What You Need to Know About Cork Flooring

If you're looking for earth-friendly flooring, you can't go wrong with cork. 

cork flooringIf you're looking for earth-friendly flooring, you can't go wrong with cork. It's a sustainable, natural product that's native to Spain and Tunisia, and the tree can live and produce new bark for up to 800 years. This material is ready for harvest after 25 years, and the bark grows for new removals every eight to 14 years. It's a new answer to green home improvements that have been in use for ages. 

Benefits of Cork Flooring

This natural product resists cracking and abrasions and furniture legs won't leave imprints because it bounces back. Properly maintained, this flooring can last up to 40 years. And these are only a few of the perks it offers. There are others as well: 

  • Cork is resistant to mildew and insect infestations.
  • It doesn't shed minuscule fibers that add to hidden air pollution inside your home.
  • It's one of the few construction products that's fire-resistant. It requires a high temperature to ignite or to begin to break down by melting. If it burns, it releases less smoke and toxic chemicals than vinyl flooring.
  • Because it's a natural bark product, this material is an insulator that keeps your floors warmer in winter, and it absorbs noises as well, making for a quieter room.

Types of Cork Flooring Finishes

There are two types of finishes used in this type of flooring:

  • Polyurethane and Acrylic Based: This finish is designed to provide maximum durability, scratch resistance, and clarity. It keeps the original beauty for a longer period of time even under the feet of a busy family.
  • Water-Based: This finish is eco-friendly and maintains the original color better, even with light exposure. The extra cost is well worth the investment. 

Installation Basics 

Installing your new cork flooring can be accomplished in an afternoon if plank panels are used. A special tapping block helps lock the pieces into place, and an extra polyurethane finish is sometimes applied to the finished covering. This is an easy do-it-yourself project depending on the material that you choose. If you've never attempted to install flooring, however, you may want to leave this job to the professionals. This type of flooring is low on waste. Similar to the ground-up wood bark that is used in the manufacture of paper, any excess cork particles that accumulate on the production floor are recycled. After they are minced and glued for stability, they are processed into cork bottle stoppers. This makes cork a highly sought-after material for green home builders.