Cork flooring is becoming more and more popular as people strive to live more simply. Cork is practical, versatile and durable. It is also better for your health and the environment than many flooring alternatives. The use of cork in construction is not a new idea, but it is becoming a new trend as people learn more about its benefits.
Derived from the bark of the cork oak tree, cork flooring is eco-friendly. As the tree grows, the bark is harvested again and again without harming the tree itself. Cork is as durable as a hardwood but retains the comfort of a softer material. High-quality cork can withstand heavy furniture, pets and even commercial traffic. The material is resilient and can last longer than hardwood flooring with proper care. Although any flooring material can become scratched, cork can self-seal, which means it is still an option in a household with pets and kids. Because the design of the cork extends throughout the depth of the flooring, wear and tear is less noticeable. The flooring may become discolored in bright sunlight, but so can hardwoods, vinyl and carpeting.
Cork can be used in many rooms of the house. In the kitchen, it provides a shock-absorbing surface that’s kind on the legs and feet. In the living room or bedroom, it provides warmth and insulation. It is warmer than carpeting and has a more unique appearance. Cork can even be used in the bathroom, over concrete and over radiant heating systems.
Healthier than many other flooring materials, cork is a natural product and does not contain chemicals that can off-gas and pollute the indoor air. Unlike carpeting, cork does not absorb toxins that are tracked into the house. It is also hypoallergenic and antimicrobial. Cork resists mold and mildew, making it a beneficial flooring to use in the kitchen or bathroom, where moisture lurks underfoot. One of the disadvantages of cork, however, is that too much moisture can damage the material. When used in kitchens and bathrooms, cork should be properly and substantially sealed.
Cork can be installed as floating planks or tiles that lay directly over the substrate. Floating floors can even be installed over moisture barriers in basements, allowing the flooring to remain protected in a moisture-laden environment. Professionally installed cork flooring can last for decades, provide comfort and even help you save energy, making it a trendy eco-friendly flooring option.