How to Maintain Cork Flooring

Posted on August 15, 2022

Maintaining cork flooring

Cork floors bring comfort, warmth, quiet, wellness, and natural beauty into commercial buildings and homes alike. But like anything worth preserving, cork also requires a little TLC for optimal performance and longevity. This article explains how to maintain cork flooring, and get the most out of your investment.


Basic Maintenance of Cork Flooring

Prior to installing WE Cork flooring, our installation instructions should be read carefully. Following these instructions during installation will be critical for success. Once installed, the first step of maintaining cork is the same for any other flooring surface: regularly sweep or vacuum to avoid the build up of abrasive material.

Occasionally wiping down the floor with a cleaning solution is also important. For this, we recommend dampening a cloth with Bona Hardwood Floor Cleaner or a comparable quality wood floor cleaner,  and following the instructions on the bottle. As this cleaner is water based, be sure not to allow excessive build-up on the floor. 

Finishing for Wear Protection

Most of WE Cork’s flooring options come coated with three layers of our innovative Greenshield finish. 4x stronger than most UV acrylic finishes on the market, this high-performance urethane finish with aluminum oxide provides long-term wear and scratch resistance. 

WE Cork flooring finished with Greenshield carries a 20 year residential / 5 year limited commercial wear warranty, in addition to its lifetime structural warranty. This guarantees that the surface wear layer will not wear through or separate from the center core. Our Serenity Collection is exceptional in that it has an AC 5 rating, and carries an extended 25 Year residential  / 10 year commercial wear warranty, thanks to its unique hot coating finish. 

For very high traffic commercial or residential applications, a few coats of Bona Traffic (see below) can optionally be applied over WE Cork flooring finished with Greenshield. This one-two punch of wear protection out of the gate can help your floors stand up to even the most demanding scenarios!

Refreshing and Refinishing Cork Floors

As a general rule, we recommend using Bona Wood Floor Refresher to rejuvenate the finish once a year. (Products containing wax should never be used on urethane-finished floors.) How long the finish lasts is directly related to the traffic level and quality of the care. It should last at least a few years, and 5-7 years when well maintained and refreshed.

When the floor eventually shows signs of wear, it will be time to refinish it. A key responsibility of the floor owner will be to recognize the wear. When the time comes, WE Cork recommends first  thoroughly cleaning the cork floor with TSP cleaner. Next, coat it with a water-based urethane. We recommend a Bona Traffic product or a comparable high-quality finish. For tips on roller or T-bar application methods, visit the Bona How-To/Best Practices video playlist.

Taking these steps, and being careful to follow the finish manufacturer’s guidelines, will make the floor look new again and prolong its lifespan!

Preventing Cork Floor Damage

Every cubic inch of cork has more than 200 million completely enclosed air cells, and heavy pressure does not break them down. These tiny air cells actually spring back when the pressure is removed. However, despite cork’s compressibility and resiliency, it’s not impervious to damage. 

To prevent scratching and denting, always place felt gliders under chair and table legs, and protective mats under chairs with rollers. Use mats also at points of concentrated wear, i.e. in front of desks or entrance doors. 

Important things to avoid:

  • Rubber backed or other non-ventilated mats or rugs 
  • Applying tape or other adhesive products directly to the finish
  • Not cleaning up spills immediately
  • Dropping heavy or sharp objects

Repairs and Replacement

Accidents do unfortunately happen. In the unlikely event of damage, here are some tips to follow:

  1. If an object dents the floor, placing a damp, warm cloth on the area should help the cork to recover almost instantly. Just remember not to overdo the dampness, and avoid build up of water.
  2. Nicks, gauges or scratches are easy to repair on cork flooring – similar to hardwood. Be sure to use a reputable touch up kit or wood filler and stain.
  3. If the damage is deemed to be irreparable, and entire planks or tiles need to be replaced, contact WE Cork for inquiries on replacement material.

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