Cork is what cork is made of. Specifically, bark from cork trees! Cork oak trees, or Quercus suber, are the source of the bark.
Cork flooring: how is it made? In most cases, waste products from the production of wine corks are ground up, joined with resin, and then pressed into sheets, planks, and tiles.
Cork underlayment – What is it?
You can also find cork underlayment in addition to cork flooring that is solid or engineered. This substance is used to fill the space between your subfloor and the completed surface. You may be wondering what subflooring is. Your finished floor rests atop a base that is often built of concrete, plywood, or material comparable to these.
You may give your preferred flooring all the benefits of cork flooring (but none of the drawbacks) by laying cork sheets below hardwood, stone, or tile.
Benefits of Cork Flooring
Cork floors can reduce your utility costs and are insulating.
Cork’s inherent thermal qualities make it a less expensive option for heating wood floors. The R-Value of cork is 3.0 per inch, making it about as warm as a mid-weight puffy jacket. Translation: Installing radiant floor heating systems doesn’t have to cost a fortune if you want comfortable feet.
Installing Engineered Cork Flooring is Simple
Engineered cork flooring planks frequently have click-lock installation grooves, making them as simple to install as options for DIY wood floors like vinyl and laminate. Additionally, similarly to snap-together tile flooring, click-lock planks can be installed over existing floors since they produce a floating floor.
Most cork is environmentally friendly, biodegradable, and sustainable
One of the greenest flooring options available is cork. Cork oak trees can be harvested every nine or ten years for up to two centuries after maturing for 20 years.
Conversely, it may take decades for hardwood trees to attain maturity. Once they are felled, it’s over. There isn’t ongoing harvesting. In essence, cork is now a very sustainable and environmentally friendly building material.
Cork is Easy on Your Joints because of its Springy Nature
Cork flooring is gentle on your body because of the same small air bubbles that make them so quiet. The hard but spongy nature of cork is kind on your joints.
If you spend a lot of time on your feet, cork is a wise choice because the extra support it provides has been shown to reduce back and joint pain. For people who may be more vulnerable to injury from falls, such as the elderly or the crippled, cork flooring serves as an additional safety measure.
Cork is microbial- and allergy-resistant.
Additionally, cork is made naturally antibacterial and hypoallergenic by Suberin. This material is disgusting to bacteria, tiny insects (like dust mites), mold, mildew, pet dander, and small rodents. Why do we adore it?
Avoid choosing between carpets and laminate if anyone in your household has allergies and choose a cork product instead. Cork offers you comfort and durability without making your asthma or other respiratory conditions worse. Really cool.
The Problems with Cork Flooring
Sunlight can cause cork floors to fade
The tendency for UV damage to cork flooring is one of its most prevalent drawbacks. And it’s true that prolonged exposure to direct sunshine can bleach and yellow cork. This effect is also produced by UV lamps used for skin care, indoor gardening, and disinfection. As a result, cork flooring might not be the greatest option for sunrooms, greenhouses, or tanning beds.
However, this particular drawback of cork flooring can be easily avoided by just buying items with UV-resistant coatings! If you don’t, when you change the space, you can have a patchwork of ghostly furniture.
Large Changes in Relative Humidity Are Not Favored By Cork Flooring
Cork flooring expands and contracts in all directions, unlike hardwood flooring, which only does so in the direction of the grain. Cork floors, therefore, dislike significant fluctuations in humidity.
Cork might not be the best option for flooring if you live in an area with dry winters and wet summers, compared to alternatives like a vinyl plank.
Furthermore, one of the main drawbacks of floating flooring is its vulnerability to humidity, so if you choose cork, you should probably choose a glue-down version.
Not quite as environmentally friendly are engineered cork floors
If you’ve read about the drawbacks of engineered wood, you already know that some of them have to do with environmental friendliness. The same holds true for the drawbacks of cork flooring as well.
Engineered cork is layered with fiberboard and joined with adhesives, as we previously stated. High-density and medium-density fiberboard are the two types that are most frequently utilized in the production of engineered cork. Wood pulp is compressed into sheets of high-density fiberboard by intense pressure. In this technique, adhesives—organic or synthetic—are frequently utilized.
Cork floors can be dented or scratched by blunt or sharp objects.
As we’ve already mentioned, cork is a somewhat trustworthy alternative for flooring that resists scratches. Sharp things can cause gashes, although dents and scratches aren’t a big deal. Even worse, harsh things like large appliances have the potential to pierce the finish and permanently harm the surface. So cork might not be your greatest option if you’re seeking the best wood flooring for dogs.
Glue-Down Installation Can Be Difficult With Cork…
The hardest type of flooring to install is glue-down cork. It can be difficult to think about things like level subfloors and underlayment. Adhesives and varnish can be untidy and hard to work with. Mistakes can sometimes be expensive.
Additionally, expert installation is often expensive (But Worth It)
However, you may pay a little bit extra if you opt for professional installation (which we highly recommend).
Investing in engineered cork flooring is a simple method to avoid this. Engineered cork flooring installation costs are comparable to those of engineered hardwood flooring. The national average is roughly $1000 per 100 square feet, which is marginally more expensive than installing bamboo and marginally less expensive than the normal cost to swap out the carpet for hardwood.