How to Care for Cork Flooring
Cork is a natural flooring material that comes from the bark of the cork oak tree. The bark is harvested by hand every nine years, leaving a protective inner layer of bark behind. The tree continues to grow and generate new bark year after year. This makes natural cork flooring an environmentally friendly and sustainable flooring option that is steadily growing in popularity.
Cork flooring comes in a variety of colors and patterns, and it is prized for a multitude of positive traits:
- Acoustical insulation (cork tends to muffle sound, making it ideal for use in libraries and churches)
- Thermal insulation
- Slip resistance
- Moisture resistant
- Antimicrobial properties
- Fire resistant
There is also synthetic cork, which is made from a type of plastic. Synthetic cork floors have built-in penetrating sealer and other binders that keep the floor from absorbing dirt. Synthetic cork will not require stripping and resealing. Regular daily maintenance with a vacuum and occasional wet mop is all that is required. If the finish wears off, lightly sand the surface with a sand screen and re-coat with the appropriate finish.
Cork Floor Cleaning
Cork floors are maintained just like wood floors and require routine daily care. Since cork is a soft and porous material, it can become permanently damaged as sealers wear off the floor. Remember: water is a wood floor’s (and cork floor’s) worst enemy. Cork can be damaged by high alkaline cleaners, so a neutral wood detergent works best to maintain these floors.
- Dust mop floor.
- In a mop wringer and bucket set, dilute Unitex Daily Clean at 2 oz per gallon of water. Using a mop, apply diluted Daily Clean to floor using caution to not over-wet flooring.
Cork Floor Stripping and Sealing
Natural cork floors are usually sealed immediately after installation. Since cork is a soft and porous material, it can become permanently damaged as sealers wear off the floor. To keep cork floors looking their best, they will need to be regularly stripped and resealed.This stripping and sealing technique is for natural cork flooring only. Factory-produced cork is already impregnated with a wax.
- Dilute Unitex Melt Down Stripper at 26 oz per gallon of water in a mop wringer and bucket set. Apply by mop to flooring.
- Using a conventional floor machine with a No. 0 steel wool stripping pad, strip the floor.
- Use a wet/dry vacuum to pick up slurry.
- Using a mop rinse area with Unitex Daily Clean diluted at 2 oz per gallon of water.
- Use a wet/ dry vacuum to remove any excess solution.
- Allow floor to dry.
- Using a finish mop, apply cork floor sealer to floor. Follow manufacturer’s directions for proper amount of coats.
Jon-Don is fully stocked with the chemicals, equipment, and accessories you need to properly clean and maintain natural and synthetic cork floors. For assistance in choosing the right products, please contact a Jon-Don Hard Floor Care Specialist at 800-556-6366.