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When searching for the perfect new flooring, cork may not be the first thing that comes to a homeowner’s mind, but there are many benefits to using cork over other materials. Cork is a sustainable and renewable natural resource, making cork flooring one of the greenest flooring choices available. Cork flooring is produced from the bark of the cork tree found in the Mediterranean. The tree itself is not harmed during the process, and the bark is ready to be harvested again in a short nine years.
Advantages of Cork Flooring
Cork flooring is amazingly resilient. It can be compressed up to 40 percent and still return to its natural shape rather quickly. The air cells that make up nearly 90 percent of cork bark’s bulk provide a wonderful shock absorbing cushion and insulation. Cork naturally absorbs sound, making it a perfect choice for play rooms or music rooms where acoustics are of the utmost importance.
The Durability of Cork Flooring
Cork is exceeding easy to care for and incredibly durable. While one should take care not to let cork flooring become too wet, it is easily cleaned with a damp mop after sweeping. Cork was first used in commercial type settings because of its durability before it made its way into the residential arena. Because most cork floors are installed as tiles, it is very inexpensive and easy to repair damage should it occur; one need only replace the damaged area rather than the entire floor.
Health and Safety Benefits of Cork Flooring:
- Cork contains a naturally occurring waxy substance called suberin that repels insects, mites, and mold.
- Suberin also protects cork against rotting, even when exposed to moisture for long periods of time. This does not mean, however, that it is ok for cork floors to become and stay wet, just that they won’t rot quickly.
- Cork is fire resistant, but in the event it does burn it will not emit toxic off-gassing.
Design and Style Options with Cork Flooring
Cork is available in a wide array of colors, patterns, and textures; far above and beyond the typical brown or tan of a cork board many envision when they think of cork. Of course, brown is definitely an option but there are beautiful whites such as those seen in the Luminous Poetry collection from Wicanders and even a brilliant black basket-weave pattern available from Wicanders’ Mettalic Audacity collection. The Oporto Plank collection from Design Materials, Inc Cork offer shades from slate to copper with very unique and interesting pattern designs for a truly one of a kind floor.
The New Dimensions collection from US Floors Cork offers several colors and designs one would not expect to find available in cork flooring. One in particular, the Narrow Plank Galicia, very much resembles the bark of a tree, ever so interesting and even more unique. With the right cork flooring product, it is possible to even imitate to look of hardwood floors without the hardness and loudness that comes along with them. Cork flooring is available in both panels and tiles, so homeowners can choose the size that is right for them.