Cork floors in the kitchen are one of the most profitable solutions in terms of price-quality ratio, but probably due to lack of consumer awareness, they are not popular. In this article, we will talk about the advantages and disadvantages of the material, as well as how to choose a flooring using 11 tips and 20 photos of cork floors in the interior..
Advantages and disadvantages
Cork floors have the following benefits:
- They are very pleasant to walk barefoot. What’s more, with its multi-cell structure, cork floors cushion your every step. So, for those who have problems with joints, spine and musculoskeletal system, it is better not to find coverage;
- They will not allow your dishes to break in the event of a fall – again due to their softness and springiness;
- The cork helps to keep warm and itself remains warm, even if the room is cool;
- Do not slip (however, this largely depends on the protective coating);
- The cork is easy to clean, does not absorb grease, as well as coloring liquid products such as beet juice or red wine. In addition, it does not attract dust as it does not accumulate static electricity;
- Waterproof and not subject to decay, as the cork contains lignin, seberin and ceroids. This means that in the event of, say, a pipe break, the floor will not deteriorate or become moldy. But, strictly speaking, only a glued cork floor will withstand serious “flooding”;
- Not subject to combustion. The cork can only be charred;
- They have a long service life. A good cork floor will serve you for at least 20 years in excellent condition;
- Thanks to the air cells that make up the cork, the coating has a volumetric memory. This means that neither kitchen furniture nor heavy items that have fallen will leave dents on it. More precisely, they will leave, but over time, the form will be restored;
- They muffle both airborne and shock noises, both from inside the room and outside;
- The price for cork floors is from 1,500 rubles / sq. m – this is almost 2 times cheaper than parquet or solid boards, despite the fact that in terms of operational characteristics, cork is in many ways superior to wood.
Unfortunately, this unique material also has its drawbacks:
- Although the cork is waterproof, it can swell from prolonged exposure to moisture. Particularly susceptible to this are the interlocking cork floors at the joints of the dies. Water is not terrible for a glued floor, but because of the protective 3 layers of varnish, the floor can become as slippery as a laminate or a polished solid wood;
- The cork is afraid of sharp objects. However, only subtle scratches may remain on the lacquered floor from the games of a child, a cat or falling knives, which can be restored;
- The cost of cork is higher than laminate, tile or linoleum;
- The adhesive floor, which is most suitable for the kitchen, requires a perfectly flat base and professional, not self-installation, which affects the overall price..
11 tips for choosing
Tip 1. An adhesive floor is better for a kitchen where the owners often cook and spend time there.
The glue floor is good because it can be laid as tightly as possible – there are no joints either between the dies or near the walls. Thanks to this, it will not be damaged even due to the large volume of water and will not let it “flood” the neighbors from below..
Characteristics of the material – the tiles of the adhesive coating are two-layer: the bottom layer consists of pressed cork, and the decorative layer is made of cork veneer. After installation, the coating is treated with wax, oil or varnish. The tiles are available in different formats, but since their sizes are multiples of each other, you can play with the design of the masonry – lay the floor with a herringbone pattern, in a staggered pattern, in a checkerboard pattern and even in a zigzag pattern as in the photo below.
Cons: in contrast to a castle glue floor, it requires an ideal base and high-quality professional installation. Also, it cannot be reused after dismantling..
Hint: The cork adhesive floor in the kitchen should be covered with 3-4 coats of varnish..
Tip 2. If you live in a rented apartment, do not cook very often and do not want to carefully level the base, then it is more profitable to buy a chateau floor
Castle (“floating”) floors are more suitable for finishing little-used kitchens and dining rooms, as they can withstand spilled liquids, but only up to 24 hours. But the spoiled tiles must be replaced, and most importantly, the coating is very quickly and easily assembled independently. You don’t even need to apply varnish on it, most often it is sold already pre-treated. In addition, “floating” floors, due to the use of a substrate (when laying) and a base made of MDF, can be laid on the base with differences of up to 2-3 mm by 2 m, which will also save you time, effort and money. Another plus – the locking plug can reliably imitate a floor or parquet board.
Characteristics of the material: the dies of the “floating” floor consist of an MDF base, a center of pressed cork and a decorative layer of cork veneer (2-3 mm). In terms of format, size, installation method (according to the “thorn-groove” principle), and sometimes in appearance, cork strips are similar to a laminate.
Cons: as already noted, interlocking cork coverings have a weak point – the seams. If water seeps into the joints, the ends of the planks will swell, and the cork may peel off slightly from the MDF board. Another drawback is that the price of interlocking floors is slightly higher than that of glue floors; moreover, they require the purchase of a special underlay..
Hint: To keep your kitchen floor looking its best for longer, choose a material with moisture-resistant ends and be sure to seal all joints with a water-repellent sealant..
Tip 3. The thicker the material, the better
- Kitchen adhesive cork should be 6mm thick, not 4mm thick.
- The chateau floor is 10-12 mm thick. All other things being equal, thicker material will be more reliable..
Tip 4. If you want to buy a light floor, then give preference to options with beveled
White, beige, light gray coatings make the seams and any styling errors more noticeable. This can be avoided by choosing a floor with bevels (bevels at the edges)..
Tip 5. Do you want your floor to always appear clean? Choose a material with a distinctive cork veneer pattern and texture
Not too light (beige, gray, brown, dark brown) tinted coatings with a characteristic “cork” texture always seem clean. Small crumbs, water droplets, stains and other household contaminants can be seen on them only if you look closely.
Tip 6. Tinted cork retains its original color longer than unpainted cork
If the kitchen faces the sunny side, then you should prefer the tinted material, since the cork of a natural color, simply varnished over time, will “burn out” from ultraviolet radiation.
Tip 7. Buy cork from one batch
Due to the specifics of production, cork floors from different batches differ slightly in tone and size, which becomes noticeable only during the installation process. For the same reason, we advise you to play it safe and buy tiles with a margin, especially if you are buying a lock stopper..
Tip 8. Avoid solvent-based adhesives
If you decide to lay an adhesive floor, pay special attention to the choice of adhesive. Water-based glue is the best choice, but solvent-based formulations can permanently saturate your floors with an unpleasant chemical odor. Do not be intimidated by the high price of water-based adhesives, because they have 2 times more economical consumption.
Tip 9. Pay special attention to the purchase of varnish
- Elastic varnish, like glue, is better to choose water-based;
- Keep in mind that coatings treated with varnish with ceramic chips, although they increase the wear resistance of the floors, are no longer so pleasant to walk on them, and children can completely erase their skin on them. And they also … can wear out household socks faster;
- After varnishing the cork, wait at least a week before using it – do not walk on it with shoes and do not place furniture.
Tip 10. If you want to buy a cork skirting board, give preference to factory varnished skirting boards
In terms of time, money and labor costs, it is more profitable to buy already varnished skirting boards, since unvarnished skirting boards, although cheaper, will still have to be varnished twice.
Tip 11. To prolong the life of the coating, use special care products
- Stubborn dirt that is unavoidable in the kitchen should be removed with a special mild cork floor cleaner such as Euku-clean.
- Once every one to two years, apply special wax and paraffin care products to the floor. They will restore the beauty of the cork and increase its anti-static properties..
- Renew the varnish layer every 5-10 years.
Photo of cork floors in the interior of the kitchen
And finally, we present to you a selection of photos of cork floors in kitchen interiors in classic and modern styles. Let’s start with the classics.
And here are photo examples of the use of cork in the interior of modern kitchens.