When most people think of the word “cork”, they probably picture the small object that is used to plug a wine bottle. However, what they may not realize is that cork is actually widely used for flooring as well. As the name suggests, cork flooring is manufactured from the bark of the cork oak tree. A unique feature of manufacturing cork is that the entire tree does not have to be cut down in the process. In fact, every nine years, the outside layer of bark on the cork oak tree is hand-harvested. The bark that remains is a protective inner layer that enables the tree to continue to grow and regenerate new bark. For the environmentally conscious homeowner, cork flooring offers a “green” option with a very unique look and feel. The fact that cork flooring is made from a renewable resource is just one of the many reasons it has gained such popularity in the market today. As with all flooring options, there are many things to keep in mind when deciding to install cork flooring in your home. Offered below are a few advantages and disadvantages of this floor type.
Advantages of Cork Flooring
- Eco-friendly Option – As previously mentioned, cork flooring has become extremely popular among environmentally conscious homeowners. Since only the outside layer of bark on the cork oak tree is harvested, the tree does not have to be cut down and is allowed to regenerate and continue to grow.
- Provides A Cushioned Feel – Because cork is made up of millions of air cells, cork floors will have a cushioning feel under your feet. These floors are great for areas in your home like the kitchen where you stand a lot.
- Reduces Noise – Along with making it comfortable to stand on, the air filled structure of cork flooring also reduces noise and vibration. Many of the popular flooring options like wood and tile can actually enhance sound. For example, envision walking on a tile floor with dress shoes that have somewhat of a heel – people can hear you coming from a mile away! However, since a cork floor absorbs noise, the sound of your footsteps would be muffled.
- Hypoallergenic Properties – Cork contains a naturally occurring wax called Suberin, making it hypoallergenic as well as resistant to insects. This type of flooring is perfect for families affected by allergies.
- Versatility – A homeowner who decides to go with cork flooring will find that there are many different colors and textures to choose from. With it’s wide range of colors and patterns, cork flooring can be a very versatile design option.
Disadvantages of Cork Flooring
- Not Resistant To Scratches & Dents – Although cork flooring is known for it’s resiliency and ability to absorb the shock from falling objects, cork floors can easily dent from continuous pressure caused by heavy items like a bed, armoire, or kitchen appliance. To avoid any unsightly indentations, be sure to use coasters under legs offurniture to help distribute the weight. Likewise, high-heeled shoes can quickly dent cork floors and cause unnecessary damage. Therefore, homeowners should try and avoid wearing these shoes in the areas of their home that have cork flooring whenever possible. It is also a good idea to keep pet toenails trimmed to prevent them from scratching the floors.
- Potential For Fading – It is important to consider sunlight exposure when determining where in your home to install cork flooring. When exposed to sunlight, cork has a tendency to fade and become lighter in color. Therefore, rooms that are exposed to long hours of sunlight may not be the best choice for cork floors.
- Busy Pattern Isn’t For Everyone – One feature that can really draw people away from cork flooring is the pattern. With cork floors, all the swirls and knots are very visible – making for a fairly busy pattern. If you’re going for a more sleek and modern design, hardwood may be a better choice for you.
We’re Here To Help
Committing to a flooring surface can be an extremely hard decision. After all, it’s hard to know if you are going to like how it looks in your home without actually seeing it, right? At Universal Hardwood, our goal is to help guide you in your decision making process so that you are 100% satisfied with your end purchase. That is why we offer a free interior design service! This service gives you a FREE opportunity to see your home with the floors of your choice. Our experienced interior designer will use your own photo and show you how a variety of different flooring options will look in your home. Request your free design now!