Residential Flooring: Cork Flooring
Are you a homeowner in the market for some residential flooring? With all the modern innovations and manufacturing techniques, you’ll have more choices than ever before. Some types of residential flooring include hardwood flooring, engineered hardwood flooring, tile, laminates, carpet, and even concrete. With all these choices, you’re probably having a difficult time deciding on just one – especially when each type of residential flooring has its good points and its bad points, which should be carefully considered before making a final decision. After all, which ever type of residential flooring you choose, you’re going to have to live with it for years.
One type of residential flooring that’s gaining in popularity, but perhaps you haven’t even considered, is cork flooring. Cork flooring is beautiful and versatile, and it has lots of other advantages, too. Read below to learn more about this up-and-coming type of residential flooring.
What is cork flooring?
Cork flooring is made from cork oak trees that grow in Africa and southwestern Europe. When the trees are around the age of 25 years, the bark is stripped from the trees to produce the cork material. This process can be repeated every nine years.
Cork harvesting is considered to be environmentally friendly. Neither the forests nor the trees are injured in the process of harvesting cork. In fact, many cork oak trees live to be 200 years old. Cork is also recycled easily, which makes the material even more eco-friendly.
The main market for cork is the wine-stopper industry. Cork flooring is made from the by-product of that production, so you can feel good about buying cork flooring.
Advantages of cork flooring
Cork flooring has several advantages over other types of residential flooring. For one thing, cork flooring is very light because of its low density. Even though it’s light, cork flooring is very durable because of its honeycomb cellular structure. The same cork flooring has been in place in a Chicago church since 1898. How many types of residential flooring can make a boast like that? And if your cork flooring does get damaged, the damaged spot can be easily replaced without tearing up the entire floor.
Cork flooring is also an excellent insulator, so it can help keep your home cool in the summer and warm in the winter, reducing your energy consumption and your energy bills. Since cork provides sound absorption, cork flooring is especially effective for upstairs rooms. People downstairs won’t be able to hear the footsteps of those walking in upstairs rooms.
Another wonderful asset of cork flooring is its elasticity. It provides more “spring” than other types of residential flooring, so cork flooring is easy on your feet and on your back. In fact, cork flooring has the ability to compress by almost half and then “bounce back” to its original thickness. Even indentions made by high heels and heavy objects will return to their former shape. Most other types of residential flooring can’t make this claim.
Cork naturally contains a waxy substance called “suberin.” The suberin protects the cork from water damage. Suberin plays another important role in cork flooring – it helps protect it from mold, miles, termites, and other bugs and insects. The suberin in cork flooring also makes cork naturally resistant to fires. If and when a cork floor does burn, it doesn’t release any toxic gases.
One of the best things about cork flooring is its easy installation. It goes down quickly and is very easy to work with, so this saves you money on labor costs. If you’re at all handy, cork flooring makes a great do-it-yourself project. It’s probably one of the easiest to lay of all residential flooring.
Types of cork flooring available
If you haven’t seen all the new types of cork flooring, you’ll be surprised at how beautiful and versatile it can be! Cork flooring is available in planks and in more than twenty different sizes of individual tiles. In addition, more than 30 colors of cork flooring are available. Some types of cork flooring are glued down, while other types are pre-glued and require no gluing.
You can create all sorts of neat patterns with cork flooring. These might include plaids, checkerboards, or geometric shapes. Cork flooring can add an amazing amount of interest to any room in your home.
Where to buy cork flooring
You might find a few examples of cork flooring in large home improvement centers, but for the largest and most unique selections, search online. Several companies that produce and sell cork flooring can customize your order by tile or plank size, as well as by color.
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