Can You Use Cork Flooring in a Kitchen?
Cork flooring is fabulous product offering a unique look unlike any other flooring material out there. Check out the beautiful photo of the floor above by Duro Design! Another fabulous material choice for your next renovation project that also works in the kitchen. Not only does Cork flooring provide versatility of color and design, it is the most environmentally friendly flooring option on the market.
Cork Kitchen Flooring & Design
Cork flooring tiles and planks are available in several colors and patterns. Cork flooring used in the kitchen is made by baking in various degrees of natural color pigments to create several tone choices. Darker, more natural color hues are achieved through a longer baking process of the Cork.
In order to satisfy the rising demand for Cork flooring products, Cork flooring manufacturers are now implementing stains and dye’s to improve Cork’s overall color versatility, making almost any imaginable color available for you kitchen flooring design.
Instead of limiting your choices to a single color throughout your kitchen space, Cork’s color versatility allows you to get creative and choose a few different tones and personally create your own pattern for your kitchen.
How Much Does Cork Flooring Cost?
Cork flooring tiles and planks are priced reasonably starting at $4.50 per sq. foot for basic tiles where the per price sq. foot increases with Cork planks and different colored stains.
Are Cork Floors Durable?
Pros of Using Cork Flooring in the Kitchen
Due to the resilient nature of Cork, if and most likely when an object is dropped, the floor will absorb the fall and then return to its original state rather than scratch and helps reduce breakage. These floors are certainly more sensitive than hardwood and tile, however with proper care they are perfectly fine to use in the kitchen.
A Natural Insulator
The cellular structure of Cork makes Cork flooring a natural insulator. Not only will these floors be warm under foot they will also absorb sound.
Cork’s natural structure contains a substance called Suberin. This naturally occurring substance is a waxy material with many beneficial qualities. Particularly, Suberin acts as a fire inhibitor which will not spread flames or release toxic fumes if combustion occurs.
The soft resilient surface and insulation qualities of Cork flooring stand chance to the pitter pattering of little paws and claws while reducing noise for neighbors below!!
The Cons of Cork flooring
The resilience of Cork flooring is also its weakness. There is great risk in permanently damaging your kitchen floor with sharp and heavy objects if left on your floor for long periods of time. Items such as furniture and appliances will of course be the primary culprits so protect your Cork floors by using padding under the pressure points of your heavy necessities.
Beware that sunlight also plays hazard to Cork flooring. Since Cork is a natural product direct sunlight will cause colors to fade over time. Age will also affect change in color as well.
With Cork, like all natural flooring products, scratching can occur, however this damage is usually caused by dirt and sand particles when left un-swept and can be easily corrected with regular maintenance
Maintaining Cork Floors
Depending on the type of finish you have chosen for your floor maintenance will vary. Wax finishes generally require waxing at least once a year certainly something to maintain. Polyurethane will scratch if those floors aren’t swept. So keep those floors clean with regular sweeping and dry mopping and the results will be less wear of your finish.
Suberin along with the cellular structure of Cork make this product water resistant. Again it is recommended to protect your floor from obvious danger regions in your kitchen with area rugs or mats. Natural products will have a negative reaction to water when left standing for longer periods.
Construction & Installation of Cork Kitchen Flooring
Cork flooring can be installed over concrete sub-floors and even over your current floor depending on the material that is currently in place . Again if ever there is a problem with your Cork floor once installed, in most cases it is not due to the product rather it is due to improper installation. It is always advisable to have a professional install your Cork floor, especially where opportunities for moisture accumulation may occur!
The original Cork flooring designs were created using Cork tiles. Installing Cork tiles can be a trickier process and requires adhesives in order to be secured to your sub floor. Creating a messier install and more specific skill set. Cork Tiles come in two styles and can either be unfinished or pre-finished.
Unfinished Cork Tiles
Unfinished tiles are in a natural state which can be stained, painted and finished. These Cork tiles have not been sealed which is necessary after installation. It is also possible to obtain tiles that have been stained in the factory but have not yet received any finishing. The advantage of this style of tile is that a sealer would go all over the floor covering all seams and edges resulting in a much stronger and moisture resistant floor.
Pre finished Cork Tiles
These Cork tiles are finished in a factory and do not require sealing after installation. Installation involves less work and are more susceptible to moisture penetration as the sealer does not cover seams.
Click Cork flooring
Click technology allows for your new flooring to be installed over existing floors depending on the material. Click Cork flooring does not require any adhesive and is much easier to install as it comes in predefined lengths and uses tongue and groove installation process. This is similar to click laminate and is a free floating floor, which means it expands and contracts with temperature changes and is not fixed to any surface below. Use this style of Click Cork with good trim as there is a visible gap between flooring surface and the wall.
Cork Flooring is an Environmentally Friendly Product
Cork flooring materials are obtained from the bark of oak trees. The Cork Oak tree is remarkable as its bark can be harvested every 9 years without cause of any damage to its existence or that of its environment. The primary destination for high quality Cork is reserved for our other favorite partner in the kitchen, our beloved wine bottles. Cork bottle stoppers account for 60% of the Cork market but wherever there is a high demand for perfect Cork, there must be waste. Cork flooring is made from that unwanted Cork material making this flooring product another fabulously environmentally friendly flooring choice.
Cork Flooring and Your Health
The Health impact of your Cork floor will be determined by the type of products used to finish and seal your newly installed floors. Water-based polyurethane and wax finishes are the most common finishes used today, and do emit levels of VOC’s. Look for natural sealers and low VOC finishes if this is a concern for your family.
Cork by itself does hold many benefits with respect to a creating a healthy environment in your home. Suberin, the waxy, natural substance found in Cork plays a role in Cork’s great resistance to mold and mildew. Cork flooring is also anti microbial and has been proven to be insect resistant as well.