Cork flooring is made of Mediterranean cork oak tree bark. Cork bark is taken from the trees without cutting down or harming the tree, so every nine to ten years, the same trees are able to reproduce bark that is again harvested to make cork materials such as cork floorings. Since cork has a natural component that resists mold and mildew, it is ideal for bedroom flooring. Cork floors are also water resistant and repel insects, especially termites. They are also hypoallergenic, so households with babies and young kids can be assured that cork floors are safe.
Cork floors are painted with a special varnish to protect them from dust, moisture and sunlight. Even with this protective finish, it is important to maintain the cork flooring by taking these measures:
- Clean the cork flooring with a damp mop or cloth. Avoid pouring cleaning agents directly on the floor as it will be absorbed by the floor and might cause it to soften. Dip the mop or cloth in the appropriate cleaning solution, squeeze out the water until the mop is no longer dripping before wiping it on the floor. Do this once a week.
- Sweep the floor every day, especially on areas that have high traffic, to avoid accumulation of dust. Wipe it with dry cloth after sweeping. Preferably, use soft cloth and canister type sweeper, or soft bristled brooms to avoid scratching the surface of the cork flooring.
- When using electric floor polishers, make sure you are using the right attachment, preferably those with soft bristles to avoid scratching the floor surface.
- Wipe spills dry right away, and do not allow it to sit and dry up on the cork floor. This will leave a stain on the floor, and may break the material as it absorbs water.
- When placing ornamental plants inside the house, use drip pans to avoid spilling when you water the plants.
- Place rugs on doorways, especially the main entrance to the house and the bathroom door, to avoid dirt and moisture from spreading through the floor.
- Cork floors are sensitive to direct sunlight, and fades with constant exposure. To maintain the floor’s original color, place curtains or window blinds to block off sunlight. You may also cover the exposed flooring with carpet or rugs.
- Use rugs or carpets with breathable material to avoid building up of moisture underneath it.
- Avoid dragging your furniture when moving them to another area. It is advisable to carry them to avoid scraping the cork floor. Also place felt pads under the foot of your furniture to protect the floor from direct contact. While cork floors do not dent due to furniture standing for long periods of time, it may scrape the floor coating when the furniture is not well protected. You may also place a carpet or rugs under the furniture.
- Over time, the protective coating of cork floors fade because of constant wiping and cleaning. It is important to refinish the cork floor with the appropriate finishing product. You may do this once in every three years. In between, you may wax the cork floor with liquid floor polish.