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iFLOOR Newsletter Article

cork flooring

The Pros And Cons Of Cork Flooring

Most people have never even heard of cork flooring, but in truth, it’s been around for more than a century. It's only recently we're returning to this amazing alternative for our flooring needs, and it’s about time. If you're one of many who want to know more about this intriguing floor, then read on.

Before we talk about how it feels and performs, let’s talk about Mother Nature. She loves cork flooring, because the raw material used to make it is from the bark of the cork tree. The tree isn’t downed for its wood, but nurtured through its entire life cycle and harvested every 7-10 years. It’s a great solution to a very real problem.

Environmental friendliness aside, the first question people usually have about cork flooring is, “Is it as durable as other types of floors?”

It depends. Carpet? Almost without exception. Sheet vinyl? Perhaps. Laminate? Probably not. What cork flooring has is some very unique characteristics that make it something everyone should consider for their homes.

What most first appreciate about cork is the way it feels underfoot. You’ll notice it doesn’t feel as cold as other floors. This is because cork is an insulator filled with tiny little cells that trap air. When you walk across a cork floor, you’re essentially walking on a cushion of air as much as you are a surface, so you won’t feel the cold shock when your bare feet touch down.

Cork flooring also slightly compresses under weight, but has enormous resiliency and will spring back into place. That compression is why cork is great for areas where you might be on your feet for extended periods of time (aka in front of the sink or stove).

It’s this resiliency that also makes cork a sensible choice for families with large pets. The cork will give under their weight as opposed to acting as a rigid force against it. This actually helps reduce the risk of scratching caused by pet claws.

The best cork floors are manufactured using no VOCs (volatile organic compounds) and are one of the best green floors you can buy. Since cork is naturally hypoallergenic, resistant to mold and mildew, and won’t harbor dust and allergens (like carpet), it’s the perfect solution for families with sensitivities to chemicals or that have allergies.

Most of today’s cork is made using a HDF core and wear layer of cork attached to the top. They lock into place using a click system and are great for those willing to tackle a diy flooring installation.

Cork is great for bedrooms, kitchens, playrooms (great for kids), excellent for home gyms and even the main living areas of your home. It’s easy to clean and only takes a swiffer type mop.

The not so good

Cork definitely is not as durable as laminate, most hardwoods, bamboo, etc. Like sheet vinyl, it can gouge if you really try. And like carpet or sheet vinyl, indentations can become permanent if heavy furniture is placed on them for extended periods of time. The simple solution for both of these problems is placing heavy furniture on coasters designed for it.

Although it’s moisture resistant, most people have never even heard of cork flooring, but in truth, it’s been around for more than a century. It's only recently we're returning to this amazing alternative for our flooring needs, and it’s about time. If you're one of many who want to know more about this intriguing floor, then read on.cork isn’t a great choice for full bathrooms or areas like the laundry room. Unless specifically guaranteed by the manufacturer in use for these areas, it’s something you’ll want to avoid.

If not cleaned regularly, dirt and grit will cause wear in high traffic areas. Like anything, the better you maintain it, the longer it lasts. Every floor will look better longer when dirt, grit and dust are regularly removed. These are the things that cause scratches and will cause floors to wear more quickly.

In the end, cork is comfortable, easy to care for, and affordable. A well maintained cork floor could serve a home well for a very long time, and look great while doing it.