Walk This Way - The Pros and Cons of Cork
Cork is harvested from the bark of the cork oak tree, quercus suber, which is found native in southwest Europe and northwest Africa. All of the cork distributed by Amcork is harvested from the cork oak trees of Portugal. The cork oak grows to approximately 66 feet in height, although it can become more stunted in its native environment. It also supports a diverse ecosystem. In Portugal, it is home to the Iberian Lynx, an endangered species. The tree’s bark is the only part of the tree to be harvested every 9 to 12 years. The cork tree itself is never felled. The trees live approximately 150-250 years, as the harvesting of the cork oak bark is highly regulated in order to maintain the renewable properties of the tree.
The naturally spongy nature of cork tile flooring allows for it to not only cushion your footsteps, but also absorb heavy foot traffic without showing as much wear as carpet. Along with giving you a little spring in your step, it also is a proven insulator, both of sound and temperature, so your toes can quietly stay cozy as you make that midnight bathroom run on a cold winter’s eve.
From a commercial point of view, the acoustic insulation is a prime choice for cork flooring and cork wall tiles. Restaurants are starting to look to cork for its insulating properties allowing both the noise in the customer area to become absorbed, but also in the kitchens - dropped dishes and glasses have less chance to break with the spongy characteristics of cork!
Its hypoallergenic properties are also overwhelming, making it an excellent choice for those who suffer from allergies. This is true for both the cork flooring planks and the wall tiles. Cork is innately resistant to mold, mildew, and even invasive microorganisms. This also makes cork a prime choice for commercial areas that need to remain sanitary such as hospitals, assisted living homes, doctors’ offices, and much more.
The rainbow selection of colors, patterns, and styles that are found in cork products can be vast, but choice is the name of the game, keeping it as a leading pro in the “pro/con” lists. This color spectrum comes from both man-made and natural designs. Decorators will find high end patterns and dramatic colors, while others looking for a clean palette can find a simple selection that blends seamlessly with an existing décor.
Now we would be remiss to you, our reader and customer, not to mention the few cons of cork, and I do mean few! Cork is naturally resistant to moisture, but if drinks or any liquid is spilled, you must pay close attention to cleaning it up in a timely manner to avoid the eventual absorption by the cork. Also, cork can be sensitive to light. The gorgeous coloring you selected may fade over time if it is installed in a room with full sunlight, though this is typically rare. There is also the cost to consider. While cork may be more expensive per square foot in the beginning with installation costs to consider as well, it will increase the value of your home over the long run. It’s naturally spongy nature can also be put to the test with heavy furniture and sharp objects. While cork is self-healing, we highly suggest that to increase the longevity of your cork flooring, that you use furniture pads to eliminate the possibility of permanent indentation. And, keep the knives away from the flooring as they may accidently gouge a piece upon impact.
Each room should be considered when thinking of installing cork flooring tiles or cork wall tiles. Consider the natural lighting in the room, the furniture to be installed, and how the room will be used in general. Overall, we feel that the pros of cork installation in your home or office far outweigh the cons. The increased value of the property, your own health and the health of our planet surpass anything bad you may find about the product.
If you have any questions about your personal cork needs or cork flooring benefits and disadvantages, please send us your queries or call us toll free at 1-888-955-2675. We would love to talk with you. Until then, uncork your natural design talents and creativity, and let us help you reinvent your home or office and possibly even the way you live!