Cork flooring is the option many homeowners choose for their bathrooms. Like any type of flooring, cork bathroom flooring has its advantages and disadvantages. Therefore, it is important to be informed of these before you make your buying decision.
Cork bathroom flooring has many pros, such as being water-resistant, durable, and comfortable to walk on. However, it also has a few disadvantages, like getting stained easily and requiring a consistent temperature.
This article covers each of the pros and cons of cork bathroom flooring in detail and goes over how you can take care of the flooring once installed.
Cork Bathroom Flooring Pros
Cork flooring is made of bark from the cork oak trees and has benefits that make it ideal for bathrooms and kitchens. Below are the key benefits of cork bathroom flooring.
Cork is water-resistant. In fact, it is naturally resistant to almost all liquids. That is why the cork used to cap wine bottles never gets soggy. This means that you do not have to worry about water damage to the floor of your bathroom. While cork complements bathrooms and kitchen, it also makes for great underlayment again because it can resist water.
For those who want to have a smaller adverse environmental footprint from their consumption, cork is a great choice. Cork flooring is environmentally friendly because, unlike hardwood, it is obtained without cutting down trees. As mentioned earlier, cork comes from the bark. Stripping the tree does not affect its growth. Cork flooring, therefore, counts as sustainable.
Mold Does Not Grow on Cork Bathroom Flooring
Since cork is water-resistant, it does not create a damp environment where mold thrives. In a bathroom, water is sure to be spilled on the floor, and having a flooring type that gets adversely affected by water (like laminate flooring) may not be a great idea. Cork, on the other hand, is safe for areas that get constantly wet.
Comfortable to Walk On
While many flooring options can create a water-friendly space in your bathroom, cork is ideal because it is relatively softer. This makes cork easier to walk on and harder to slip on. Both of these are important for different reasons. Obviously, you do not want the floor of your bathroom to get too slippery. You may also want the floor to be softer so that it is accomodating for those with joint pains.
It might surprise the average consumer that despite being soft, cork floors are very durable. The average expectancy of cork floors is over a decade. Even after ten years, the flooring is mostly only affected by fading and can be fixed. It is important for a bathroom floor to be durable because of how often bathrooms are used. It is not convenient to have bathrooms closed for repairs too often.
Another reason cork can be a good flooring choice is its conduciveness to being dyed. Whether it is to cover up staining or because of fading, one can easily dye a cork floor to look fresh. More importantly, it is good to know that when you wish to change your bathroom’s appearance, you are not obliged to uproot the flooring.
By simply choosing the right dye, you can change the look of your bathroom flooring in a few hours. It allows for novelty without a lot of effort.
Cork Bathroom Flooring Cons
It would be disingenuous to say that cork comes without its disadvantages. Like any flooring options, there are certain downsides to opting for cork bathroom flooring. The main points are listed below so you can arrive at an informed conclusion.
Frequent Temperature Changes Can Affect Cork Bathroom Flooring
If you live in a state with extreme weather (too cold on one day, too hot the next), cork flooring may not have as long of a lifespan for you as it usually does. Cork gets affected by extreme temperatures as well as frequently changing temperatures. Though it is not essential for the temperature to remain at the same degree throughout the year, it should be within the same range.
If you have temperature regulation in your house and you cannot feel the difference in the temperature when in the bathroom, regardless of the time of the day (or the year), this disadvantage does not apply.
They Can Get Stained Easily
Cork is water-resistant, but that comes with a significant downside. If you spill a liquid, the water can evaporate and leave behind a residue (stain).
To keep this property from being a disadvantage to you, make sure you have the right cork floor cleaning solutions at hand. If you spill a colored drink, shower gel, etc., you should clean it up quickly.
They Can Fade if Exposed to Direct Sunlight
While cork is highly durable and can last over a decade, you do not want it exposed to direct sunlight as it causes the floor to fade. Because most bathrooms, for privacy, do not have a lot of direct sunlight exposure, this disadvantage rarely becomes a big problem.
However, if you have sunlight pouring into your bathroom, you should make sure you learn how to dye cork for when the flooring fades in a few years.
How to Clean Cork Flooring
You should clean cork bathroom flooring once a week using a dry mop. On occasion, you may need to clean with water and a cleaning solution. Make sure not to drench the floor in water. Have a bucket of water to which you add a ph-balanced, chemically neutral cleaning solution. You should not use detergents with harsh chemicals like ammonia when cleaning your cork floors.
When you dip the mop in the bucket, make sure you wring it so you do not drench the floor when you use the wet mop. It is ideal for letting cork air dry, but if you find that the liquid is taking too long to evaporate, you can use a towel to soak up the excess water.
Best Floor Cleaners for Cork Floors
As mentioned earlier, one of the disadvantages of cork flooring is that it can get stained easily. Ironically, some of the stains can come from using the wrong cleaning detergent. Below are our recommendations for low-chemical-impact cleaners that are safe for your cork bathroom flooring.
- Better Life Naturally Dirt-Destroying Cleaner – a great choice for cork bathroom flooring because, just like cork, better life cleaning products are also plant-derived and eco-friendly. The cleaning solution is free of harsh chemicals and does not leave streaks. It has over two thousand reviews on Amazon for a reason.
- Zep Neutral pH Floor Cleaner Concentrate – a great value-for-money purchase. It is ph-neutral, as stated in the product title, and is not harsh on cork bathroom flooring. You should not use it directly because it is a concentrate meant to be diluted with water.
- Rejuvenate All Floors Cleaner – great for cleaning a specific spot without having to wet the entire floor. It is ph-neutral like the other options but is not a concentrate. It is a spray that can be directly applied to the dirty area to clean it quickly. With more than one thousand reviews, it is among the best-rated floor cleaning sprays on Amazon.
How to Care for Your Cork Bathroom Flooring
One of the advantages of cork flooring is that it is not high-maintenance. You just have to neutralize the disadvantages mentioned earlier by taking a few precautions. Doing so will add to the longevity of your cork floors. The recommended precautions are listed below.
- Make sure to keep a consistent temperature. Use internal heat regulation to maintain a relatively consistent temperature in the bathroom. Usually, houses have ACs and heaters to regulate the temperature anyway. This step only applies if the temperature in your bathroom changes drastically on a regular basis because of environmental or other factors.
- Let the air circulate. The reason you should let the air circulate, be it through exhaust fans or by opening the door every now and then, is because of humidity. When the air moves freely, the space does not get too humid.
- Avoid scratches. As durable as cork is, no floor is 100% scratch-proof. Exercise caution when choosing footwear for the bathroom floor. It is not likely for people to wear high-heels in the bathroom anyway, but it is worth mentioning that heels can damage the cork flooring. Moreover, if your pets are not declawed, especially cats, you will find scratches on the floor once they are allowed to walk on it.
Cork is durable, environment-friendly, and mold-resistant, which makes the material ideal for bathroom flooring. Because the floor can get wet often, cork provides the right solution as it does not absorb water like other materials. It is also durable as long as one takes the right care of it. Also, taking care of it can neutralize almost all the disadvantages of cork flooring.