What's the Deal with Eco-Friendly Cork Flooring — Remodeling Newburyport, Boston's

What's the Deal with Eco-Friendly Cork Flooring - Remodeling Newburyport, Boston's

Whats the Deal with Eco-Friendly Cork Flooring?

Cork flooring has become quite popular as an eco-friendly alternative in home building and remodeling.  It’s known for its sustainable, natural, and comfortable qualities.  So what’s the real deal on cork?

Cork used in flooring for commercial and residential buildings comes from the bark of cork trees, which naturally shed bark, although cork flooring material is hand-harvested from the trees.  Cork oak trees, found mostly in Southern Europe in Western Mediterranean countries, are protected by harvesting regulations to save the trees, which live for up to 500 years.   Since the tree is not destroyed in the harvesting process and can replenish itself, that means cork is a renewable and sustainable material .

Architects like Frank Lloyd Wright used cork flooring in several of his buildings and it was quite popular in the 1920′s until new materials such as vinyl were developed.  In banks and other older buildings, cork floors remain from the 1920′s and 1930′s, demonstrating just how durable this flooring material is.

Cork Flooring has ‘Pros’ for Remodeling

No wonder cork flooring has made a comeback as the focus has shifted to green products for your home.  If youre considering cork flooring for your Newburyport or North Shore home, here are the aspects of cork flooring we like:

  • It’s an environmentally-friendly flooring choice.
  •  Cork flooring can be used in most rooms in your home.
  •  Cork requires lower maintenance when compared with several other flooring choices.
  •  Since it has cellular structure that results in excellent insulation, cork flooring acts as both a sound barrier and a thermal insulator.
    What's the Deal with Eco-Friendly Cork Flooring - Remodeling Newburyport, Boston's
  •  No worries about mold, mildew, various harmful organisms, because cork is naturally resistant and is high on the list of affordable hypoallergenic flooring options.
  •  Cork flooring has a slightly spongy attribute which makes it more comfortable walking surface than other flooring options such as hardwood; it also stores warmth and is easy on bare feet.
  •  Since its comeback as an eco-friendly option, cork flooring is now available in a wide variety of colors and designs to please any home owner or designer.
  •  Cork flooring is durable, handling repeated foot traffic.
  •  You can add value to your home by using cork flooring.

The ‘Cons’ of Cork Flooring?

Nothing is perfect, including eco-friendly cork flooring:

  •  You can’t put heavy furniture on it for long periods, because cork flooring. even with its ‘bounce-back’ feature, can become permanently marred or indented.  This can be addressed with coasters and other pads to help spread the weight of the heavy objects.
  •  If you’ve got cats or dogs you can expect your cork floors to become scratched from the nails of your pets unless you trim them quite regularly.
  •  Cork flooring can discolor in direct sunlight over time, which means window coverings or using cork out of direct sunlight is important.
  • Even though cork flooring is generally very water resistant, spills have to be addressed quickly so they are not absorbed and don’t stain.  This ‘con’ can be helped (but not completely eliminated) with a polyurethane coating on the cork flooring  planks or tiles.
  • Some experts say cleaning cork flooring is tough because you can’t use wet mopping, while others say a damp wet mop can be used.  It may be that the polyurethane can make the difference, but meanwhile, there are differing opinions on this issue.

Bonus Tips For Cork Flooring

You can find cork flooring in many flooring stores and online, generally in two types :  click together floating cork planks or panels or unfinished cork tiles that generally are 12 by 12″ and can be installed, sanded and finished like a hardwood floor.  Be sure to check the materials in your potential cork flooring, especially if you want a totally green floor, as there is a version with a thin cork coating on top and a composite base.

Still another consideration is the size of the cork granules within the cork flooring tile.  The look of your flooring will differ depending on your choice of small, medium or large granules that make up the tile.  Both the planks and the tiles can be installed in a straight or traditional pattern, or you can create your own ‘cork art’ by mixing it up.  Generally, home cork flooring is 1/4″ thick, while commercial locations go with a sturdier 1/2″.

Aside from natural cork color (similar to what you see on cork bulletin boards), there’s a wide variety of finished cork tiles in both custom (more pricey) and predetermined colors and patterns .  There’s even one style made of cork bottle tops, backed by mesh and filled in with water proof grouting.

For installation, your best bet is a professional, most especially if you are installing glued tiles, custom finish on site, or you don’t have a lot of experience. The same qualities that make cork a great flooring option also make installation more of a challenge.

Cork flooring, like any other, comes in a variety of price ranges. Installation costs depend on the type of room, whether you choose planks or tiles, glue down or floating systems, but are generally similar to that of other flooring choices with comparable types of installation.  Cork does tend to run a bit higher in cost than it’s eco-friendly cousin, bamboo .

Do you have a cork floor or are you inspired to have cork flooring in your home?  Call me for more information on eco-friendly floors.

Leave a Reply