I love libraries. I love the smell of books. I love seeing antique and collectible books held in air tight glass display cases. And I still love the hunt for a great first edition! In the advent of the digital readers through iPads and Kindles, as well as the direct shipping to your door of any book you ever wanted through Amazon, Barnes and Nobles, Borders, and many more, the love of the library and of actual paper printed books seems to have gone to the wayside. But I wanted to tell you that the largest library in the United States LOVES cork! Only heightening our current love of libraries!
The Library of Congress as well as the Interior Library of the Department of Interior most notably use cork flooring in their designs. The list of cork benefits befitting such public places is obvious due to both the acoustical benefits of cork flooring, and also the hypo-allergenic properties as well. Cork is a natural insulator, both of sound and temperature. A quieter reading room is a happier reading room. The Department of Interior goes into great detail about the art and architecture of its Interior Library. “The original floors of the Reading Room are a checkerboard pattern of light and dark brown cork with marble borders. The Balconies also have their original cork floors with marble borders and bands between sections. Within each section is a cork border and large cork tile.” The images show the beautiful checkerboard display throughout the library as well as the definitive green cork borders. In many of the New York City Public Libraries, conservators have tried to retain the original cork tile flooring from the turn of the century for floor sound insulation.
So, next time you are in your local library, whether your city is large or small, young or old, check out the flooring. You may just find the comfort under your feet holds a wealth of history and is a superb flooring choice. Cork flooring is extremely easy to maintain and will hold up in high traffic areas for many years to come. If you are searching for a flooring solution on your next commercial or residential project, we highly recommend the use of cork floor tiles. You can also add to the enjoyment and beauty of the room by adding cork wall tiles. I am sure we will see sound dampening panels and floor sound insulation popping up in many public establishments in the next few years for further sound absorption and cleanliness.
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 advantages, 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!
Much like cork, our relationship with our clients tend to weather on and pass the test of time as we nurture and try to enrich their lives and their living space. We are a family run business and we consider many of our clients to be part of our cork family.
The Dome of a Home, located on beautiful Pensacola Beach along the Gulf of Mexico in Northwest Florida, is a shining example of our products bringing eco-friendly options, warmth, and sophistication to upscale home décor. Owners, Mark and Val Sigler, wanted to use environmentally friendly products throughout the construction of their home whenever possible. They researched products they believed would promote conservation and serve a multi-purpose in the home. American Cork Products is proud to be one of the products they selected for their one of a kind home in paradise.
The Siglers wanted the warmth and comfort that cork floor tiles provide, while also taking advantage of its insulating properties. “Sound is a major consideration in the dome structure,” said Mark Sigler. “Cork absorbs sound by reducing impact noise.”
With their home being constructed in the heart of Pensacola Beach, a small barrier island, the Siglers were also interested in finding a product that would withstand the elements. Sigler continues, “Our cork flooring was flooded in some areas during Hurricane Ivan. Yet, there was no insane rush to remove the cork flooring because it is naturally anti-microbial, anti-fungal, and resistant to mold and mildew. We just let it dry out, and although a bit warped, we left it in place until we had the time and funds to replace it. Wet carpet has to be removed immediately because of the stench and the medium it provides for rampant mold and mildew growth. After seeing the product perform as touted, I am a huge fan of cork flooring. It is quiet, comfortable, and a perfect floor covering.”
AmCork worked directly with the Siglers in the decisions about style, color, and installation of the cork floor tiles. In the end, both sides were extremely pleased with the results! The house became a work of art, not only for its unique architecture, but also for the cork flooring planks which brought an organically dramatic feel into the home.
Guests of the home, previously on the vacation rental market, were also big fans of the cork tile flooring throughout the home. Greg and Melissa Williams, locals of Pensacola, FL, wanted to make their “stay vacation” a little more unique as they weren’t leaving their hometown. After a little exploration, they booked their vacation adventures to begin and end at the Dome of a Home. Says Melissa Williams, “We vacationed in the Dome of a Home for a week with our daughter who was 8 months old at the time. Needless to say, we were pretty picky about the flooring, as she was still in the crawling stage and on the floor all of the time. We loved the cork floor tiles for the warmth and ‘cushion’ they provided, while also being remarkably easy to clean and maintain for our baby."
We are thrilled to offer such a high quality product that can be appreciated for multiple reasons. We love offering a healthy alternative, not only for the people inside the homes and offices that use our cork tile flooring, but also to the environment.
We are excited to bring you news you can use from the front lines of the world of cork! We look forward to and appreciate your responses and questions! Our primary goal is to give you informative news and information about cork floor tiles and cork wall tiles, and the industry that produces them, while also delving into the eco-friendly world of cork and the beauty it will add to your home and office décor throughout this blog feed.
The benefits of cork within your home or office are overwhelming, which is why the industry has grown by leaps and bounds over the past few decades. Cork flooring tiles and cork wall tiles entertain all walks of life in that they are not only a green product, but they are hypo-allergenic too; and from a sensory point of view, they are dynamically beautiful, adding texture, and a unique style and color to any surface.
AmCork has been in the cork business for quite a long time and has seen many changes both within the cork harvesting industry in Portugal, as well as within the end-user’s decorating needs and styles. They know their business inside and out! At the end of the day, the beauty and enhanced lifestyle that comes from cork easily stands the test of time and will weather on (literally) for decades to come. This re-emerging commerce is finally coming into the spotlight and being recognized for all the aesthetic and clean benefits it provides.
Stay informed on the pros and cons of cork installation, the current cork board decoration ideas, the health benefits, and much, much more. We are excited to begin this adventure with you and look forward to a long relationship with all of our clients. Thank you for allowing us to be a part of your day!