Learn the Pros and Cons of Cork Flooring
Why Should I Choose Cork?
Cork has been used for centuries as an effective and environmentally sound material.
Cork is a natural thermal and acoustical insulator. It’s immediate cellular structure allows for it to “trap” both sound and temperature from both getting in and out of its contents, whether it is placed on walls, floors or in other materials such as wine bottles.
Cork is a natural repellant for keeping germs away, which makes it a mildew and mold resistant flooring option. It is hypoallergenic, creating a clean environment where placed. Cork flooring can alleviate dust and allergens that stimulate asthma attacks and allergic reactions to environmental triggers.
The cork tree is never felled, meaning it is never cut down from its base. Cork forests and the cork oak itself are guarded by governmental restrictions that disallow deforestation. Only the outer bark of the tree is removed on a rotating basis that allows the outer bark to fully return to its natural state before it is removed again. Cork oaks can live and have cork bark harvested from for over 200 years before they are considered “retired.”
The organic beauty of the harvested cork is evident in our cork flooring products and can add a natural element to any room.
Cork flooring planks are easy to maintain and, with the proper cork floor maintenance, can even outlast their owner. Its finish is highly resistant and its natural cellular structure lends itself to a self-healing process.
The comfort and durability of natural cork flooring is unmatched. Cork naturally cushions your steps, compressing slightly under weight and then returning to its natural state as you walk and pressure is shifted. Continue reading for more pros & cons of cork flooring! Continue reading for more cork flooring pros and cons!
|Tile Flooring: Can be hard on your joints as a constant source of flooring. The lack of cushion with cork can create a jarring effect when walked upon.
|Cork Flooring: Naturally cushions your steps by lightly compressing at the cellular level to support your footsteps in a comfortable manner. It absorbs the shock of each step by cradling your foot.
|Hardwood Flooring: Hardwood flooring can be beautiful, but it can also be easily damaged. Dents and scratches are impossible to remove without refinishing the floors and typically you cannot just refinish one area of the room without affecting the color, leaving it noticeably mismatched.
|Cork Flooring: When properly sealed and protected, cork is typically resistant to damage and easy to maintain. With proper protectants under heavy furniture, cork can withstand many daily hazards. Small punctures can naturally heal themselves.
Hardwood Flooring: Deforestation is a reality with hardwood flooring. Rainforests and many natural habitats are exterminated to produce natural wood flooring.
|Cork Flooring: The cork oak is not cut down. Only the outer bark is removed on a rotational basis and the laws protecting these trees and their natural habitats are highly restrictive. The cork oak forests of the Mediterranean area are home to many endangered animals. These habitats will continue to be protected, thus lending to the extended lifeline of their inhabitants. Each year, new plantations are created to continue to promote the environment.
|Marble Flooring: Marble flooring is beautiful, but it is cold, rigid, and extremely expensive.
|Cork Flooring: Cork can easily imitate the look of marble with natural stains and designs. It does not create a cold environment as it is a natural thermal insulator, keeping the chill from your feet. It also cushions your footsteps and gives a natural spring to your step.
|Hardwood, Marble, and Tile flooring allow allergens to settle on them creating an unhealthy environment without constant cleanup and maintenance.
|Cork flooring is naturally mold and mildew resistant. It is considered hypo-allergenic and promotes a cleaner environment where installed by alleviating the buildup of natural elements that may trigger allergies and asthma attacks.
|Carbon Footprints: Hardwood, tile, and marble elements are removed from the environment with mechanical precision. This increases the carbon footprint of each industry in addition to shipping the product to its desired location. The amount of carbon absorbed by these materials from the air is not as highly measurable as cork.
Cork is a global warming combatant. A harvested cork oak, where the bark has been removed on a ritual basis, can absorb up to 5 times more carbon that an untouched cork oak. A recent study indicated that Portuguese cork forests can absorb 4.8 million tons of carbon annually. Furthermore, it has been estimated that the Mediterranean cork forests on the whole can absorb 14 million tons of carbon each year. This means it is cleaning the air and creating a better environment because of the constant harvest and regenerating nature of the product. Also, cork is typically harvested by hand with small handheld axes to precisely remove only the outer bark of each tree. It is generally “walked out” of the forests to collection areas where it is then taken en masse to finishing factories.
|Carpet Flooring: Carpet can easily show signs of wear and tear in high traffic areas. It easily retains allergens and allows for dust and dirt buildup within its fibers creating an allergenic nightmare for many. The cost is lower than cork, but it must be maintained and replaced much more frequently, even when well maintained.
Cork Flooring: Cork is a natural allergen resistant material creating a hypo-allergenic environment. It is ideal for healthcare settings and in homes for those who suffer from allergies and asthma attacks. It Is estimated that up to 40% of the worldwide population suffer from sensitization to foreign particles and proteins in the environment causing respiratory allergies.
Cons of cork:
- If not properly sealed with flooring finish or quickly cleaned, cork can easily absorb moisture from spills and leakage. Cork must be protected from these types of incidents to maintain its natural beauty.
- Cork flooring planks may also be sensitive to light when installed in bright rooms or directly abutted to open windows and glass doors. While general, every day light should not cause discoloration in our products, these areas must be protected from direct and constant sunlight.
- Cost: While cork is less expensive than some materials, it can be on the higher end of the product scale in the beginning. However, the durability and longevity of cork flooring outweighs its cost in the long run.
- While cork is a naturally self-healing material, we advise our customers to protect it from long term wear with furniture pads under heavy objects that can alleviate the direct weight and keep scratches from occurring when furniture is moved over the flooring product.