Flooring Options: The Unusual Choice of Cork
Most consumers think of cork in conjunction with wine bottles, not flooring options. In addition, because cork as it is usually seen has a somewhat spongy texture, consumers may not believe that it is going to be durable enough to stand up to the wear and tear that the average floor receives on a daily basis.
Contrary to this perception, however, cork flooring is actually growing in popularity. Consumers are attracted to cork because of its sustainability potential. Since cork bark is harvested by workers who do not damage, let alone chop down, the tree on which it grows, it is truly a product that can be used without harming the environment – flooring that is about as green as possible, in fact.
Cork flooring is also naturally warmer on the feet than is hardwood. This adds to a home’s comfort, as does another aspect of cork: its ability to dampen sound. These features can make cork an ideal choice for children’s bedrooms and basements.
Visually cork can be very interesting, looking like anything from the natural cork it is to taking on a finely mottled appearance more characteristic of granite. Cork can even be manufactured to resemble wood flooring, complete with grain patterns and lines that appear to be the divisions between ‘planks’.
In terms of durability, however, cork is not the equal of wood, and while it can be sanded, it tolerates floor sanding and finishing less readily than do most species of true hardwood.