Cork flooring has a variety of characteristics that make it desirable for use in bedroom applications.
Texture: Cork is very soft underfoot and feels similar to stepping on carpet, or cushioning. The thicker the tile or sheet used, the softer it will feel.
Sound Absorbing: Walking across cork, even in heals, doesn’t make any noise so you won’t wake a sleeping partner up. It also tends to insulate a room, keeping ambient noises out and ensuring that the space remains quiet and peaceful.
Eco-Friendly: Cork is a completely natural material which is harvested from the bark of trees known as Cork Oaks (Quercus suber). These trees grow naturally in and around the Mediterranean, and are cultivated specifically for the production of cork. An evergreen species, the extraction of the bark does no harm to the trees, allowing them to be continually harvested each year. That means that cork is a biodegradable, completely renewable product of the earth.
Cork Bedroom Options
Colors: Cork is generally available in its natural colors which range from pale honey to dark brown tones. You can also purchased stained cork in a variety of colors including red, green, blue, and charcoal. The soft natural feel of the colors is especially attractive in a bedroom, as it has an inherently earthy ambiance.
Tile: Cork bedroom flooring is generally available in standard tile sizes. These come in a variety of thicknesses, with thicker tiles being more durable and resistant to wear. Cork tile can be pre-sealed, or can come unsealed allowing you to polish it with wax or primers.
Sheets: Also known as carpet, cork sheets are more difficult to work with than tiles. However they create flooring which is slightly more durable, and which has fewer seems.
Composite Cork: A relatively new material, composite cork is produced by placing a layer of natural cork in between a vinyl back piece, and a cork veneer. The application is sealed with a layer of clear acrylic or vinyl. The result is a material which is more resilient than the natural material, but which is also less soft and texturally attractive.
Installing Cork Bedroom Flooring
Cork needs to be installed on a dry, level surface. Due to the nature of the adhesives, it cannot be laid over underfloor heating systems, which would cause the tiles to curl. Plywood sheets or masonite nailed to the subfloor is often suitable.
Before installation, the material needs to be left in the room for at least forty eight hours to give it time to adjust to the temperature in the space.
Whether in tiles, or in sheets, cork will need to be installed using recommended adhesives. In most cases organic adhesives can be used. As you lay out the material you will not need to leave expansion gaps around the edges of the room.
The cork itself should be relatively easy to cut to size. In some cases the use of a contrasting cork color can make appealing borders of accents.
Care and Maintenance
A bedroom is a low moisture, low traffic environment, so you won’t have to do much to maintain your cork floor. However there are some basic steps that you have to take to keep it looking its best.
After initial installation, a sealing agent needs to be applied to the floor to protect it against stains and moisture. Wait forty eight hours for the adhesive to fully dry, and then apply a coat of either polyurethane, or a polymer sealer to the surface of the floor.
In the case of pre-sealed cork you will only have to apply a single coat, in order to protect the joints between the tiles or sheets. With unsealed cork you will want to apply three or four coats, allowing them to dry in between each application. Unsealed cork flooring can also be polished with wax to give it a shimmering finish.
The most important part of maintaining your cork bedroom flooring is keeping it free of dirt, debris, and small particles. These gritty elements can rub against the seal on top of its surface, wearing it away, and then breaking down the actual material. In order to prevent this you need to regularly sweep and or vacuum your flooring.
It will be necessary to reapply the seal periodically whenever you notice it starting to wear or break down. The frequency of this will vary depending on the traffic level in your bedroom.