Bamboo and cork flooring have been gaining popularity in recent years, as homeowners and businesses seek out more sustainable and eco-friendly flooring alternatives without any compromises. Both materials are renewable, durable, and versatile, making them excellent options for a wide range of applications.
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What Is Bamboo Flooring?
Bamboo flooring is made from the bamboo plant, which is a type of grass that grows rapidly and can be harvested every five to six years. Bamboo is a highly sustainable and eco-friendly material, as it does not require replanting after harvest and produces significantly more oxygen than trees. It is also extremely durable and resistant to moisture, making it an ideal choice for high-traffic areas and areas prone to moisture, such as bathrooms and kitchens.
Advantages of Bamboo Flooring
Bamboo flooring has several advantages over other types of flooring materials. Some of the key advantages of bamboo flooring are:
- Sustainability: Bamboo is a fast-growing plant that can reach maturity in as little as 3-5 years, making it a highly sustainable resource. Additionally, bamboo can be harvested without causing damage to the plant or its root system, which further enhances its eco-friendliness.
- Durability: Bamboo flooring is highly durable and can withstand heavy foot traffic and wear and tear without showing signs of damage. This is because bamboo has a high-density rating, which makes it harder than many hardwoods.
- Moisture resistance: Bamboo flooring is naturally resistant to moisture, which makes it an excellent choice for areas that are prone to dampness or humidity. Unlike some other types of flooring, bamboo will not warp or buckle when exposed to moisture.
- Versatility: Bamboo flooring is available in a range of colours and finishes, from natural to darker shades, and can be finished in different styles, such as smooth, hand-scraped, or distressed. This makes it a versatile option that can complement a variety of interior design styles.
- Low maintenance: Bamboo flooring is easy to maintain and requires minimal upkeep. Regular sweeping and mopping are usually sufficient to keep bamboo floors looking clean and fresh.
- Allergen-free: Bamboo flooring is a good option for people who suffer from allergies or respiratory issues, as it does not trap dust, pollen, or other allergens.
- Cost-effective: Bamboo flooring is often more affordable than other flooring options, making it an excellent choice for budget-conscious homeowners.
Bamboo Flooring Installation
Here is a closer look at the steps for installing bamboo flooring:
- Bamboo flooring
- Underlay (if required)
- Moisture barrier (if required)
- Measuring tape
- Hammer and nails or a flooring nailer
- Tapping block
- Adhesive (if required)
- Finishing nails
- Trim pieces
Step 1: Prepare the Subfloor
The subfloor must be clean, dry, and level. Remove any carpet, tile, or other flooring material from the subfloor. Sweep the subfloor and fill any holes or gaps with a levelling compound. Make sure the subfloor is level by using a straight edge or level.
Step 2: Acclimate the Bamboo Flooring
The bamboo flooring needs to acclimate to the room it will be installed in for at least 72 hours before installation. Leave the flooring in the room where it will be installed, and let it adjust to the room temperature and humidity.
Step 3: Install the Underlay and Moisture Barrier (if required)
If required by the manufacturer, install the underlay and moisture barrier. The underlay is a thin layer of foam or felt that is laid on top of the subfloor to provide cushioning and sound absorption. The moisture barrier prevents moisture from seeping up from the subfloor and damaging the bamboo flooring.
Step 4: Measure the Room
Measure the length and width of the room to determine the square footage needed. Add an additional 10% to account for waste.
Step 5: Lay the First Row
Lay out the first row of bamboo flooring along the longest wall of the room, making sure to leave a 12-15mm gap between the flooring and the wall to allow for expansion. Use spacers to maintain the gap. Cut the last piece in the row to fit using a saw.
Step 6: Install the Flooring
Start the second row with a piece of bamboo flooring that is 2/3 the length of the first row. Use a tapping block to connect the pieces of flooring together. Continue to install the flooring, making sure to stagger the seams between rows. Use a flooring nailer or adhesive if needed to secure the flooring to the subfloor.
Step 7: Install the Final Row
Cut the last row of bamboo flooring to fit using a saw. Secure the last row to the subfloor.
Step 8: Install the Trim Pieces
Install baseboards, quarter round, or other trim pieces to cover the gap between the flooring and the wall.
Step 9: Clean the Flooring
Clean the flooring with a damp mop and a mild cleaner. Avoid using excess water, as bamboo flooring can warp if it becomes too wet.
Maintenance of Bamboo Flooring
Maintaining bamboo flooring is relatively easy, and it requires little more than regular cleaning to keep it looking great for years to come. Here are some tips for maintaining bamboo flooring:
- Sweep or Vacuum Regularly: Regular sweeping or vacuuming is necessary to keep bamboo flooring clean. Dust and dirt can accumulate on the surface, causing scratches and abrasions.
- Clean Spills Immediately: Clean up spills as soon as possible to prevent damage to the bamboo flooring. Wipe up spills with a clean, damp cloth, and dry the floor immediately.
- Use Protective Pads: Place protective pads under furniture legs and on the bottom of chair legs to prevent scratches and scuffs on the bamboo flooring.
- Avoid High Heels: High heels can damage bamboo flooring, so it is best to avoid wearing them on bamboo floors.
- Use Area Rugs: Place area rugs in high traffic areas or where spills are more likely to occur. This will help protect the bamboo flooring from damage and wear.
- Refinish When Needed: Over time, bamboo flooring may show signs of wear and tear. Refinishing the flooring can help restore it to its original beauty. This is not needed when the bamboo flooring is prefinished.
- Avoid Harsh Chemicals: When cleaning bamboo flooring, avoid using harsh chemicals or abrasive cleaners that can damage the surface. Use a mild cleaning solution and a damp mop to clean the floor.
By following these simple maintenance tips, you can keep your bamboo flooring looking beautiful and in top condition for years to come.
What is Cork Flooring?
Cork flooring, on the other hand, is made from the bark of the cork oak tree, which grows primarily in the Mediterranean region but has been successfully cultivated in certain semi-arid parts of Australia. Like bamboo, cork is a renewable and eco-friendly material, as the cork oak tree can be harvested every nine to twelve years without harming the tree itself. Cork is also naturally resistant to water, mould, and mildew, making it an excellent choice for bathrooms, kitchens, and other areas that may be exposed to moisture.
Advantages of Cork Flooring
Cork flooring has become increasingly popular in recent years due to its unique appearance, durability, and environmental benefits. Here are some key advantages of cork flooring:
- Sustainability: Cork flooring is a highly sustainable and eco-friendly option because it is made from the bark of cork oak trees, which regenerate after harvesting. The harvesting process does not harm the trees, and the bark can be harvested again every 9-10 years.
- Comfort: Cork flooring has a unique cushioning effect that makes it comfortable to walk on and reduces foot fatigue. It also provides thermal insulation, which can help keep your home warm in the winter and cool in the summer.
- Noise Reduction: Cork flooring has excellent sound absorption properties, making it a good choice for apartments or homes with multiple levels. It can help reduce noise transfer between floors and rooms.
- Anti-microbial: Cork flooring has natural anti-microbial properties that help prevent the growth of mould, mildew, and bacteria. This makes it a good choice for people with allergies or respiratory problems.
- Style Options: Cork flooring is available in a wide range of colours and patterns, making it a versatile flooring option that can complement any decor style.
Cork Flooring Installation
Here is a step-by-step guide on how to install cork flooring
- Cork flooring planks
- Cork underlay
- Adhesive glue
- Tape measure
- Utility knife
- Trowel or roller
- Jigsaw or circular saw
- Pull bar
Step 1: Preparation
Ensure that the subfloor is clean, dry, and level. Remove any debris or protrusions from the subfloor. Roll out the cork underlay over the subfloor and cut it to size, leaving a 6mm gap from the wall on all sides. Tape the seams of the underlay with duct tape.
Step 2: Plan and Measure
Determine the direction of the planks, and measure the length and width of the room. Use these measurements to calculate the number of planks required for the installation. Plan the layout of the planks, ensuring that the first row is straight and parallel to the longest wall.
Step 3: Cut the Planks
Using a jigsaw or circular saw, cut the planks to the appropriate length for the first row. Remember to leave the 6mm gap between the planks and the wall. Use a pull bar to connect the planks tightly.
Step 4: Start installing the Planks
Apply adhesive glue to the underside of the planks using a trowel or roller. Insert the spacers between the planks and the wall to ensure the required gap. Install the first row of planks, ensuring they are straight and level.
Step 5: Continue the Installation
Install the subsequent rows of planks, using a pull bar to connect the planks tightly. Alternate the end joints of the planks to create a staggered pattern. Cut the last row of planks to fit using a jigsaw or circular saw.
Step 6: Finishing
Remove the spacers and apply moulding around the perimeter of the room to cover the expansion gap. Use a cork-specific sealant to seal the cork floor to prevent moisture damage.
Maintenance of Cork Flooring
Here is a step-by-step guide on how to install cork flooring
Cork flooring is a natural and durable flooring option, but it requires regular maintenance to keep it looking its best. Here are some tips for maintaining cork flooring:
- Regular Cleaning: Sweep or vacuum the floor regularly to remove dirt and debris. Use a damp mop and a mild cleaner specifically designed for cork floors to clean the floor as needed. Avoid using harsh chemicals, steam cleaners, or excessive water, which can damage the cork.
- Protect from Scratches: Use felt pads on furniture legs to prevent scratches and dents. Avoid wearing high heels or cleats on the cork floor, as they will cause damage.
- Avoid Direct Sunlight: Direct sunlight can cause the cork to fade or discolour over time. Use curtains or blinds to protect the floor from direct sunlight.
- Seal the Floor: Cork floors should be sealed periodically to protect them from moisture and wear and tear. Follow the manufacturer’s instructions for the recommended sealant and frequency of application.
- Repair Damage: Address any damage to the floor promptly. Small scratches or dents can be repaired with a cork repair kit. For larger damage, consider replacing the affected area.
- Manage Humidity: Cork flooring can be sensitive to humidity. Keep the humidity level between 40-60% to prevent the cork from expanding or contracting. Use a dehumidifier or humidifier as needed.
What is the difference between bamboo and cork flooring?
Are bamboo and cork flooring eco-friendly?
Both bamboo and cork flooring are considered eco-friendly options because they are renewable resources. However, the manufacturing process of these materials can still have an impact on the environment, so it’s important to look for products that are sustainably sourced and produced.
Can bamboo and cork flooring be installed in areas with moisture?
Bamboo flooring can be installed in areas with high moisture, but it’s not recommended for areas with standing water. Cork flooring is less moisture-resistant than bamboo flooring and should not be installed in areas with very high humidity levels.
How do I clean and maintain bamboo and cork flooring?
Both bamboo and cork flooring require regular cleaning and maintenance to keep them looking their best. Sweep or vacuum the floors regularly to remove dirt and debris, and use a damp mop and mild cleaner specifically designed for the flooring material. Avoid using harsh chemicals or excessive water, which can damage the flooring. Both types of flooring should be sealed periodically to protect them from wear and tear.
Can I install bamboo or cork flooring myself?
Bamboo and cork flooring can be installed by a skilled DIYer, but it’s recommended to hire a professional installer for the best results. Our installers are some of the best in the business. The installation process requires careful preparation and attention to detail, especially for cork flooring which requires proper subflooring and underlay.
How long do bamboo and cork flooring last?
Bamboo and cork flooring can last for many years with proper care and maintenance. The lifespan of the flooring depends on factors such as the quality of the materials, installation, and usage. On average, bamboo flooring can last up to 25 years while cork flooring can last up to 40 years.
Are there any drawbacks to bamboo and cork flooring?
There are no major drawbacks associated with cork and bamboo flooring. With proper care, they can be made to last for a really long time. Getting the right product and having it installed properly is key to a long-lasting floor and we can help you with both.
Bamboo and cork flooring are eco-friendly and sustainable flooring options that offer many benefits. Bamboo flooring is known for its durability and strength, making it ideal for high-traffic areas. Cork flooring, on the other hand, provides excellent insulation and sound absorption, making it a popular choice for bedrooms, living rooms, and home offices. Both types of flooring require regular maintenance to keep them looking their best, but with proper care, they can last for many years. To put it simply, the many benefits of bamboo and cork flooring make them attractive options for those looking for a uniquely natural and sustainable flooring solution.