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What is a Cork Floating Floor?

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  • Written By: Dakota Davis
  • Edited By: C. Wilborn
  • Last Modified Date: 26 August 2016
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A cork floating floor is a strong, durable flooring system made of cork planks that interlock without glue. Made from the bark of the cork oak tree, cork is gaining popularity in construction as a renewable and sustainable resource with a small carbon footprint. In addition to its "green" properties, a cork floating floor offers numerous advantages that include comfort, durability, exceptional insulation, and ease of maintenance.

The planks used to create a cork floating floor usually measure one foot wide by three feet long and are made up of three layers. The top layer is made entirely from high density cork, and features multiple coats of UV-treated acrylic finish. The middle layer is made from waterproof exterior-grade fiberboard and incorporates a special tongue and groove CLIC technology that ensures the floor fits together securely without needing glue. The bottom layer is an attached cork underlayment that reduces noise. Planks can be selected in a range of colors and patterns.

A cork floating floor will respond to fluctuations in temperature and humidity by expanding and contracting. Using a humidifier to maintain a relative humidity of 50% can keep the visible effects of these changes to a minimum. Mats are advised for use in entryways, in front of sinks, and in other spots that may attract water. A cork floating floor is not recommended for bathrooms or in other areas with highly concentrated moisture.

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Cork is made up of millions of prism shaped cells filled with a gas similar to air, so it has a unique structure that makes it particularly beneficial when used for flooring. It is one of the most efficient insulating materials, offering both thermal insulation and sound reduction. Its elasticity offers a comfortable cushion that gives when compressed and bounces back relatively quickly, resulting in minimal residual indentation. Cork naturally repels insects and termites, is hypoallergenic, and has antimicrobial properties that resist mold and mildew. It’s also fire resistant.

A cork floating floor is low maintenance and requires regular sweeping or vacuuming. Occasional polishing with a hardwood floor cleaner can remove small scratches and revitalize the finish. To protect the floor, spills should be cleaned immediately and tape or adhesive should never be used on the acrylic surface. When a cork floating floor begins to show signs of wear, it can be refinished with a new coat of acrylic lacquer to make it look new again, extending its lifespan.

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