Floating cork - myths and reality.
Among all the floor coverings in the modern market of finishing materials, the cork floor coverings are becoming increasingly popular, they are offered to the customer in two options: glue-down and floating.
Let’s consider the floating cork in detail and try to give a real assessment of this modern floor covering, and to dispel myths and possible misconceptions that have developed in relation to the floating cork, where it is necessary.
A little from the history of the floating floor covering
It is quite natural that everyone wants his house to have a respectable and good look. At the same time, everyone would be glad if it takes as little money as possible. Producers of finishing materials, feeling the market situation, are looking for new interesting modern solutions to achieve the desired goal. Thus, the laminate appeared, as a cheaper alternative to expensive natural flooring. And the population accepted this novelty “with a bang.”
This covering has been constantly improved in several directions:
Firstly, it was necessary to achieve greater wear resistance, strength of joints of individual floor elements, and improve noise insulation.
Secondly, laminate is tried to be made as much as possible imitating a real wood.
Thus, a floating cork has appeared on the market, which, being inherently a laminate (high-quality and solid), is positioned as a modern, environmentally friendly, competitive for a price material.
Thus, we logically approached the first myth:
Myth # 1: Floating cork - 100% environmentally friendly and health-friendly material
Floating cork – 100% environmentally friendly and useful for human health material, as there is a cork in its composition. Yes, indeed, the cork layer makes this covering more attractive and gives the impression of highly ecological material.
So, we concluded that the floating cork coverings are nothing but a good laminate. Let’s consider their structure in detail:
The separate element of the floating cork flooring is a multi-layered “board”, the lower layer of which is a compensating cork layer of 1 mm of thick. It is designed to minimize the deformation of the next layer, which is an HDF, on which, the main cork layer up to 3mm thick is glued.
Next – a decorative layer, which can be done by a natural cork veneer, or it will be a print that imitates any texture.
The floating cork with Hot Covering will be more wear-resistant. This know-how technology of the Swiss cork industry makes possible to achieve the 33 class of abrasion resistance of the surface of floor coverings, which allows its use in public places with a high degree of patency. So, speaking of the high ecological compatibility of the floating cork, the producer is somewhat disingenuous. Yes, indeed, cork itself is an excellent material, which is, due to the peculiarities of the cellular structure of the bark of cork oak, practically does not have foreign artificial components.
But do not forget that under the thin cork layer in the floating cork flooring is the HDF-plate – nothing more than a wood fiber plate (otherwise known as hardboard), which is not produced from the best raw materials (usually wood, match, plywood, substandard wood and even there are cases of adding of waste paper to the mixture for the produce of these plates). And to impart hydrophobic properties and greater strength, phenol-formaldehyde resins are added and processed with a pectol (an intermediate product of wood-chemical production). Often HDF on phenolic resins release harmful substances into the air, thereby damaging the health of people living in these conditions. So, we would place a high doubt on the high environmental compatibility of the floating cork.
Myth number 2: the floating principle of joints allows you to lay it quickly, and to remove the floors and take them with you to another room if it is necessary.
Quick installation is a fact! You are practically getting a perfect flat floor in a “one day”, which can be operated immediately, if you have a perfectly flat base.
Because even slight delays or irregularities can lead to the fact that individual lamellas will “play”, and this will inevitably lead to the fact that the floating will fail, not instantly, but with a constant exposure it will happen quickly.
Therefore, install the floating cork only on a perfectly flat surface!
Secondly, do not continue with the illusion that if you decide to move, you will easily disassemble the floor and will collect it again in a new place. In principle, this is possible, but only if the floating cork floors have not been in use for a long time. Only in this case, dismantling and re-installation of the floating cork can be realized without problems, and it’s not a fact! And if you have been living in a room with floating floors for some time (well, at least for a couple of years), be prepared for the fact that during dismantling you will lose a significant part of the floors since the floating joints will simply break down. Like it or not, fatigue of the material – is not a contrived term today. And no matter how modern the design is, it is, nevertheless, vulnerable.
Myth number 3: floating cork floors have all the properties of the cork: elasticity, heat, sound insulation and other.
Perhaps, the floating cork coverings will be warmer than any other, but too thin layer of cork (up to 3mm) gives all grounds to say that this thickness is not enough to appreciate all the possibilities of the cork. After all, this layer is made of the smallest cork pellets, which minimizes the entire natural value of this unique material, since during its production, additional (artificial) binders are inevitably used. Thus, the valuable properties of cork in the floating floor cover are minimal.
In addition, the cork is of such quality as moisture resistance, and the cork floor coverings, are vulnerable of this point. No matter how well the floating was treated, if such floors are flooded with water, they inevitably lose their original appearance.
Sound insulation is also not a strong point of the floating cork. Its surface is hard, and it “buzzes” like any other laminate, and, of course, it is not as warm as a glue-down cork.
In terms of thermal insulation, the cork floor coverings will also be worse than glue-down cork covering.
Myth number 4: the floating cork is cheaper than its glue-down fellow
And this point is very, very controversial, since there is a rather large variety for the cost of cork flooring in both floating and glue-down version. If it is a good floating cork, then it can be much more expensive than glue-down cork cover of the middle price category. Thus, it is univocally asserting that the floating cork floor coverings – more budgetary variant in comparison with glue-down one, would be, at least reckless!
From the information written above, it can be concluded that the laminate, as a cheaper alternative to other floor coverings, has exhausted itself. The cost of a good quality floating cork floor is commensurate with the cost of flooring such as parquet and glue-down cork. And it’s obvious! Today, the market for finishing materials can make a more profitable acquisition in many respects. For example, glue-down cork will cost no more than a floating, but you will become a happy owner of quality natural floors, possessing all the useful properties of the material from which they are made.
Price of the floating cork
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