Your home is a direct reflection of your personal sense of style. As the irrefutable heart of the home, the kitchen’s style makes a bold statement and sets the tone for the rest of the home. Flooring in your kitchen spans a large surface area, so the flooring option that you select has a significant effect on the look of the kitchen and the overall style of the home. Cork flooring is one of the more unique options available for your kitchen, and a closer review of its many features and benefits may show you that this is the type of flooring that you want in this space.
Specific Needs for Kitchen Flooring
The unique function of this important room dictates specific needs for the right floor. You understandably need to select a material that you love from a stylistic standpoint. You also need the floor material to be durable and even to resist damage from water. This is a space that you, your family and your guests may use heavily, so it must resist signs of wear from foot traffic. Ideally, it will resist damage when objects are dropped on the floor or when spills occur. Because this space is heavily used, frequent cleaning may be required. With this in mind, you understandably need to choose flooring that has easy cleaning and maintenance requirements. While there are several flooring materials that you may select, a closer look reveals that cork may be the ideal flooring option for your kitchen.
Understanding What Cork Tiles Are
Cork kitchen flooring is made out of the bark of the cork oak trees. Because of this it is a natural flooring option that you can feel great about installing in your home. Like hardwood floors, cork floors are available in an extensive range of styles and colors. Background colors, pigments and stains can all be used to alter the look of the cork. You may be familiar with the cork stoppers in wine bottles. This is a softer material than many hardwood flooring planks. However, cork flooring for the kitchen is a high density material that is made with a waxy substance on the surface for durability. Before deciding if you want this floor option in your kitchen, you should understand what it offers to you on a daily basis once it is installed in your home.
The Many Benefits of Using Cork in Your Kitchen
Unlike engineered hardwood floor and ceramic tile that you may be thinking about installing in your kitchen, cork is a softer material. You may stand for long periods of time in the kitchen while cooking and entertaining. The soft, giving nature of cork makes this material more comfortable to stand on. However, this same feature can unfortunately result in damage if you scrape heavy furniture or appliances over it. Thankfully, heavy furniture is not usually used in the kitchen as it may be used in other areas of the home. When appliances are installed, you can simply use special pads to prevent damage to your new floor. Keep in mind that the unique look of cork can make minor damage rather difficult to see.
Some types of hard flooring that you may want to use in your kitchen are cold to the touch. However, cork is a great thermal insulator. You can also use radiant heating under it for additional comfort on cooler days. The sealants that are used on cork tiles make them water-resistant. All natural materials may eventually absorb water when the moisture remains on the flooring for an extended period of time, but cork is one of the more resistant natural flooring materials available. These benefits are combined with many others, such as easy cleaning and maintenance as well as convenient installation options.
The Installation Process
The installation process for cork kitchen flooring is straightforward. Regardless of whether you choose cork tiles or planks, you can install the material on a concrete subfloor or on most other types of subfloor surfaces. However, if there are any imperfections on the subfloor, these should be addressed properly. The unique nature of cork means that imperfections may show through the flooring and may be felt when you walk on the floors.
If you choose to install cork tiles, you or your preferred flooring installers will adhere the tiles to the subfloor using a special adhesive. Once the tiles are in place, they may be sanded so that any height inconsistencies are addressed. A final step is the application of a sealant on the cork tiles to protect the floor from unnecessary damage. An alternative is to use flooring planks made out of cork. This is a floating floor rather than glue down tiles, which means that no adhesive is used. These planks click and lock together. The unique manufacturing process for the planks makes this type of cork kitchen flooring material more susceptible to water damage. Therefore, the application of a sealant over the installed planks is a veritable necessity. The sealant on tiles and planks made out of cork will wear down over time. Generally, it should be re-applied every few years.
Cleaning and Maintenance for Cork Kitchen Flooring
Your cork kitchen flooring is generally easy to maintain on a regular basis. Sweeping and wet cleaning with a damp mop are essential chores at least once or twice each week based on the traffic in your home. The mop should only be slightly damp rather than soaked. Avoid the use of harsh chemical cleaning agents. Be aware that dirt particles can scrape the cork, so the floor should be free of debris. In addition to these steps, remember to wipe up spills as soon as possible to prevent water damage. Because the material is softer than other types of flooring that you could install in your kitchen, objects may be less likely to shatter if they drop on it. However, the flooring could be damaged if sharp, heavy objects fall on it.
If you want to enjoy the functionality of tile and the beauty of wood in your kitchen, cork may be the perfect solution. Take time today to explore the many beautiful styles of cork kitchen flooring available in tiles and planks as a starting point. By doing so, you may decide that you love the character and comfort that cork brings to the table.