More recently, the cork floor in the interior belonged to the category of something exotic and unusual. But the increased demand for all natural and environmentally friendly contributed to the rapid population of this material. Materials from cork have a lot of advantages.
The bark of cork tree consists of tightly adjacent small hermetic chambers in the form of a 14-polyhedron. A cubic centimeter of material has more than 40 million such chambers filled with an inert gas, a mixture of nitrogen and oxygen. In other words, this material is half air. But this is not important. Thanks to airbags, the surface of the material has a damping properties of a natural nature. With pressure on the surface, cork material is able to regain its shape.
The main components of cork material are:
- Suberin is a complex substrate of fats, organic alcohols and acids. Makes up 45% of all items. Makes the material plastic and dense, prevents the penetration into the material of the material of a liquid or gaseous type.
- Lingin is a complex polymer compound, otherwise known as plant concrete. The second in importance, takes 27% of traffic jams. Thanks to him, all elements of cork material are held together, which increases the strength of the material.
- Polysaccharides - preserve the texture and structural integrity of the material.
- Tannins give a rich color to cork.
- Ceroids - increase the strength and water resistance of the material.
Natural cork has an amazing natural pattern. This flooring will complement the interior of the living room and bedroom, regardless of the style and design of the room. For the kitchen, cork floors with a special protective coating will replace a more sensitive laminate or linoleum. And in the bathroom, cork tiles will be an excellent tool for cold floor ceramics.
Cork coating features
Some of the characteristic features of the coating are superior to the more expensive materials used to cover the floor:
- Thermal conductivity. Cork has natural insulating properties. When laying, such a floor covering does not need a "warm floor" system due to the fact that the material itself very slowly absorbs external heat. When you walk around a tile-covered room, you feel cold, because the coating absorbs your heat pretty quickly. And the thermal conductivity of the cork is very low and you will feel warm when it comes into contact with it.
- Soundproofing. Due to its cellular structure, the sound absorption coefficient of this material reaches 85%. This is an ideal option for those who love silence. No trampling, loud sounds from fallen objects, keys, trivia. Such floors are a great option for a home where the family lives with small children.
- Antistatic and hypoallergenic. Static electricity does not accumulate on the cork surface, therefore dust is not attracted to such a floor covering. In addition, the structure of cork material is such that it does not allow the formation of various fungi and mold, as well as the accumulation of various odors.
As for the negative qualities, the biggest disadvantage is the high price of the material per square meter. To cover the floor in a small kitchen or hallway, you will have to pay a considerable amount. In addition, the material is unstable to other aggressive interventions.
- The use of rubberized lining for furniture is not recommended. On the surface of the cork floor rubber traces remain, which are almost impossible to remove. Use felt material or the same stopper.
- Mechanical instability. Due to its structure, the material is quite soft, therefore it has a low resistance to deformation under mechanical action. The same castors from a chair or chair legs leave dents and scratches on the floor surface. To avoid this, all the furniture will have to provide special linings.
- The effect of moisture. The porous surface of the tube quickly absorbs water, as a result of which the material undergoes deformation. For this reason, it is not recommended to use such floor covering for a bathroom or a kitchen without a protective coating.
- Additional protection. The coating without additional processing quite quickly loses its presentation and wears out. To protect the cork, use special tools - varnish or wax to make the flooring more resistant to various mechanical stress. In addition, due to the prolonged exposure to direct sunlight, the coating changes its color and becomes more faded.
Cork Coating Options
For laying cork material on the floor using adhesive, locking tiles or roll option. Each of the options has its own characteristics and disadvantages.
Glue tile resembles its ceramic design. The thickness of such tiles is different - from 3 to 7 mm. The form is available in two versions - in the form of a square or rectangle. Before use, the floor in the room is covered with a special fake material and a tile of cork is glued on top of it. To do this, use a special glue, so the gaps and cracks between the tiles are not formed. Such a coating can be used for artistic masonry and apply in the kitchen, bathroom or other room where the level of humidity is high.
Since the cork is a soft material, it will be necessary to level the floor before laying it to hide all the flaws and irregularities on the surface.
As for the rolled material, it is laid on the same principle as linoleum. Glue is applied to the flat surface of the floor and then the rolled material unfolds. It is necessary to carry out the work carefully and efficiently, as the glue instantly sets and to move or remove the coating without damage is impossible. The most significant disadvantage of such a coating is the difficulty in working with seams and gaps — making them invisible or somehow difficult to hide. Despite such a significant minus and the high cost of the material itself, this type of coating is the most popular.
The analogue of the laminate is a castle tile or a floating floor. This multilayer coating has a solid bottom layer, the middle layer of pressed tube, and on top of it is placed veneer made of natural wood. Floating floor is unnecessary to attach to the floor, it forms a single coating due to the adhesion of the plates with each other using a special locking structure on the ends. The main advantage of this coating is ease of installation. But due to the lack of tightness at the joints and ends of the tiles makes such a coating unstable to moisture. It is recommended to use it in the bedroom or living room, but not for the kitchen or bathroom.
The optimal conditions for the operation of a cork flooring is to comply with the following modes: the humidity of the air should not exceed 60-65%, and the temperature limits are 20-25 ° C heat. In winter, the air in the rooms is more dry, so that the cork coating does not dry out, use humidifiers. Household chemicals that do not contain solvents or abrasive particles should be used to clean the cork floor. Also, do not use too damp cloth, excess moisture will cause irreparable damage to the floor and the floor will swell.
Washing vacuum cleaners are strictly not recommended for use on cork floors. When cleaning, the vacuum cleaner uses a large amount of water to wet the surface.
If stains have formed on the floor, which cannot be removed in the usual way, they can be wiped using sandpaper with small grains. To hide the resulting defect, cover the abrasion with varnish or wax.
Original interior solutions
To make the interior of the room original, use several types of flooring. Bold combinations of laminate and floating tiles, creating original patterns and contrasts, can be used to zoning a living room or bedroom.
Cork material by its nature varies in color and grain size; this can be used to create a floor pattern. The dark figured elements of the coarse cork and the light fine-grained base material will create an amazing contrast. This option can be used for the living room, the interior of which used dark wood furniture and light decorative elements.
The newest flooring option is a cork with photo printing.
The thinnest layer with the texture of any natural material — marble, granite, wood, and the like — is applied to the cork base. This layer is overcoated with three layers of protective varnish. The result is a flooring with enhanced characteristics, more resistant to mechanical damage and moisture.