Choosing the right flooring material for the kitchen can really be a pain. You need something that is durable, easy to clean and looks good. A cushioning material can also be a great advantage because the kitchen is the room where we do most of our work standing up. The more we have to sit on pots and pans or slaving over a hot microwave, the more tired we feel in our feet and legs. Finding a good kitchen floor option that eliminates some of it makes it almost a miracle. Cork flooring is a good choice not only for those reasons, but for its many other benefits as well.
Cork floors are easy on the body
The air pockets inside the cork itself cushion the feet which reduces stress on your legs and back, a a huge bonus if you have to stand for long periods of time.
Cork flooring is environmentally friendly
Cork is not made by cutting down a tree for its wood; the bark is carefully peeled off leaving the tree standing. The tree regrows the bark for the future harvest. Cork floors are one of the only truly sustainable and renewable flooring options on the market today.
Cork floors are easier on falling glasses and plates
Because they are so soft and cushioning, most of your dropped items will not break; a great advantage for families with the young and the clumsy.
Cork floors are easier on the chronic sneeze
Hypoallergenic cork floors are a good choice for people who have problems with allergens such as dust mites, mold and other insects. A natural substance in cork not only repels these irritants but gives the floor a fire resistant property.
Air trapped inside the cellular structure of the cork helps reduce noise. Essentially the cork floor is quiet and reduces the impact of sounds like when someone drops something on the kitchen floor, or the sound of someone walking through the kitchen.
Cork flooring is a good choice for the busy homeowner because it is lower maintenance than most other flooring options, but it is not universally ideal. If the kitchen has a lot of direct sunlight, the color of the floor can fade over time, a consideration you should keep in mind when weighing your options. It has a unique look and no two cork floors will be identical. There aren’t as many color options, of course, but the many benefits can outweigh that minor drawback for most people. If you’re still on the fence about cork, talk to an interior designer, (if you choose to use one), or a flooring dealer who can show you an example of how it looks and feels before you commit.
The cost of cork flooring is quite comparable to other flooring materials, but keep in mind that lower end prices may indicate lower quality and performance. Weigh the cost of mid to higher range cork floors with life expectancy and the extra, initial cost may be worth it in the long run. Remember, higher cost cork flooring is usually thicker which means you don’t need additional materials underneath. It will serve as an insulating factor which means a possible reduction in heating costs. The higher end floor also has several layers of protective coating, usually a UV varnish that helps protect it and makes it even more resistant to wear and moisture.
AmCork, Evora, APC Cork and Globus Cork are some of the popular names in the cork flooring industry. They consist of both manufacturers and suppliers.
The installation can be carried out by the handy home owner, but it may be advisable to give the job to a professional. There are two installation methods for the cork floor, the glued floor and the floated. The floating floor is not glued, but snapped together in place like a giant puzzle. When deciding which method to use, consider the condition of the surface it is being laid on. Irregular or uneven surfaces almost require floating floors, while smooth and flat surfaces are perfectly fine for either. It is important to strictly follow the manufacturer’s instructions when installing your cork flooring. Also, make sure you’re following all the manufacturer’s recommendations for care and maintenance, to keep the cork floor looking and performing at its best for many, many years to come.
In order to clean your cork floor, damp mopping and vacuuming is all that is required most often. It is advisable to be careful about the use of any kind of abrasive materials, and also make sure to wipe up any spills immediately – this will help ensure that there are no stains of any kind.
While cork is a cushioning surface, it is advisable to use felt floor protectors on large pieces of furniture (cabinets, tables etc) in your kitchen, as this will help prevent any indentations.
How to get the best price on cork flooring
BuildDirect seems to be one of the best places to buy cork flooring from. Besides the best prices, their customer-friendly policies make shopping from them a pleasure.