cork flooring durability

Cork’s durability is legendary. It is a well-known and well-loved floor finish that stands the test of time. Many public buildings in Europe and the Americas received their cork floors at the height of the cork flooring fad – between 1880 – 1940. Many of these floors are still in use today. As handsome and as practical as they day they were laid.cork_floor

Cork durability comes from the fact that it is a “resilient” floor finish. That is to say that it compresses and then returns to its original shape. It is also water proof – the only wood product that can claim this. The water resistant properties come from Suberin – the waxy product found in most plant life. Cork oaks produce a natural abundance of Suberin which gives cork many of its secondary properties: water proof, antimicrobial, fire resistant, and insect resistant.

Durability does not mean impervious to damage. Like all wood floors with a factory finish/site finishing, cork can be damaged. The wear layer – the finish – is the floors first line of defense. Most cork flooring producers have decided to stick with the most appropriate finishes for cork – flexible polyurethane or urethane. These finishes are well suited to cork but they can “wear through”. This requires refreshing the finish (like most wood floors) by applying another coat or two of finish after a set amount of time (every 3-7 years depending on finish/brand/traffic patterns).

Cork’s second line of defense is its resiliency – its ability to compress and return to original form. This does not mean that cork will not dimple or dent. It means cork is less likely to suffer permanent dents. Unlike hardwood, corks dents can be “ironed” out with hot steam – such as hot wet towels being applied to the area of indentation.

Cork can be gouged – like all wood products. Patching a cork floor is a simple process involving sharp knife (like a box cutter), a ruler, wood glue and some extra cork. The damaged area can be squared up with the knife and ruler, the same size of cork “harvested” from an off-cut or spare plank and then glued in place. A small amount of polyurethane (or matching finish) can be applied over the patched area to prevent damage to the subfloor/plank below.

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Tel: 1-604-207-0661
Tel: 1-604-207-9541
Toll Free:
Fax: 1-866-373-6520

Showroom and Warehouse Address:
Cancork Floor INC
#185-1991 Savage Rd.
Richmond BC, V6V 0A4

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