More and more homes and business premises are turning to cork for their flooring, and it is fast becoming one of the preferred choices in the flooring industry. Why so?
When the cork is stripped from the cork oak tree, it causes no harm to the tree, so it can continue producing material for many years, very sustainable. Cork flooring can also be made from cork granulate, for example from reusing old wine bottle corks. In addition, cork is naturally insulating, helping to reduce energy use in heating, at the same time keeping bills down. When it breaks down, cork releases no unpleasant chemicals into fragile ecosystems.
Cork is naturally hypoallergenic and antimicrobial, making it ideal for the bathroom or the kitchen where you are most likely to see a build-up of germs. It is a soft material, with plenty of “give”, so it is better for the joints, which is why it is suitable for areas that see heavy traffic. It’s also regularly installed in kids’ playgrounds, where it helps minimise injuries in falls.
Cork has a substance called Suberin inside it, which is a natural mould inhibitor, meaning it’s less likely to rot. It does need to be treated every few years though to maintain its waterproof qualities. It is also fire resistant.
It’s not difficult to lay down, and in fact many flooring specialists are used to dealing with cork. It can be placed over linoleum or wood to save removing them, and can also go underneath ceramic, stone and wood flooring as an additional layer for soundproofing, comfort and warmth. Cork resists very well when placed under heavy furniture, and can go over uneven surfaces.
It’s not all good news with cork though. It can be quite costly, and it is also susceptible to staining unless you protect it well. Also remember that because it is quite soft, if you put or drop something sharp on it, like a knife in the kitchen, you’re likely to puncture it leaving an unsightly hole.