Caring for Cork Floor
Cork floors have been used as flooring for homes since the 1950s. At the present time, it is gaining popularity because of sustainability and the energy savings it offers. Cork is harvested by hand from the bark of cork oak trees that are 20 years or older. The good thing about cork is that the tree grows new bark and it can be harvested again every 9 years up until the tree’s 250th year. Unlike other renewable resource, the cork oak tree need not be killed to be harvested.
The innate quality of cork flooring is that it is pliable and soft compared to other types of flooring. It serves well to cushion the feet of cooks working for hours and as insulation for warmth and noise. It is also resistant to fire, molds, mildew, and termites.
The downside of using cork is durability. Though it can spring back to shape when pressed with a heavy object and heals from knife cuts, it cannot recover when chunks are broken off. It is usually protected by polyurethane coats, but would need refinishing every 5-10 years. Unlike hardwood, it can only be sanded gently before recoating. Since it is not very thick and tends to be crumbly, it will not last for decades like hardwood.
Cleaning Cork Floors
Grit and dirt can damage cork flooring. As such, it is necessary to vacuum or sweep the floor on a regular basis. When using a vacuum, do not use beater bars. To avoid tracking in of dirt, it would be advisable to place an area rug on entrances. After clearing the floor, clean it with a damp mop. Make sure that the mop does not have excess water that can damage the floor. Mats should be placed in working areas in the kitchen to avoid water and moisture penetration.
When removing stains or spills, only use a cleaner recommended for cork floors. Otherwise, use only mild wood floor detergent when cleaning cork floors. Never use ammonia based detergents, oil, wax, or harsh solvents for cleaning. Don’t use abrasive cloth when removing stains – sponges or lambswool applicator is always the best option.
Avoiding Scratches or Damage on Cork Floor
Though cork flooring is pliable, it is best to use fabric gliders on the bottom of furniture legs and adjusting the location regularly. When moving furniture, it should be lifted instead of pushed to prevent scratches and any permanent chips on the cork floor.
Always remember that stiletto heels or any sharp shoe soles can also cause permanent damage on cork floor.
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