Cork Flooring 101 – Part One

By administrator On April 2nd, 2013

Cork flooring offers two cool advantages – aesthetics and comfort. It’s easy on the feet and shins and kids taking a tumble on cork flooring are not likely to suffer any injuries.

Yes, the humble cork used to cap wine bottles and inside balls makes an excellent flooring material; one that has been used for more than a hundred years.  It is a wonderful sound insulator and has found favor as a flooring material in libraries and churches. No reason why you can’t use it in your kitchen though.

Cork is considered an environment friendly and sustainable flooring option; over the past few years there has been a surge in the interest in this material as a flooring option. Given that these are slightly expensive flooring options, you may wish to install cork flooring in your den or kitchen – areas with smaller floors to cover.

Cork is harvested from the cork oak trees every nine years; it is the bark from the tree. Portugal is one of the world’s major producers of cork.  Spain, Algeria, Tunisia, Morocco are other known producers of cork.

The first priority or preference is cork stoppers  for wine bottles.  What remains is known as post industrial waste and can be used for a number of purposes, flooring being one of them.  Leftover cork is ground and pulverised, boiled and then with the help of adhesive resins,  it is rolled into sheets. You can get a number of design options with cork. You can choose from up to forty colors. Cork can cost between $ 4 – $ 8 per square foot depending upon the quality of the material and design pattern selected.

It is interesting to note that some cork planks carry fiberboard within them for added sturdiness.  The cushioning effect of cork comes from the structure of cork bark cells that have air or gas trapped within them.  It is possible to compress cork up to 40% and with its elastic behaviour, it quickly regains its original shape and size.  This makes it well-suited for flooring purposes.

Let’s take a quick look at what the benefits of cork flooring are –

  • Natural shock absorbance because of the trapped air between cells
  • Appears beautiful and is very different
  • Sound absorbance and noise reduction
  • Very durable and easy to maintain

 

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