What about Cork and Water?

Cork does not absorb water or liquids which is why it’s been used for centuries to float fishermen’s nets and as stoppers for wine bottles. Finished cork glue-down tiles are great for kitchens and baths and Globus Cork will not stain as it has several coats of finish on it. We use only solvent-free, water-based products in the manufacturing of our cork tiles and that includes the adhesive also. If you have a flooding situation (ie: not daily usage), the standing water could possibly re-emulsify the adhesive and thus loosen a few tiles. That’s the only foreseeable damage that might be possible by water but this does not typically happen. The tiles can usually be dried out and reapplied with new adhesive after the subfloor has dried also.

Cork does not absorb water and mold does not grow on cork so water, moisture or high humidity is not a problem with glue-down cork tiles. Floating floors which have a center fiberboard are not recommended for water areas because they are mostly fiberboard and can swell when they get wet. If floating floors buckle, they cannot be saved and will have to be replaced. Only the 100% cork tiles which are a glue-down product are recommended for any potentially wet areas.

How Durable is Cork?

You should vacuum your cork floor regularly and for more thorough cleaning, damp mop it with a mild soap. Use only a slightly damp soapy mop to clean and then wipe over it again with a clean slightly damp mop to pick up the soap residue. You should use a mild Ph-balanced soap like Liquid Joy dish soap and never an ammonia-type or abrasive product. Globus Cork will sell a Concentrated Cleaning product, which you can purchase directly from us. You should never wax your floor. We do not recommend steam cleaning cork flooring as it is not good for wood floors.

Never use an abrasive or ammonia-based cleaning product!

Sweep, vacuum, or damp mop the installed floor regularly. Do not flood the floor with water.

Clean the floor by using a damp mop regularly with a ph-balanced detergent such as Liquid Joy to clean and keep the surface free of grit or sand. You can also purchase a concentrated cleaner from us.

Refresh the finish on the tiles on a regular basis with another coat of our finish or our floor polish product. Apply once or twice a year for a residential installation and more frequently for a commercial installation. Frequency is dependent upon usage.

Will Heavy Usage Wear Through the Color?

Wear on your floor will always be on the finish layers. There are 4 layers of finish on the tiles by the time the install is completed. Our recommendation is to use a polish product which is a thinner version of the finish for on-going maintenance. “Frequency is dependent upon usage”. You can also At no point should you be walking on the cork without finish on it so there is no way to wear off the color. The finish is a wear layer that protects the cork. If damage occurs to the cork such as a gouge or scrap which removes the finish, color, and some of the actual cork, then you’ll need to do a repair by either re-staining the cork or replacing a tile or panel. When you calculate the overage in order, you should plan on having a few leftovers for possible replacements. The majority of residential installations are kitchens, followed by bathrooms. Our cork is installed in commercial locations that have much higher use than homes and it holds up fine. Cork will last many decades although it will age just like other woods and can fade in direct sunlight without UV protection just like other woods.

What About Cat or Dog Pee?

The cork does not absorb liquids and it would be difficult to stain it due to the multiple layers of finish on the cork. If your pet repeatedly pees at the same spot then over time, the ammonia might start to degrade the finish over time so try to prevent that from occurring.

Will Large Dogs Damage the Tiles?

If you have large dogs at home or dogs that love to race through the house, then you know they have the ability to scratch almost any surface – resilient, wood or even harder surfaces. Just walking on a cork floor by a heavy dog will not cause any damage. As a basic comparison, cork holds up better than hardwood floors because it gives under foot. Our commercial grade finish will minimize the appearance of scratches in the finish coat. You can also use a cork floor polish or apply a new finish coat as needed to refresh the floor which will fill in any scratches that are in the finish layers. You can replace a single tile if necessary.

Rolling Office Chairs

We’ve not found there to be any problems with rolling office chairs. We have cork in our offices and don’t have any scratching from the rolling chairs. However, it is best to have rubber wheels on the rolling chairs and not the inexpensive plastic wheels.

What About Heavy Weights or Home Gyms?

Glue-down cork tiles which are 100% cork are the best choice for a home gym. We don’t recommend the floating floors under heavy equipment for 2 reasons. First, the floors are supposed to “float” on top of the subfloor which allows them to expand and contract as the wood needs to do. If they are pinned down, they can’t do this. Secondly, the engineered floating floors have a center fiberboard (MDF) which is not resilient like cork is. Since the cork is adhered to this fiberboard, it cannot react independently of it. Therefore dents will be permanent in a floating floor panel but they would not be permanent in a glue-down tile.

Can Cork Fade?

As cork is a wood, it can fade and age like other woods. The addition of color to the cork provides our cork with a measure of protection as does the varnish that we use which has some UV protection. Our colored cork will fade less quickly than uncolored cork. Within our color range, darker colors fade less than lighter colors as measured in xenon fade tests. However, all cork will fade from UV rays.

If you would really enjoy living on a cork floor and you want to place the cork in front of strong direct sunlight, the best bet would be to treat your windows. You could give all your home furnishings some UV protection that way! Investigate a product like this: www.energy-film.com

Low E Glass Windows

Even the highest performing low-E products can come up short on UV protection. Low-e glass will not protect your furnishings from fading. You need a special window film that blocks UV radiation.

Will the Finish Peel Off?

Every cork manufacturer uses different finishes and different adhesives. Some cork manufacturers will even put a vinyl layer on top of the cork. Over time the vinyl edges begin to separate from the cork tiles and peel. Our product is 100% cork so this can not happen with our tiles. Some manufactures use a less expensive hardwood finish on their cork tiles. The hardwood finish is too inflexible for cork and in a short amount of time, it will develop spider cracks as the cork gives under foot but the finish doesn’t. Globus Cork only uses and recommends a European finish that is formulated specifically for cork. It is a water-based varnish that does not crack, peel or separate. It is possible to apply too many coats of finish in the on-going maintenance of the floor and have dirt trapped in between the layers of finish. This could cause some peeling to occur. For this reason, we suggest using our cork polish product for ongoing floor care.

No. If you have vinyl tiles, sheet vinyl, rubber, etc., it will need to be either removed and the floor will need to be sanded until smooth OR best option, a new plywood subfloor should be installed. (For example, Multi-ply plywood comes in sheets of 48x48x1/4″) The problem exists with the previous adhesive residue in the substrate. The new adhesive will not adhere to such a condition. For best results when installing a new plywood substrate: use an all-purpose type of adhesive (not a contact adhesive) and glue plus staple the new plywood subfloor in place.

Does Cork Dent?

Cork has a unique honey-combed structure that is filled with an air-like gas. The cork cell membranes are very flexible allowing cork to be both compressible and elastic. When cork is subjected to pressure or heavy weights, the air in the cells is compressed. An example would be when a cork stopper is pressed into a bottle opening. Once the pressure is released (or in the example, the cork is removed from the bottle), cork returns to within 80-95% its original shape over a short period of time. In cork flooring, this means that although its possible to make a dent in cork with a heavy object or high-heeled shoes, the cork will probably recover to near its original shape, unlike hardwood floors which can not recover. Placing pads under heavy objects to cushion or disperse the weight will help. Also as a last resort, you can replace single tiles in those dented spots as you should also order a few extras to hold on to.

What About Scratching?

Wear and tear on a floor means walking on it. Thats the normal wear you should consider. Cork floors are in the Library of Congress for many decades now as well as many other public libraries, court houses and churches since the 1920s, 30s and 40s. If you draw a sharp edge across it you’ll have a scratch just as you can scratch many other flooring materials. Even hard surfaces like granite or stone can be scratched.

Water Damage Repair

If you have a flooding situation (ie: not daily usage), the standing water could possibly re-emulsify some of the adhesive and thus loosen a few tiles. This does not typically happen. That’s the only foreseeable damage that might be possible by water. If a few tiles loosen, the tiles can usually be dried out and reapplied with new adhesive after the subfloor has dried also. So the first step is to use fans and dehumidifier in the room for a few days to see what the actual need is. Use our adhesive on the backs of the tiles and subfloor and follow our installation instructions. Let the adhesive on the tile and subfloor dry to a tacky state before sticking the tile down. If the tile is still partially attached to the floor, prop up the tile with toothpicks or small shims of wood to keep them separate while the adhesive tacks up.

If you need to order replacement tiles, we’ll need a small piece of the original cork tile for a color match. All cork products are made to order in a batch process strictly for you and additionally cork will age over tile and can shift in color. An aged cork tile will be difficult to match with a freshly colored cork tile. If you installed a cork floating floor, the fiberboard center will be permanently warped and cannot be fixed. You would need to order a new floor.

What About Curling?

Cork, as a wood product, has some characteristics similar to hardwoods in that it expands and contracts with changes in temp & humidity. That’s why its so important to acclimate the product in your home (not garage) at your living room temperature (not in new construction without the heat on). These are problems common to all wood products.