Cork Bathroom Flooring
Grown mostly in Portugal, but also in many other countries around the globe, the cork tree represents the unique source of one of the most interesting kinds of wood materials in the world – cork!
Standing on the softer side of the wood toughness scale, cork is a material most commonly used for sealing wine bottles, as well as bottles containing other beverages. Thanks to its malleable nature and soft surface, however, this material is also used for making floors. Indeed, feeling the soft cork under your feet represents one-of-a-kind experience that many people are opting for when it comes to their choices regarding flooring options.
Now, to be fair, for all of its popularity, cork isn’t a material that doesn’t come with its share of disadvantageous properties, so to speak.
Therefore, in this article, we’ll acquaint you with the main features of this curious material and explain its biggest strengths and weaknesses in more detail, so that you know what you’re dealing with if you’re thinking about buying some for your bathroom floor.
Right then, folks, without further ado, here’s the deal with cork.
Advantages of Using Cork for Bathroom Flooring
Surely one of the biggest advantages to using cork for your bathroom flooring would be the fact that it’s quite easy to install – even for a complete rookie. Now, depending on what sort of arrangement you plan on using, you might have to do a little bit of measuring here and there, but say you opt for the click-together option – you’ll be able to easily arrange the pieces without breaking a sweat!
Thanks to its softness and the ability to change its shape (to a degree), placing the cork tiles next to each other won’t require any special tools nor great physical exertion, so to speak. (Great if you’re exceptionally lazy.)
Holds Its Own Against Humidity
Although not really a perfect choice for humid conditions, cork does fare reasonably well when pitched against moisture. When compared to other kinds of wood, the cork will absorb only a small fraction of moisture it encounters. (After all, this is exactly the reason why it’s used for sealing wine bottles.)
Other than doing fine against water itself, this material also ‘performs’ decently when it comes to mold and mildew resistance. If you have a cork bathroom flooring, you can rest assured you won’t have any problems with these pesky growths any time soon!
If you care about climate change, the so-called ‘fossil fuels’, and polar bear cubs having a bright green, ehm, we meant – white future, installing a cork bathroom flooring can represent a little but noteworthy contribution on your part to the noble cause of saving the planet!
The thing is, cork is actually the bark of the cork tree, (which is harvested every once in a blue moon) but the important thing is – it’s technically a renewable source of energy, so there’ll always be more cork for the future wine bottles seals and bathroom floors. Also, since it’s a natural material (in contrast to laminate, for example), you can add a couple of ‘environmentalism’ points to your overall green cause!
Doesn’t Trigger Allergies
Dust, mite, mold, and mildew that carries all of these pollutants all represent some of the worst enemies of folks suffering from allergies. As we already said in the passages above, cork features excellent anti-moisture properties and it’s almost impervious to mildew!
For these reasons, a type of floor that can get you rid of the aforementioned potential health risks can be a great investment for not only your bathroom looks but also your general well-being. Of course, you cannot hope that your floor will never ever get dirty – far from that. However, a floor made out of cork will be fairly easy to clean when it does get dirty, so you won’t need to worry about investing in expensive means of bathroom maintenance too much.
Comes in Plenty of Shapes and Sizes
A thing you need to pay attention to when buying some bathroom flooring is the form this flooring comes in. The thing is, whether it’s tile, planks, or penny-sized patches of cork, you can arrange these pieces of wood into patterns and arrangements of your liking.
As far as the cost is concerned, the price doesn’t really differ all that much between these types of cork-based flooring coverings, so you won’t have to worry about spending a fortune to get some hexagonal cork tiles.
No Top Coating Needed
Wherever in your house you have a room where there’s plenty of water, you’ll always have to pay special attention to the water resistance of its flooring. The fact of the matter is – there are many kinds of flooring that are quite popular nowadays, but which do not feature good or even half-decent anti-moisture properties. For this reason, many types of flooring actually require an additional coating that will protect the surface below from water-caused damage.
This won’t be a necessity with cork! Thanks to its natural anti-moisture properties, this material does not require any additional protection on the top, so you can rest assured your cork-based bathroom floor will survive for years to come without any protective layer on top.
Excellent with Pets
No matter how delicately you refurbish your bathroom floor, pets will find an inventive way to ruin it. Whether it’s using their cute paws to scratch all over the surface or creating one of their ‘little messes’ right beside their cat litter, for example, pets can represent a proper danger for any type of floor.
Now, as far as cork as a flooring material is concerned, you won’t have to worry much about these annoying scratches. As long as you’re cleaning it regularly and keeping those pesky pet messes out of your bathroom floor, your cork floor will be able to survive your lovable pets for years to come!
Disadvantages of Using Cork for Bathroom Flooring
As popular and beloved as this material is among the proud owners of cork-based flooring arrangements, cork is a material that comes with its pros and its cons. So far, we’ve talked about the advantages of owning one of these beautiful AND resilient floors, but let’s also mention some of its downsides.
Although cork holds its own against moisture in the form of water, so to speak, prolonged exposure to steam will inevitably lead to some changes in the ‘behavior’ of this material. Warping, namely, is the main culprit of many a cork-based floor’s demise.
To prevent your cork tiles or other pieces of flooring from warping or otherwise suffering tough-to-repair damages, make sure to always air your bathroom after a shower, or whenever you use plenty of hot water.
Virtually all types of bathroom flooring require some sort of adhesive to keep it firmly in place. Now, the problem with cork and adhesives is that prolonged exposure to moisture and water can make the seams between individual tiles, for example, quite loose. As a result, water can penetrate beneath the tile itself and cause the adhesive holding it in place to become loose.
This can, further, cause some of your tiles to come off, which would mean you’ll have to replace them with new ones. (In case the old ones aren’t that damaged, you can use those, too, by the way.) This can knock out some extra bucks out of your pocket, which can be annoying.
All things considered, cork-based bathrooms are some of the most aesthetically pleasing flooring arrangements out there. Whether you like the soft, spongy feeling beneath your feet or the relative ease of installation, cork floors will last you for years to come if you take care of them properly. We hope you found this article helpful and wish you plenty of luck with your cork floor installation!