Home and Living thinks you may be surprised at how great a cork floor can be. To that end, we present a little primer to help you decide if its for you.
Cork Flooring 101
Design-savvy Americans know that with cork flooring, a world of possibilities opens up for those looking for a unique, stylish and eco-friendly way to update their living spaces. Cork flooring is the ultimate in ‘eco-chic’ and its style possibilities and eco-benefits are endless. Having long been a staple in many European homes, cork flooring is now becoming more common in the United States because of its exquisite design possibilities, durability, reliability, and eco-friendly features.
• Comforting and Soft Underfoot – Cork flooring is naturally shock absorbent making it easy on the feet especially when you are standing on the floor for extended periods of time in rooms such as the kitchen, play room or family room. Air pockets in cork make the product soft to walk on and helps prevent back and joint pain
• Quiet and Warm – Made up of millions of tiny cellular air pockets, cork flooring acts like an “air cushion”, absorbing sound and vibrations, which make it a perfect choice for music and entertainment rooms. It also helps reduce noise between floors, making it a great feature for condos and apartments. In addition to absorbing sound, the tiny air pockets also buffer against cold, reducing heat loss and bringing a touch of warmth to the heart of any home
• Healthy and Hypoallergenic – Cork is naturally anti-static and hypoallergenic. Because it does not absorb dust, cork floors help protect against allergies and poses no risk to allergy sufferers. Cork is also resistant to mildew, rot and mold. Naturally occurring suberin is the key substance that prevents cork from rotting even when it is completely submerged under water for a long period of time.
• Undeniable Eco-Friendly advantage – Contrary to popular belief, cork is not disappearing. Because cork is only from the outer bark of the cork oak tree, trees are not cut down in the harvesting of cork. The bark is carefully harvested with hand tools once every nine years in a centuries-old tradition, allowing new bark to grow in its place without ever damaging or killing the trees. In fact, it is not unusual to have a 200 year-old tree still producing cork bark. After each harvest, the cork tree fully regenerates its bark, making every tree a renewable source of raw material, allowing North Americans to feel good about choosing cork flooring.
• A Wide Selection of Colors, Designs, and Patterns – The options for cork flooring in North American homes has truly evolved. Designs and patterns range from traditional to modern, in original colors or dyed and add style and creativity to any room. Want the look of marble but can’t stand the coolness? Cork flooring can help achieve that look and many more while remaining warm and pleasant to the touch, even for the bare foot.
• Durable and Resilient – Cork floors have been used in public buildings such as churches and libraries long before people thought to use it in their homes. Because of its unique make-up of millions of tiny cellular air pockets, cork flooring can withstand intense pressure without denting. The tiny air cells in cork do not break down and allow the material to easily spring back to its original structure once the heavy weight is removed, therefore standing up to the test of millions of feet walking on its surface for years.
Information courtesy of: http://realcorkfloors.com/
Take a look at the slideshow for some cork flooring examples.