Cork flooring can produce a pleasant and comfortable walking surface. Cork flooring is great choice for childrenâs play areas or commercial spaces where there is a desire for a comfortable walking and standing surface. Suberin, a natural substance in cork, works as a mold inhibitor and prevents cork flooring from rotting. Cork flooring has natural insulation properties and can help reduce heating costs. Cork floors are naturally fire resistant and don't release any toxic gases or chemicals when combusting. It can be a very durable material if properly maintained.
In North America one big setback about cork flooring is its place of origin: Europe.
Cork Flooring Advantages
- Cork extraction process does not harm trees
- Can be used over radiant heat systems
- Cork flooring systems can be installed like regular ceramic or glass mosaic tile
- Can be installed on uneven surfaces
- Can be installed over existing flooring systems such as wood or linoleum
- Excellent material to be used on retrofitted buildings
- Natural insulation material
- Great performance under heavy furnishings
- Can be used as underlayment layer for ceramic, wood or stone
- Superior sound attenuation characteristics
Cork Flooring Disadvantages
Cork flooring systems can offer you some great benefits, but there are also some limitations on its use.
- Some additions to cork floorings can result in a not-so-eco-friendly product
- Limited palette of colors to choose from
- Must be sealed every 5 years to keep its waterproof characteristics
- Can be stained by oil, dirt and spills if not properly protected
- Carbon emissions during cork transportation can offset other benefits
- Sharp objects can punctuate or damage cork flooring surfaces
- Higher costs than traditional flooring materials
Cork Flooring Manufacturers
Here are some of the larger manufacturers and distributors of cork flooring. Under their websites you can find catalogs, colors, material composition, care, maintenance and installation tips.