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Your Guide to Cork Flooring

Last Updated Oct 10, 2011 · Written by Jaclyn Fitzgerald

Are you looking for the holy grail of flooring – a material that is comfortable, hygienic, durable, easy to clean and beautiful?  You might think it’s impossible to find but, in fact, cork flooring meets all these requirements!  Here’s what you need to know.  If you want to see some styles of cork flooring for yourself, your local flooring professional can help you choose the newest floor for your home.

What is Cork Flooring?

Cork flooring is flooring that has been made from the bark of the cork oak tree.  The bark is trimmed from the tree around every 9 years or so, and the process of doing this does not harm the tree itself or the surrounding forest, making it a very environmentally friendly product.  Any pigments, varnishes, or adhesives used in cork flooring are generally water based and solvent free; meaning that the flooring does not have any harmful volatile organic compounds (VOCs).

Types of Cork Flooring

There are two main types of cork flooring that you will find – cork tiles and cork floating floors.  Cork tiles come in different sizes and they can be laid anywhere throughout the home. They are laid in the same way as vinyl tiles.  Cork floating floors are similar to their timber counterparts in that real cork is attached to a substrate such as fibreboard and then laid over an existing floor or surface.

Benefits of Cork Flooring

There are several benefits to using cork flooring in the home.  Some of these are:
  • Cork is a soft flooring material, making it comfortable underfoot.  The softness of the material also makes it a good thermal and sound insulator; and you can drop something on the floor without fear of it breaking!  Cork maintains a stable temperature so it is never too hot or cold underfoot.

  • Cork flooring is great for hygiene as it is resistant to insects, and it is also very anti-allergenic.  Cork flooring is also very easy to clean.

  • Cork flooring, in whatever form you choose, is very easy to install, so you can do it yourself if you don’t require professional installation for whatever reason.

  • Cork is a very beautiful material and it creates a beautiful, unique, natural look in the home.

  • Cork is incredibly durable and has a very long lifespan.  If it does become damaged in some way, it can be easily repaired without having to replace or work on the whole floor.

  • A natural waxy substance called Suberin means that cork is naturally fire resistant.
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