Sunday, November 22, 2015

Review: IKEA AVSKILD Place Mat, cork

Spill or drop enough food on your carpet a few too many times and you may start to look for ways to avoid the mess. It was either a chopping board or a cork place mat because I wanted a somewhat easy to clean and a natural material. The HEAT cork trivets I bought years ago were still holding up well so I thought I'd go with cork again.
Ikea AVSKILD Place Mat, Cork
x1 - Ikea AVSKILD Place Mat, cork: US$ 3.99 (CA$ 5.00)

Ikea AVSKILD Place Mat versus HEAT Trivet

The AVSKILD place mats I bought were stacked in packs of four and shrink-wrapped. It should have been as easy as ripping the plastic packaging off but I ran into an annoying problem: bits of cork. A few specks showed up upon opening the bag. Accidentally rubbing the place mats together or hitting the edges with my hands caused a lot more to show up. Did I mention I did this over a dark colored surface so everything was pretty easy to see?

I cleaned the bits of cork up, they were pretty small, in a minute. The main concern is that they'll keep falling off over time. Hoping it was just the loose bits and that I got most of them already.
Ikea AVSKILD Place Mat with Ikea HEAT Trivets, side by side
They appeared to be very flexible. I found that they bent or rolled under their own weight or with just a little force. This didn't appear to cause any damage though.

Expandibility / Customizability
Goes nicely with other cork products?

How was it?
I strategically placed the AVSKILD place mats on a surface, put down thicker HEAT trivets, and then put my dishes on them. They appeared to work?

Seriously, what I wanted was an extra barrier to protect the surface underneath the mat. The AVSKILD cork place mats appeared to fill that role at a fairly low price at CA$ 1.25 a piece. Stacking them in pairs seemed to make them easier to handle. I thought that they were on the thin side. A side by side comparison with HEAT trivets suggested that the AVSKILD place mats were about 1/3 the thickness of the trivets. That made them very light and easy to handle but a bit more flimsy to the touch than I would have liked. However, I haven't had them for very long so don't know how well they'll actually hold up over time.

One thing I did observe were the bits of cork flaking off when I unpackaged the set. Closer inspection suggested that the grains of cork used for the AVSKILD were smaller than those used for the HEAT. I don't recall seeing so many flakes coming off the trivets in the past. Did the larger bits allow for better cohesion due to binding area?

I'm only really concerned about more bits of cork flaking off over time. It probably isn't a big deal, especially if I were to place the mats on a table and forget about them.

For a package of four at CA$ 5.00, they were okay and seemed acceptable. I appreciated the natural material and appearance, but they could have been thicker. At $1.25 a pop, I can afford to regret the purchase.

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