Saturday, December 17, 2011

Cork Flooring and Tile

With the increasing focus on environmental friendliness more and more people are looking towards natural, renewable materials for their flooring options. One of the most popular choices is cork, which is incredibly eco-friendly and one of the most easily Renewable Resources in the world. It also has a host of wonderful qualities which make it an ideal flooring choice in many situations. So here are some frequently asked questions about cork:

What is Cork?

Cork comes from the outer bark of the cork oak tree, which is indigenous to Portugal, Spain, Italy, Southern France and Northern Africa. This tree is unique in that the outer bark (cork) layer can be stripped off several times in a 200 year lifespan with no harm to the tree, thus providing a steady supply and a completely renewable resource of raw material.

What is so Special About Cork?

Cork is unique in so many ways: it is light, buoyant, compressible and elastic, rot-resistant, fire-resistant (in its natural state), impermeable and yet soft. Yet it is a completely natural material which cannot be emulated by any synthetic material. It is no surprise that it is highly sought after in a variety of applications, in particular stoppers and floats, due to its honeycomb structure, flexible membrane and lightweight properties.

Why is Cork Suitable as Flooring Material?

In many respects, cork is the perfect floor, in particular for families with pets and children:
  • It is soft and warm.
  • It is durable enough to handle wear and tear and heavy traffic. In fact, cork floors are more durable than many other flooring types. One reason is because of its elasticity and its ability to recover well from compression. This means it has the ability to spring back and regain its original size and shape. Having said that, the use of furniture pads is recommended and a polyurethane finish will help protect the cork floor further and make it easier to maintain.
  • It insulates against both temperature and noise: the honeycomb structure of cork provides tiny cell-like compartments which seal bubbles of air; these in turn provide a layer of insulation which means low conductivity for heat, sound and even vibrations. This makes cork one of the best insulating substances in the world.
  • It is easy to clean and maintain and beautiful to look at.
  • Ideal for people with allergies as it does not absorb dust and is also anti-static.
  • It is environmentally-friendly and cost-effective.

Can you use Cork in Kitchens and Bathrooms?

Yes, cork can be used in all rooms and in both residential and commercial settings. In fact, kitchens are one of the most common rooms to install cork floors, in particular because it is comfortable to stand on and very easy to clean. Although cork is absorbent, Surface Spills will not penetrate cork floors and can wiped off, in the same way as any other type of hard flooring. Cork can be used in the Bathrooms and is especially good for providing a warm surface underfoot, compared to tiles. However, if there is likely to be heavy water spillage (e.g. children splashing in the bath), then special precautions are needed during installation to make sure that the room perimeter is caulked before installing the moulding or base boards.

Is it True that Cork Does not Rot?

Yes, cork contains a natural substance called suberin which enables it to be impermeable to gases and liquids. It is therefore also naturally anti-bacterial.

Can you Still have a Choice of Colours with Cork?

Of course – cork can be available in its natural honey tones (and remember, as with all natural products, some variation in shades or texture is normal and part of its inherent beauty) or stained in a variety of colours, from red to green to chocolate to black.

How do I Install Cork?

You can call upon a professional manufacturer and installer or for DIY enthusiasts, cork tiles are easily installed using any water-based contact cement. For cork floating floors, normal carpenter glue will suffice. These types of cork flooring will usually come with detailed manufacturers’ instructions for installation.

Where can I use Cork?

Cork can be used anywhere in the home, from the child’s bedroom to the kitchen, living room to the bathroom. Because it is so abrasive-resistant, anti-allergenic, insulating and resilient as well as being naturally anti-microbial, cork is frequently used in public buildings, such as schools, hospitals, restaurants, hotels, shops and even offices.
Cork has been used since the early 1900's, with Europe having a long history of using this product as flooring while North America and Australia are more recent converts. The popularity of cork has now spread around the world.
Article was taken directly from http://floortalk.wfca.org/
Americarpet sells the floor mentioned in the article, for more information go to www.americarpetfloors.com or visit us at 364 N.E. 167 St. Miami, FL 33162. 3a

Saturday, December 10, 2011

Designing With Stone

If you are in the market for natural stone flooring or counters for your home, this brief compilation of stone factoids is going to be very helpful. Just a little knowledge, before you narrow in on what’s right for you, may point you in the right direction. You’ve all studied the types of rock the earth renders, but it could be you haven’t had need for that information in a long time. So here is a brief refresher.
SEDIMENTARY – Igneous rocks make up the majority of the earth’s crust and are covered by a thin veneer of loose sediment. It’s this loose sediment that gets compacted and cemented together to give us sedimentary stone. Travertine and limestone fall into this category. Natural, unfilled travertine has tiny holes throughout the surface, indicative of sedimentary formations. Both travertine and limestone are very porous and will require continuing maintenance to keep them looking their best. Keep in mind, because they are so porous they are prone to staining so may not be the best choice for countertop applications. For floor applications, Torrean travertine is less porous and gives a more uniform surface texture.
METAMORPHIC – The metamorphics get their name from “meta” (change) and “morph” (form). Any rock can become a metamorphic rock. All that is required is for the rock to be moved into an environment in which the minerals which make up the rock become unstable. Extreme temperature and pressure are the catalysts in forming metamorphic rocks and produce stones with exceptional beauty, such as slate, marble and quartzite.
IGNEOUS – Igneous rocks are crystalline solids which form directly from the cooling of volcanic magma. This is an exothermic process (it loses heat) and involves a change from the liquid to the solid state. The earth is made of igneous rock – at least at the surface, where our planet is exposed to the coldness of space. Granite is an igneous rock and you can tell how near to the earth’s surface (or how deep within the earth) the granite was formed, based on its composition. Smaller particulates in the granite indicate it was formed closer to the surface. Larger particulates are the clue that it was formed deep beneath the earth’s crust. Given the process by which granite is formed, it is an extremely hard stone, second only to diamonds. It does well for countertops or flooring.
The inherent beauty of natural stone is what draws us to it. Every piece of granite is a unique work of art. The unpredictable range of colors in slate makes every installation a masterpiece. Marble transforms surfaces into statements of timeless beauty. I’d say Mother Earth wears a mantle of treasures, and it’s always a privilege for us to have a small piece of that treasure grace our homes.
Article was taken directly from http://floortalk.wfca.org/
Americarpet sells the floor mentioned in the article, for more information go to www.americarpetfloors.com or visit us at 364 N.E. 167 St. Miami, FL 33162. 3a