Cork Flooring 101 – Part Two

By administrator On April 9th, 2013

Let us now take a look at the considerations one must be aware of before opting for cork flooring.  This is important because this type of flooring is not exactly cheap.  And if you’re going to put in money on cork flooring, you should know what this entails over the long term.

This type of flooring demands regular maintenance.  The material is absorbent by nature, even when sealed properly.  There is always a chance of cork getting stained because of dirt and spillage.  For the very same reason, cork flooring is not particularly suited for moist environments.  The flooring should be sealed and resealed to ensure that the material remains protected and free from moisture.

Heavy furniture placed on cork flooring can lead to formation of divots and also cracks; therefore, such furniture should have some kind of cushioning under the legs.  Maintenance of cork flooring may be a chore, but with regular maintenance, this kind of flooring can last for years.  The most common sizes for cork planks are 12” X 12” or 12” X 24”.

Cork flooring is best installed by an experienced installer.  There is no harm; however, in home owners knowing a thing or two about how cork flooring should be installed.  The underlying surface should be smooth and dry.  Masonite and plywood are preferred surfaces.  If the installation has to be done on concrete, ensure that a vapor barrier is put in place so that cork remains protected from moisture.

Avoid installing cork flooring over underfloor heating systems.  Very often cork flooring comes with the adhesive already applied on the underside.  The flooring may alter its size with changes in temperature and humidity.  Therefore, keep an allowance of 1/8 inch so that there is room for expansion.

Cork flooring should not be installed over underfloor heating systems as they can cause the tiles to curl or the adhesive to become loose.  Give the glued flooring between twenty-four – forty-eight hours to get firmly stuck to the substrate.  Polyurethane is a popular sealant applied mainly at the seams and over the material body to form a protective layer.

Sweep and vacuum clean the flooring regularly to keep it free of dirt, dust, and grime.  In the absence of regular cleaning, particles of dirt and dust rub against the protective covering and wear it down.  This allows moisture to creep in and affect the flooring.  Take advice from the manufacturer regarding the application of polish and sealant, take note of the brands recommended and the frequency of application.

Kitchen cabinets – endless beautiful options

By administrator On April 4th, 2013

Kitchen cabinets, although utility items, add so much beauty and character to kitchens.  From the days before World War I to today, the kitchen cabinet has evolved and with it the look of the kitchen too has undergone changes.

The kitchen cabinets of today are ergonomically designed using technology and materials that were not available even 100 years ago.  Today, cabinets come with deep drawers, pull-out shelves and sponge trays.  Garbage containers can be skilfully hidden and yet easily removed.  You can store a lot in small spaces without crowding the area.

Kitchen cabinet refacing and refinishing have evolved tremendously.  Today, environmental friendly processes and materials continue to gain favor with families.  Cabinets are invariably constructed using wood.  Particleboard is another favorite, and seems to offer some advantages over hardwood and plywood.  The latter two are costlier.  Their repairs can only be done by a qualified person.

The is no end to the number of cabinets, you can have in your kitchen.  Cabinets can be placed both above and below the countertops.  If you wish for a modernist look, then consider metal cabinets.

When having cabinets installed, consider the workflow and the layout of your kitchen.  You are going to be using this cabinets for a long time and you want to be to be able to work comfortably everyday.

Cork Flooring 101 – Part One

By administrator On April 2nd, 2013

Cork flooring offers two cool advantages – aesthetics and comfort. It’s easy on the feet and shins and kids taking a tumble on cork flooring are not likely to suffer any injuries.

Yes, the humble cork used to cap wine bottles and inside balls makes an excellent flooring material; one that has been used for more than a hundred years.  It is a wonderful sound insulator and has found favor as a flooring material in libraries and churches. No reason why you can’t use it in your kitchen though.

Cork is considered an environment friendly and sustainable flooring option; over the past few years there has been a surge in the interest in this material as a flooring option. Given that these are slightly expensive flooring options, you may wish to install cork flooring in your den or kitchen – areas with smaller floors to cover.

Cork is harvested from the cork oak trees every nine years; it is the bark from the tree. Portugal is one of the world’s major producers of cork.  Spain, Algeria, Tunisia, Morocco are other known producers of cork.

The first priority or preference is cork stoppers  for wine bottles.  What remains is known as post industrial waste and can be used for a number of purposes, flooring being one of them.  Leftover cork is ground and pulverised, boiled and then with the help of adhesive resins,  it is rolled into sheets. You can get a number of design options with cork. You can choose from up to forty colors. Cork can cost between $ 4 – $ 8 per square foot depending upon the quality of the material and design pattern selected.

It is interesting to note that some cork planks carry fiberboard within them for added sturdiness.  The cushioning effect of cork comes from the structure of cork bark cells that have air or gas trapped within them.  It is possible to compress cork up to 40% and with its elastic behaviour, it quickly regains its original shape and size.  This makes it well-suited for flooring purposes.

Let’s take a quick look at what the benefits of cork flooring are –

  • Natural shock absorbance because of the trapped air between cells
  • Appears beautiful and is very different
  • Sound absorbance and noise reduction
  • Very durable and easy to maintain