The biggest question still holds true in most people's minds when they think of cork flooring. Can a piece of cork really last as long on the ground? The answer is yes. Your cork wood flooring is just as durable as other flooring alternatives. Some cork floorings, like Ipocork by Amorim, are finished with up to 6 layers of wear resistant technology.
Not only is it highly durable, cork has been known to be a great insulator for heat, sound and moisture. Cork bark is made up of a tiny sealed cellular structure, which contains 90% air. With about 40 million of these cells per cubic centimeter, they provide resiliency and insulation. As you can imagine, cork can be compressed and quickly returns to its original shape, making it a remarkably forgiving flooring material.
The comfort of cork should not be overlooked. The air trapped in the structure of cork flooring provides great support for your feet, making it an ideal product for rooms in which you spend the most time in. Cork contains a natural substance called Suberin, which repels insects, mold and is even fire resistant. Not to worry though, Suberin is completely safe for children and animals.
It wouldn't do it justice to talk about cork without talking about all the environmental benefits that come along with this green product. The reason cork is considered an eco-friendly flooring is because it is a highly renewable resource. Cork oak trees do not need to be savaged to harvest the cork from them. The tree bark is removed, leaving the rest of the tree fully intact.
The bark from cork oak trees can be harvested every 9-12 years for a total of more than 20 times during its natural lifespan. Most cork comes from the Mediterranean, specifically Portugal, which supplies over 70% of the cork production in the world. After the bark is harvested and ground up, it is bound with a non-toxic resin and baked in large sheets and different patterns. This process produces the natural beauty we see in our cork floors.
All these benefits must cost a fortune, right? Fortunately, that's not the case. Cork, being a renewable resource, is relatively affordable. As of 2011, the average price for cork flooring is less than most hardwood species and comparable to bamboo.
Cork flooring comes in glue down or floating. Glue down installation results in lower material costs but higher installation costs. Where as the more common form, floating installation results in lower over all costs and is easier to install. As a result, most cork comes in a click and lock flooring system, making it ideal for the do-it-yourselfer. If you were to hire an installer, hours are typically shortened due to the short preparation time.
Another huge benefit of having a click and lock system floating flooring is the ability to replace certain pieces without damaging the surrounding area. Dishwasher floods are not something anyone can prepare for but the damage just doesn't seem as severe when it is a matter of replacing a few pieces.
Now that you know what all the hype is about, Unique Wood Floors hopes you'll keep cork in mind for your next project.