Everyone is going green nowadays and it is very much the need of the hour. It is important that every act of ours is well-thought and does not hamper the environment in any way. Sustainable flooring is another effort in this direction and it is produced using sustainable materials. All through its life-cycle, sustainable flooring is not a burden on the eco-system. Its life-cycle includes harvesting, production, usage and disposal after usage. It is believed that sustainable flooring options help in creating safer and healthier buildings.
How is cork flooring produced?
Cork floor is made up from the bark of cork tree which is a type of an oak. This tree is predominantly found in Mediterranean Europe and Portugal is the largest producer of cork. The tree lives for hundreds of years and the bark is peeled to make cork. The peeling is done by hand every nine to ten years and the process does not harm the tree at all. The bark regenerates and the tree is again ready to be peeled for cork. Therefore, cork is a sustainable flooring option.
A few facts about cork
Cork is natural and is not processed much. It is fire resistant and does not emit any noxious fumes on combustion. It provides excellent sound insulation. It is elastic in nature and is composed of miniature cells which make very durable and so a preferred choice. It contains suberin which makes it resistant to growth of mold, bacteria and also prevents growth of dust mites and bugs. Cork flooring also gives a warm feeling under the foot. Cork planks must be protected from direct sunlight as they lose their color if exposed to direct sunlight. As compared to hardwood, cork shows lesser expansion and contraction with temperature changes thus there is lesser wear and tear.
Cleaning of cork flooring
Since cork is a natural product it cannot be treated and cleaned with regular cleaning products which might be harsh on it. The best way to maintain cork flooring and ensure its durability is to wipe away any spills immediately and vacuum or sweep the floor regularly. Regular cleaning will make sure that dust, dirt, grit or debris is removed and does not scratch the floor like sandpaper. Cork being a natural product can absorb moisture and so you must never leave any liquid on the cork floor. Make sure you only use a damp mop to clean. At all costs avoid wet mops. Maintenance of cork flooring is not rocket science. Just few things that you must keep in mind will make sure your cork floor lasts long.
Although, cork flooring is a green flooring this feature of cork does not make it less attractive or sans designs and patterns. Most of the cork planks available in the market have a pattern of swirling grains. This is a neutral shade and complements most of the furniture and draperies. Cork floors are varnished with a thin coating and this adds to its longevity and aesthetics. It is advised that cork floor is regularly varnished so that it does not get damaged and lose its sheen.