Should You Refinish Or Replace Your Cork Floors?

Cork flooring is fairly new in the market. And even as flooring trends come and go, this floor has shown consistency in its staying power. This can be attributed to the fact that in addition to being durable, cork floors are also capable of providing the same classy look as hardwood floors. The only difference is that cork floors are easier to maintain, and the classy look has a softer and warmer appeal than other wood floors. Cork floor tiles come in a variety of patterns, colors and sizes.

On the downside, like any other wood floors, cork floors may be susceptible to wear and tear or even damage if not well maintained. As such, occasional maintenance routine is important and should be observed. Occasionally cork floors may need to be refinished to eliminate the signs of wear and tear, while at times, replacement is required altogether.

Unfortunately, not many homeowners know when to refinish or replace them. Some go for replacement when all that’s required is a little bit of refinishing, thus incurring unnecessary costs. On the other hand, some homeowners refinish them without knowing that it’s time to replace them. Whichever situation you are in, this guide will help you make an informed decision.

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How can you maintain cork floors well to prevent wear and tear?

The maintenance of cork floors is relatively minimal. However, understanding the differences between them and their wood floor cousins is a good step towards maintaining them. For one, these floors tend to be absorbent. Cork floors are made by compression of the barks of trees and they absorb water at high rates.

If exposed to frequent wet conditions, the floors are bound to get water stains and get damaged with time. And although the occasional spills that find their way to the floor may not pose any danger because they are quickly cleaned, simple things like moist rags or a pet’s water dish on the floor will pose a threat to the quality of the floor.

When it comes to cleaning, always ensure that you use a cleaner meant for cork floors. Moreover, avoid using a hard bristled brush to sweep the floor as this will grind, sand particles into the floors causing scratches. A soft bristled brush, vacuum clean or a soft mop, on the other hand, will get the job done without posing a risk to your floor.

Other steps you can take to keep your cork floor looking new

• Place, an area rug in front of the sink and kitchen appliances to protect the floor from grease, dropping food, a lot of traffic or water spills

• Avoid dragging furniture across the floor as this will leave it with scratches

• Occasionally move the area rugs to allow for even color change as these floors tend to change color when exposed to light

• Use felt pads on furniture as protection from scratches

• Hardboard, craft paper or plywood can be used to protect the floor in rooms where works will be frequent

When is refinishing recommended?

Cork floors that are just starting to show signs of wear and tear like scratching or scratches should be refinished as soon as possible. The refinishing process employs the use of an ultra-thin sand paper to slowly abrade the top layer of the floor, revealing a fresh and unscratched layer of the floor. Afterwards, any dust is brushed away or vacuumed and the floor is oiled or sealed to protect it from damage. Depending on how thick the cork floor is, it is entirely possible to refinish it several times.

With veneer cork floors – cork floors with a more inexpensive wood type underlying a thin layer of cork – refinishing will not always be the best course of action. This is because the veneer may not be tough enough to withstand any level of abrasion. Solid cork floors can withstand the abrasion that comes with the refinishing process though.

Signs that will indicate that it’s time to refinish your floors

• The level of scratches on the floor - With light scratches, a little screening and application of a finish will get them looking new. With deep gouges or scratches, you may need to go all the way and refinish them.

• Gaps between the floor panels – Changes in temperature will cause the floor panels to contract and expand, and as such gaps between the panels may develop. These gaps are potentially damaging to your floors, hence the need to consider tightening and refinishing them.

• Water beading – Any drop of water that hits the floor should be able to bead up immediately. However, as the protective layer of finish wears down, this may no longer be the case. As such, the floor may absorb water leading to warping and staining. If the water is not beading anymore, consider refinishing your floors.

When is the replacement of cork floors recommended?

Replacement should be considered if your cork floor is veneer. In cases where the floor is damaged to an extent where discoloration and staining cannot be removed by refinishing, then replacement should be considered. Replacement panels can be purchased from a retailer or a flooring company. Because of its natural variation and unique look, it’s very easy to find cork flooring in Mississauga with color and texture that matches your style.

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