Cork plank flooring is an alternative to the "norm". Cork is both soft and durable, if the proper care is taken it can last for a long time, and there are many advantages to cork.
Cork as a building material is not new, it has been used as a wall treatment for years but flooring is relatively new. Cork plank flooring is often pressed under a roller to compress the fibers to make it more suitable for use on a floor. Although it is more dense it still gives a little under foot, meaning it's still a little softer on your feet.
Cork is a good insulator and also good for sound deadening, and is soft on the feet. If your kitchen is above a usable room, cork is a great way to lessen the foot traffic noise.
These are some of the benefits of cork flooring, but for most people when they think of cork they think of sustainability, and cork is renewed after each harvest. Don't get me wrong cork isn't for everyone out there but it is a good choice for a lot of people.
Cork plank flooring is often sealed with a UV inhibiting finish. Cork can also be stained which greatly increases it's appeal to more people. From white to black and everything in between.
This flooring commonly comes in 1 foot by 3 foot planks and some has underlayment already applied to the backing. It interlocks the same way as laminate and has the same installation techniques. Other sizes and shapes are available to add some more detail to this great flooring. Easy for the DIYer with laminate installation experience.
The laminate style flooring is also known as floating cork flooring, because, well it floats on the subfloor and is not attached.
The cork laminate flooring is a fantastic option for those folks who have the desire to install the flooring themselves. On the other hand there are cork floors that require a glue down application. This is a bit more complicated and time consuming. Although with a few tools and some extra time to get the layout just right this can be done by the experienced remodeling person as well.
It's easy to maintain and very durable. Cleaning is the same as laminate, sweep regularly and a damp cloth once a week, or when needed, is all that is needed.
DO NOT use ammonia based products, steam, or harsh cleaners to clean your cork plank flooring. If plain water doesn't get your floor clean a mild detergent can be used but only if needed.
Also don't soak the floor in water, a wet mop isn't the best choice. I've seen people use laminate flooring wands with great success. The key to keeping any floor clean is not letting it get dirty, I know it sounds rediculous but it's true.
Cork may not be the best choice if you have dogs or young children.
It is recommended, but not necessary, that for kitchen installations the glue down flooring is used. It's more stable and more resistant to moisture and spills.
It retails from $2.50 per sq ft to $10.00 per sq ft. An affordable alternative to the usual flooring. It also adds a lot of character and texture.
What really makes a cork floor jump in price is the type of floor. A glue down floor is most likely the least expensive while the pre-finished click together floor is the most expensive.
There are also inlays and borders available too. These of course are a specialty item and will be at the high end of the price scale. Luckily these are only accent pieces and you're not using them over the entire floor area.