues, cork can provide the perfect counterpoint to a dramatic color palette.

Here, the pea green wall becomes the focal point when set against the dark flooring and framed by the cream-colored couches on either side. This turns the attention of the viewer naturally toward the fireplace, with the coffee table blending with the rich hues of the floor and hearth.

Large cork tiles in dark colors are a perfect choice for formal rooms, thanks to the simplicity of appearance that lets furnishings and decor show more prominently. In its natural state, cork has a very clean and simple look that is perfectly paired with a minimalist decorating strategy.Although cork flooring has been around for many decades, it has recently come into vogue in a major way, due to the fact that it is a "green" renewable resource that can be used without the guilt associated with using fine hardwoods from old-growth forests or tropical rainforests.

Cork comes from the bark of the cork oak tree Quercus suber and is periodically harvested from the living trees in plantations planted for commercial purposes. Cork is, therefore, a completely natural, recurring, and easily replenishable material. To create flooring products, cork is ground up, compressed, and formed into sheets bonded with resins.

Cork flooring has many merits, to be sure, and its trendy popularity has led to cork installation almost everywhere in the home. But this flooring is not as durable as some other flooring materials, and it is susceptible to several forms of damage. It is important to understand the underlying characteristics of cork in order to make an informed decision on using it in a specific space.

This is comparable to what a bamboo floor costs, and slightly less than most hardwood flooring. But unlike hardwood or bamboo, installing cork flooring is a fairly easy DIY project, allowing many homeowners to save on professional installation costs.

When installed correctly with multiple layers of a quality sealer applied to the surface, cork flooring is relatively simple to take care of.

It requires only regular sweeping or vacuuming to remove small grit and dirt particles, and damp mopping every so often.

Caring For and Cleaning Your Cork Flooring

But it is important that spills are wiped up immediately to prevent staining. The seal coat needs to be renewed periodically.

However, sealers are not perfect, and if a room is flooded, cork flooring can warp and discolor. High humidity can also cause the cork to curl or plump, which may lead to tiles to pop out or planks to buckle.

Cat and dog nail scratches are a particular problem with cork flooring. Keeping their nails trimmed can help this, but pets will invariably damage a cork floor. If you have very heavy appliances or furniture pieces, they can sometimes cause permanent divots in the material. This can be offset to some extent by using furniture coasters and placing larger pieces on flat wooden boards or other support pieces. If direct sunlight beams down on a cork floor every day, then discoloration may occur and a patch of the floor can end up taking on a different hue than surrounding areas.

This can be prevented by blocking sunlight with curtains or blinds, but it will require constant vigilance and care. One of the best things about a cork floor is that you can refinish its surface periodically, just as you can with hardwood, to give it a fresh new look.

This involves sanding the solid cork tiles or planks down past the point of any imperfections, and then staining and or re-applying the finish sealer to the surface.

This can be done several times, depending on the thickness of the material.

using cork floor tiles in your kitchen the spruce

Refinishing is not possible, however, on engineered cork flooring, where the surface cork layer is relatively thin. Traditional cork flooring has a warm, natural look that works best in spaces with an informal, casual decor. However, newer manufacturing techniques have created cork floors that closely resemble hardwood, marble, or even concrete.

Today's cork flooring can now be used almost anywhere, provided it is kept well sealed. As with vinyl tiles, a skilled installer can create almost limitless looks by using different colors to create custom designs. Be aware that cork floors will eventually show wear from small scratches and dings, and they are best suited for spaces where this antique patina will be welcome.

Cork flooring is available in several different forms, made from either slices of cork or from granulated cork mixed with resin binders. The flooring material can be solid cork throughout the thickness or laminated around a fiberboard core.

The traditional cork flooring consists of solid cork tiles that are applied to the floor with glue-down applications, much the way vinyl tiles are installed.For comfort-conscious cooks, cork is a great floor: Its inherent softness and springiness makes standing for long periods much easier on backs, legs, and feet. And if you drop your favorite soup tureen, chances are it will bounce rather than break.

A high-style floor option, cork flooring comes in planks, tiles, or sheets in a variety of fashionable colors. A natural insulator, cork is warm underfoot, muffles sound, and helps reduce energy bills. Read more on the benefits of cork flooring. The material is ground, mixed with resins, and cut into floors. Cork flooring straddles the line between resilient and engineered floor categories.

Tough Enough? Cork is naturally resistant to water, heat, and mold. To minimize uneven wear, place mats on frequently used areas such as in front of the range and rotate heavy items, such as shelving units.

Limit direct sunlight to avoid fading.

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How to Clean: Wipe up spills immediately. Sweep, dust, or vacuum regularly, and occasionally wipe the surface with a damp mop or cloth. Keep floors free of dirt and sand, as they can scratch the surface over time. Refinish when signs of wear appear. Color: Though all require sealing, cork flooring can be left natural, stained, or even painted for a variety of shade options.

Cork Flooring Review: Pros and Cons

Finish: Some cork floors come prefinished, while others are finished on site. Choose from a variety of finish options, including wax, polyurethane, and vinyl coatings.

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Thicker floors are better insulators, and denser floors are more durable. Cork planks snap together fairly easily for a floating installation.

Tiles, which can be used to create patterns, are more difficult to install, as they must be glued. Cork flooring is a natural thermal insulator. Because it doesn't conduct heat and cold, it helps maintain temperature in a room. If you don't love the tap-tap of footsteps, cork is the floor for you. It reduces sound and vibration transmission by absorbing it in tiny cells.

And because it contains Suberin a waxy substance found in cork cellscork floors inherently resist mold, insects, and allergens. Privacy Policy.Track my home.

using cork floor tiles in your kitchen the spruce

Still have shag carpet in your spare bedroom? Cracked bathroom tile or scratched-up hardwood? Hey, it's probably time to get new floors.

But with so many flooring options out there today, what's best? We asked DiClerico and other home design and improvement experts to share their top picks for the biggest flooring trends of Photo by Porcelain Tile Store Porcelain tiles that look like wood? It may sound too good to be true, but wood-look tiles are all the rage these days. Photo by Cornerstone Architects. The concrete is usually mixed, poured, and polished by hand.

And, terrazzo flooring is popular again.

How to Install Cork Flooring by FlooringInc

Terrazzo is made from stone fragments, crushed glass, shells or other organic materials embedded in concrete and polished until smooth. Photo by Squire Development Group. Large format refers to byinch tiles or larger, up to 40 by inches. Porcelain is a popular material, but ceramic and stone tiles are also popularhe says. Photo by Christa Pirl Interiors. Black and white tiles are popping up in a variety of home styles, including transitional styles and the modern farmhouse, says Julie Chrissisa Boston-based home stager and interior designer.

Photo by Direct Tile Warehouse. As aging in place in their existing homes becomes more common with older homeowners, DiClerico says more home improvement projects are focusing on safety, including installing slip-resistant flooring.

Falls are the main cause of injury among older adults. Slip-resistant flooring often comes in less expensive materials, such as vinyl or linoleum, making it a cost-effective project, he says.

More homeowners are seeking natural wood floors certified by the Forest Stewardship Council, which sets standards for responsible forest management, and floors that are finished with nontoxic wax or oil.

All rights reserved. For the best experience, please enable cookies when using our site.Cork flooring can produce a pleasant and comfortable walking surface. Cork flooring is a great choice for play areas or commercial spaces where there is a desire for a comfortable walking and standing surface. Suberin, a natural substance in cork, works as a mold inhibitor and prevents cork flooring from rotting, besides that it has natural insulation properties that can help reduce heating costs.

Cork floors are naturally fire-resistant and don't release any toxic gasses or chemicals when burned accidentally. It can be a very durable material if properly maintained. In North America, one big setback about cork flooring is its place of origin: Europe.

The cost can also vary depending on the warranty offered by the manufacturer and the insulation and soundproofing characteristics of the flooring material. If you are installing cork flooring, be sure to remember these helpful tips:. Cork flooring is a very good and reliable product that could be used in areas around the house and office space but stay away from areas where the cork flooring will be in contact with water.

Cork flooring systems can offer you some great benefits, but there are also some limitations to its use. Materials Finishes. Full Bio Follow Linkedin. Juan Rodriguez is a former writer with The Balance who covered large-scale construction. He is an engineer with experience managing and overseeing large civil works construction. Read The Balance's editorial policies. Continue Reading.