Although cork has been used as a flooring material for over one hundred years, it’s only recently that it’s become much more popular in North America. This article gives a quick primer on why cork is a great alternative to wood, tile or vinyl flooring.
Corks inner structure of honeycomb-like cells gives it natural sound and heat insulating properties. Each cell houses a pocket of air which gives it elastic and insulating characteristics. This gives cork flooring a soft feel underfoot while eliminating much of the noise created by shoes striking its surface. Because of this, cork is quite often used in commercial buildings such as schools, museums and libraries. That being said, more and more cork is being used in domestic situations such as in kitchens and dining rooms or condominiums and apartments.
Design And Style
Cork flooring has a diverse range of styles that can mimic granite or textured hardwood. It’s available in a wide variety of colours and can even be stained to suit any colour scheme. Cork flooring typically comes in planks similar to engineered hardwood and can be laid down in a similar fashion. Floating floors with patented click and lock systems for ease of installation are widely available as are the traditional adhesive installation varieties.
Cork is an environmentally sustainable material which is sourced from the bark of Cork Oak trees in areas such as Portugal, Italy and Spain. Cork Oaks can live for up to 200 years while the bark stripping process, occurring every nine years, begins after they are 25-30 years old. The cork industry is highly regulated to ensure the protection of the trees. Cork is naturally resistant to fire, insects and mildew while releasing no toxins, even if burned.
Ease Of Maintenance
Cork flooring is typically comprised of a cork underlay, a middle layer composed of high density fibreboard, a veneer and a thin, protective wear layer. Similar to hardwood or vinyl floors, this allows cork to be easily cleaned with a damp mop or a broom. Its natural anti-microbial properties only adds to its ability to remain safe and clean.