If you’ve ever wished for a floor that’s naturally comfortable, luxuriously soft, easy to care for, soft, warm and quite, yet withstands high levels of foot traffic, cork floors make a great choice. It has the unmatched resiliency and insulating qualities of carpet and exemplifies a luxurious visual, owing to its rich texture and earthy colors. Furthermore, cock is milled from the bark of a tree, making it a natural and renewable resource.
Cork possesses a plethora of green characteristics, and is sourced by stripping most of the outer layer of the cork oak tree. This periodic harvesting does no harm to the tree, which replenishes every 9 years. Cork processing is relatively simple as well, where the sheets of cork are cured, boiled and pressed and the scrap is reused, leaving hardly any waste.
Apart from its environmental benefits, there are a myriad of reasons to choose cork flooring. Cork is water proof just like a cork in a bottle, and is infused with suberin, a natural waxy substance, which makes it mildew and mold resistant. Cork is even flame and impact resistant, and its acoustically insulating properties will eliminate the clatter and thud out of noisy foot traffic. Cork floors can be installed in literally any area of your home including workout areas, bedrooms, living rooms and even wet areas such as saunas and bathrooms.
Cork flooring can be had as floating panels, tap-in-place tongue-and-groove tiles, roll-out sheets and stick-in-place squares. Bob’s Carpet Mart also sells round, small mosaic cork tiles, which are installed just like glass or ceramic mosaics with grout and mastic. Cork is perfectly suited for uneven surfaces owing to its superior elasticity, and can even be fitted as an underlayment for stone, ceramic or wood or right over existing linoleum, wood or similar flooring. Moreover, cork springs back making it especially forgiving for heavy furnishings and foot traffic.
However, there are few factors to consider when shopping for cork flooring starting with the fact that not all cork products are created equal. Some may not have eco-friendly substrates, finishes or binders. To boost resiliency much like linoleum, cork is sometimes blended with PVC (Polyvinyl Chloride). It is best to avoid vinyl combined cork flooring as the manufacturing process generally produces hazardous byproducts, and their disposal often discharges toxins into the environment.
Other factors to consider are the finishes/adhesives, binders and dyes used in the cork manufacturing and installation process. Formaldehyde free cork flooring has next to no VOC’s (volatile organic compounds) hence it a great choice for those looking to preserve the air quality within a home. Another beauty of cork is because it is naturally sourced, no two planks are alike, and some shade and color variation must be expected.
For the best visual experience, it is best to shuffle planks periodically and work from several boxes simultaneously. To minimize fading, always shield cork floors from direct/excessive UV light and sunlight with UV protective windows and drapes. Cork has a ton of performance and environmental benefits, and makes a statement like no other floor in the market.