A stylish and long-lasting alternative to hardwood floors, cork flooring has increased in popularity in recent years. When properly cared for, cork floors are an investment that can last for several decades. Whether you have just installed new cork flooring or are moving into a house or apartment with cork floors, here is what you need to know about cork floor care.
Cork Floor Care
When it comes to keeping your cork floors looking as good as new regular cleanings to remove any dust, dirt or debris are key. This is because if allowed to build up on the floor these particles will slowly damage the floor over time. Fortunately, keeping your cork floor clean is incredibly simple, and only requires sweeping or vacuuming on a regular basis.
Since cork flooring is extremely porous and can easily warp when exposed to moisture, it is important to avoid using excess liquid when mopping. However, a damp mopping is recommended from time to time to keep your floors looking their best. To ensure your mop is only slightly damp be sure to wring out all water before mopping and never allow any water to stand on the floor after cleaning.
Preventative care for cork flooring
Cork flooring is very resilient and can last homeowners for decades, but, in order to get the most out of your cork flooring, it is important to use a few precautionary measures to avoid wear and tear and irreplaceable damage (learn when to replace floors). Some of the essential steps to keeping your cork floors in good shape for as long as possible are detailed below.
Use floor mats or rugs
It doesn’t get easier than this! One of the most effective ways to maintain cork flooring is to place floor mats or rugs at room entrances and areas where you know you will be standing frequently, such as in front of the kitchen or bathroom sink. Placing rugs in these areas cuts down on the debris that is tracked onto the floors, thus preventing the associated wear and tear. Even better, it means less sweeping and vacuuming for you. Using mats and rugs also protects your floors from snow or rain being tracked in or splashes from sinks, which can damage cork floors if not cleaned up immediately. It is recommended to stick with rugs made from natural fibers and to avoid those with rubber or latex backings that can hold moisture.
Prevent sun exposure
The color of cork floors tends to fade over time when exposed to direct sunlight. This is mostly a concern for those with darker cork floors and is not as noticeable with lighter flooring. To prevent fading, it is important to use curtains or blinds to minimize sunlight during the day. You can also apply specialty UV film on your windows, which can further prevent fading from direct sunlight.
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Protect your cork floors from furniture
Another easy cork floor care tip is to place furniture protectors under the legs of heavy furniture. This is because over time furniture can actually leave permanent indentations on cork flooring. Furniture pads are an easy way to avoid the issue. It is also important to never drag furniture across your cork floors when moving or rearranging, which can permanently scratch the floors. Instead, you should place a sheet or magic sliders underneath the furniture to avoid damage.
Watch out for sharp objects
It is also important to keep in mind that sharp objects such as pet nails or high heels can also damage cork flooring. To prevent damage from your dog or cat’s nails be sure to regularly trim their nails. Meanwhile, use area rugs in highly trafficked areas to protect your floors from high heels and other sharp objects.
Maintaining your cork flooring
If you are careful to prevent damage, cork flooring requires very little maintenance. However, sealing and refinishing are two maintenance tasks that can extend the life of your cork floors, ensuring they last for decades.
One of the keys to proper cork floor care to prevent damage, dents, and stains is a good sealant. Cork sealant, which is usually made of polyurethane creates an invisible seal that locks out moisture and dirt, keeping your floors looking bright and new. Over time this seal will begin to wear down, leaving your floors vulnerable to damage. Because of this, it is suggested that you reseal your floors every few years as a preventative measure.
Over time it is inevitable that your cork floors will begin to show signs of age, but since cork is a natural material it can be refinished. The refinishing process is an easy way to give new life to damaged cork flooring, extending the life of the flooring for many more years. Since cork is a soft material it is important to be very careful when refinishing and adhere to specific guidelines.
If you are new to living with cork floors, fear not. With regular cleanings, preventative care, and some occasional maintenance you can prevent damage and keep your floors in great condition for many years to come.