Cork wallpaper is one of the most environmentally friendly and beautiful materials for wall decoration. They appeared on sale not so long ago, but during this short period they have already become very popular, and all thanks to their uniqueness. They create a special comfort in the room, delighting households with their appearance and performance. What are the main advantages of this type of finish, how to choose the right cork wallpaper, and what you need to know in order to glue them correctly?
Cork wallpaper by its name alone betrays the features of its origin. So, they are based on the bark of the cork tree, which grows in Switzerland, Germany, Italy, Portugal and in many African countries. The bark is crushed and pressed, and then applied to paper or used as an independent material.
Do not confuse cork wallpaper with other types of cork-based wall decoration materials. So, cork panels in thickness reach 3 mm and consist of pressed cork and veneer. Cork rolls are a cross between slabs and wallpaper and are 2mm thick.
Benefits of cork wallpaper
Cork wallpaper is a unique and versatile material, as evidenced by its many advantages:
naturalness and environmental friendliness, because the wallpaper contains either only cork or cork on a paper basis. Such a finishing material can be safely used in children’s rooms and kitchens, because it will not emit any substances harmful to human health;
- such wallpapers do not accumulate static electricity and repel dust, which once again confirms the possibility of their use even in children’s rooms;
soundproofing. Due to its structure, cork wallpaper is able to trap a significant part of the sounds, which is why it is perfect for those who are unlucky with noisy neighbors, and for those who live near busy highways;
thermal insulation: wood itself is a warm coating, and it is also capable of retaining heat and not releasing it into the external environment, maintaining an optimal microclimate;
cork wallpapers do not absorb odors, they are fireproof, so they can even be used in kitchens. Moreover, they even resist the spread of fire;
- the ability to use cork wallpaper even in rooms with a high level of humidity, if there is a wax coating or if you independently varnish the wallpaper;
durability. Cork wallpaper will delight you with its original appearance for a very long time, without succumbing to the influence of moisture and high temperatures. In addition, the coating is resistant to mechanical damage, perfectly repels dust and dirt;
- cork has bactericidal properties, so fungus and mold will not start in it, even though it is a natural organic material;
ease of care;
- pleasant and noble appearance.
Disadvantages of cork wallpaper
Like any other finishing material, cork wallpapers are not without flaws, but there are not so many of them:
although the gluing process is almost the same as installing other types of wallpaper, it will still be a little more difficult to cope with this task, due to their large weight;
- it is necessary to carefully prepare the surface so that it is perfectly flat;
a small assortment of patterns and colors. It is a natural finish and has a very limited range of colors. In principle, this cannot be called a significant drawback, but a small selection of colors and patterns may not satisfy some design ideas;
high price, but it is more than compensated by the durability of the coating;
- cork wallpaper, although it will withstand some mechanical stress, can still be damaged under strong pressure or in contact with a sharp object, so you need to be careful;
- wallpaper that will be used in the bathroom and in the kitchen must be additionally treated with a water-repellent layer.
How to choose cork wallpaper?
In order for cork wallpapers to show their maximum advantages and be durable, it is important to pay attention not only to their gluing, but also to their choice. So, today there are two main types of cork wallpaper on the market:
baseless cork wallpaper. They are made from crushed bark: it is pressed, as a result of which adhesive substances are released, and when exposed to high temperatures, all components stick together. Such a coating is more natural, but also more fragile. It is very difficult to find it today, because it is not in great demand;
paper-based cork wallpaper: in this case, the crushed cork is applied in a thin layer of 1 mm to the paper. Such wallpapers are more durable, and it is much easier to work with them, and if you glue the wallpaper with your own hands, it is better to focus on this type of coating.
In addition, today on sale you can find cork wallpaper on a non-woven base, and non-woven, as you know, largely repeats the properties of paper, only differs in increased strength. That is why this type of finish will be as durable and easy to install as possible. There are also self-adhesive wallpapers that are suitable for mounting on any surface, but they are not often found in hardware stores.
As for the choice of color and pattern, in this case there is no huge assortment, so you have to choose between different natural shades: from dark yellow to brown. In any case, cork wallpaper will bring a feeling of warmth and comfort to the room.
It is important to pay attention to the packaging of the wallpaper, which must be complete. It is good if the manufacturer attaches to its products and installation instructions, which indicates all the nuances of working with a particular coating. It is also necessary to find out if there are appropriate certificates for the products that confirm its quality and safety.
Cork wallpaper is one of the few types of coatings, when choosing which you need to pay special attention to the type of glue. So, for example, PVA glue will be too weak, and liquid nails will be too powerful, and as a result, the coating will be very difficult to dismantle in the future. It is better to choose a special glue for cork wallpaper, or Kelid or Moment glue.
Cork wallpapers are so versatile that they are suitable for finishing almost any room:
in the nursery, they can be used due to their naturalness and environmental friendliness, but, at the same time, small children who like to explore the world around them can damage the coating and spoil its appearance;
- in the living room and bedroom, cork wallpaper will create the proper coziness and relaxing atmosphere;
- they are also great for the hallway, because they are not afraid of moisture, and small scratches that are inevitable in this room will not be noticeable;
- in the bathroom, this coating shows itself perfectly, despite the fact that it is based on natural wood. Cork wallpapers are not affected by moisture, they will not become a place for the development of mold or mildew;
- in the kitchen, cork wallpaper also performs well due to the fact that it does not accumulate odors and dust, is easy to clean, and is not afraid of moisture and fire. True, for the kitchen and bathroom, you must definitely choose wallpaper with a wax coating or varnish them yourself.
How to glue cork wallpaper?
Although gluing cork wallpaper is not the easiest process, with a certain amount of patience, you can handle it yourself. To begin with, you need to bring all the rolls of cork wallpaper into the room where they will be installed for 2-3 days in order to prevent further deformation and shrinkage of the coating.
In addition, the surface must be carefully prepared – it must be perfect. Otherwise, the coating will begin to deform, peel off, and the joints will diverge. That is why it is so important to clean the walls well of old paint and wallpaper, then plaster or putty the surface. After that, the surface is treated with a primer to increase the adhesion between the wall and the wallpaper.
Now we turn to wallpaper cutting: for this it is necessary to measure the height of the walls in the room, but do not forget that at different points it can be different, therefore it is better to take measurements every 30-50 cm. Add 5-15 cm to the result obtained. allowances and start cutting the material. When all strips of wallpaper are cut, they are left on a flat surface and given a little time to lie down and level out.
You can glue wallpaper on walls both vertically and horizontally, depending on the preferences of each and the design idea. Before gluing, it is better to mark the walls in order to ensure an easier installation and, as a result, a high-quality result. From the floor or corner, lay the width of the wallpaper roll, draw a line along the level, then the distance again recedes, draw another line. In this case, the allowances mentioned above must be taken into account.
The glue can be applied both to the walls and to the wallpaper itself, or both there and there immediately, unless otherwise indicated in the instructions. If you purchased self-adhesive wallpaper, then you will not need to cook and apply glue at all, and the procedure for installing the coating is simplified as much as possible. Since cork wallpaper is very heavy, the glue must be of high quality and provide a secure attachment to the wall.
It is better to glue the cork wallpaper together so as not to tear or deform the coating. Each strip is gently but firmly pressed against the wall, ironing with a roller to remove any air bubbles and excess glue. Such wallpaper cannot be wrinkled, because cracks will form.
The gluing is done end-to-end, and the joints of the wallpaper canvases are then rolled with a roller. It is better to cut off the excess wallpaper from the top and bottom with scissors, and not with a knife, and it is not necessary to wait until the coating dries. Excess glue is removed after it hardens, and at the same time use a knife. If air bubbles are formed during gluing, which cannot be removed by rolling with a roller, then try to pierce them with a needle or an awl, and then pour the glue there with a syringe.
Cork wallpaper dries for 2-3 days, and during this time it is necessary to eliminate all drafts, therefore it is better to close windows and doors.
The service life of the coating is at least 10 years, and with proper care – and all 20. So, it is best to cover the wallpaper with varnish after installation, and choose a “breathable” composition. Periodically, it will be necessary to wipe the surface with a damp sponge, but the use of detergents and cleaning agents is strictly prohibited. You can also occasionally vacuum the surface to get rid of the dust. If stains appear, you can use sandpaper.
Although cork wallpaper costs a lot, and the process of their installation requires special attention, it is still an excellent coating that conquers with its naturalness, safety, environmental friendliness, durability and resistance to moisture and fire. In order for all these advantages of wallpaper to be fully manifested, you just need to choose and stick them correctly.