Cork Flooring, The Other Eco-Friendly Flooring
Cork flooring requires a sealant after installation in order to keep it waterproof and stain and UV resistant. Some cork floors require a sealant application every five to 10 years. The sealant adds cost to the flooring project. Plus, some people with environmental sensitivities may not be tolerant of the polyurethane finish, as it can affect air quality for a period of time. This sealant can also diminish some of cork’s natural fire retardant characteristics.
While cork is durable, it is not as dense as laminate flooring and care should be taken to avoid sustained, direct pressure from heavy furniture or appliances, high heeled shoes, animal claws, or other sharp objects. You can mitigate the pressure from heavy household items by placing coasters or felt pads underneath the legs to better distribute the weight.
While the day-to-day maintenance of a cork floor requires simple sweeping, special cleansers must be purchased if the floor needs a more thorough cleaning.
Sealed cork flooring is water resistant, but not water proof. Wet mopping is not recommended because water absorption can damage most cork floors. Spills and stains should be cleaned with a damp rag or a special solvent paste wax.
Direct sunlight over long periods of time can color fade a cork floor. Darker cork is particularly susceptible to fading in sunlight. Protecting the floor from direct sunlight and applying polyurethane sealant can help stop this effect.