Cork Floor Maintenance
Cork Floor Maintenance
You need only to sweep or vacuum your floor to remove surface grit and dust. A polyurethane sealed floor only needs to be wiped with a damp cloth or mop. Occasionally a mild detergent can be added to the water or simply go ahead and purchase a “neutral cleaner” as your main form of flooring cleaner.
Do NOT use abrasive cleaners. Do NOT wax a cork floor that is finished with water based polyurethane. Use protective pads under furniture legs (known as “furniture coasters”). Be aware that some footwear, such as stiletto heels, can cause indentations in the cork. These are not normally permanent. By applying a hot, damp cloth to such an indentation will help the cork recover in a timely manner (in a few minutes instead of a few days.)
A cork floor requires its polyurethane finish to be “refreshed” every 3-7 years; depending on traffic levels and personal taste. A light buff or “screening” will remove any residue left over from cleaning products as well as provide a prepared surface ready to take the new coat of water based polyurethane.
Sealing your Cork Flooring
Roll the water-based polyurethane onto the tiles with a smooth foam or fine napped roller. Roll in one direction. Be aware that the “wet edge” is only workable for 15- 20 minutes! You must be quick or your finish will be less than perfect.
Wait for the first coat to dry (4-6 hours) before applying the next coat. Apply 2-4 coats (2-3 coats for regular wear areas and 3-4 coats for heavy traffic areas). This process seals the tile joints against possible water and dirt penetration. It also allows the floor to react as a single sheet of cork rather than individual tiles. Once the last coat of polyurethane has dried (after 24 hours) the floor is available for light use = 1person in stocking feet for 5 minutes at a time. Do not place furniture or area rugs during the 5 days of curing.
At this point, your floors may be dry but they are not cured (hardened). The curing process takes up to 4-5 days. During this time it is advisable not to wear any footwear when standing on the floor. You should refrain from placing matting or area rugs down during the curing process. The floor is still vulnerable to indentations that could become permanently imbedded into the polyurethane. If this happens, there is no cure!