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Residential Flooring: Cork Flooring

Updated on October 17, 2011

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.

Beautiful cork flooring.
Beautiful cork 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.

 

Cork flooring by Globus.
Cork flooring by Globus.

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.

 

Some cork flooring options.
Some cork flooring options.

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.

 

Comments

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    • profile image

      Marisa 

      4 months ago

      Hi are you in Australia? I would like to have a look at the different options. Where would I go to do this?

      Many thanks

    • profile image

      Nick 

      4 years ago

      I am a kitchen diengser. I have customers that have concrete Floors. The objection to a floating floor is the hollow sound that is created from the floating floor. Does this product eliminate that issue? Also, With floating floors in the past we have installed the floor after the kitchen installation to allow the floor to move,. With this Product is that type of installation recommended or could this be installed previous to cabinet installation. Mainly the island.ThanksMark MutzKitchen Concepts and Design.

    • habee profile imageAUTHOR

      Holle Abee 

      8 years ago from Georgia

      Yes, today's cork flooring is beautiful!

    • elf_cash profile image

      elf_cash 

      8 years ago

      Cork flooring has come a long way!

    • habee profile imageAUTHOR

      Holle Abee 

      8 years ago from Georgia

      cork flooring is a great choice, Nancy! thanks for reading!

    • nancy_30 profile image

      nancy_30 

      8 years ago from Georgia

      This sounds like a wonderful type of flooring. I love the fact that no trees are killed in order to make this type of flooring. Thank you for all this interesting information.

    • habee profile imageAUTHOR

      Holle Abee 

      8 years ago from Georgia

      Suzie, cork flooring handles heavy loads well. It compresses then springs back!

    • habee profile imageAUTHOR

      Holle Abee 

      8 years ago from Georgia

      BK, I'm glad you learned a little about cork flooring here!

    • habee profile imageAUTHOR

      Holle Abee 

      8 years ago from Georgia

      Thanks for reading, Sandy!

    • habee profile imageAUTHOR

      Holle Abee 

      8 years ago from Georgia

      Buckie, cork is still being used for wine bottles, especially in Spain and other countries. Cork flooring is usually made of leftovers from that industry, so it's very green!

    • habee profile imageAUTHOR

      Holle Abee 

      8 years ago from Georgia

      Thanks, GL! We're looking at cork flooring for our carport enclosure.

    • habee profile imageAUTHOR

      Holle Abee 

      8 years ago from Georgia

      Hi, Lily! That is some gorgeous cork flooring, huh?

    • habee profile imageAUTHOR

      Holle Abee 

      8 years ago from Georgia

      Hi, HH. I like the springiness of cork flooring!

    • habee profile imageAUTHOR

      Holle Abee 

      8 years ago from Georgia

      Many thanks, ZZ!

    • suziecat7 profile image

      suziecat7 

      8 years ago from Asheville, NC

      I love this flooring. I wonder how it would handle my big dogs?

    • BkCreative profile image

      BkCreative 

      8 years ago from Brooklyn, New York City

      This is so timely as I am in the market - and had no idea there were so many good looking options. I keep thinking of the cork boards of yesteryear that I would tape to my walls - that I could never get off.

      Ok - this looks like a good plan. Thanks a bunch.

    • Sandyspider profile image

      Sandy Mertens 

      8 years ago from Wisconsin, USA

      Cool looking flooring.

    • akirchner profile image

      Audrey Kirchner 

      8 years ago from Washington

      How interesting! Another thing to add to my knowledge base on what to do one of these days for flooring. We went from wood to large tile and here in the land of pumice and volcanic rock, we love it. One of these days though would like to get back to a different flooring, although tile has to be the all-time easiest to clean and is a great cool-down for dogs!

      How does cork stand up to canine big feet? My mom years ago had a cow about cork being used in a house they were contemplating buying because of chemicals that they used to treat it - but that could have been pressboard and she just thought it was cork!

      Is that why they stopped making corks for wine bottles? It is all going into flooring? Super information and well done as always, Holle.

    • G L Strout profile image

      G L Strout 

      8 years ago from Ohio, USA

      Thank you for a timely article. I am planning to put a new floor in our dining room and I had not ever considered this option. Great option.

    • Lily Rose profile image

      Lily Rose 

      8 years ago from A Coast

      I love cork flooring; I think it's such a great idea! I did not know that it came in so many different looks. I love the floor in your first picture!!

    • Hello, hello, profile image

      Hello, hello, 

      8 years ago from London, UK

      Thank you for the information introduction. I heard about it but never really looked into it.

    • zzron profile image

      zzron 

      8 years ago from Houston, TX.

      Awesome info habee, thanks.

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