Care and Maintenance of a Cork Floor
A cork floor can give a room a natural, organic look. However, a cork floor requires a good amount of care and maintenance to last long. After you install a cork floor, you have to remain vigilant to protect it against natural elements, chemicals and other things that can ruin it. Follow these tips to care for yours.
Avoid Wet Cleaning
If the you clean the cork floor with too much water or other liquid, it will settle in and damage the floor. You can try cleaning it with a damp cloth or mop, but keep the water to a minimum so that it can quickly dry. Clean your floors right away after a spill.
Protect It from Furniture
Take care not to wreck your floor with marks and scuffs when you move furniture around. Cushion the bottom of your furniture with material such as felt, to prevent direct contact between your furniture's feet and the floor. You can buy stick-on felt pads in most home improvement or some discount stores. Leave the felt on in case you bump against the furniture durnig daily use.
Don't Use Rubber Mats
Rubber mats retain moisture and will ruin your cork floor. The same goes for mats with non-porous backings. In addition to ruining your floor, the mats will affect the finish by discoloration. Only use breathable mats that allow for enough air to circulate to the floor.
Use Natural Products
Harsh chemicals can destroy the floor itself, as well as the finish. Instead, vacuum or use a carpet sweeper often. If you spill something, use a cloth to wipe it up immediately with a gentle solution of one part baking soda and one part white distilled vinegar. You can also purchase products specially for cleaning pre-finished hardwood floors. If you don't clean up spills right away, the floor will stain.
Prevent Excessive Sunlight
Make sure that you have sufficient window treatments, such as blinds, drapes or heavy curtains, to keep sunlight from constantly shining on the floor. Excessive sunlight on cork floors can cause them to fade. Consider the placement of furniture in the room, such as large appliances or a couch to help reduce the amount of sunlight that enters the room.
Periodically Renew the Finish
Recoat your cork floors from time to time in order to make them last longer. Look for signs of wear and tear, especially in high-traffic areas, for clues on when to renew the finish. The coating substance depends on the finish. For example, use a polyurethane coat on a cork floor with an acrylic finish.
One final fact to keep in mind is that cork floors can expand or contract with humidity (like any other wood floor product). You may need to use a humidifier from time to time to prevent this from happening. Every floor is different, and therefore you should refer to your manufacturer's instructions for additional tips based on the floor you purchased and the finish you chose.