When most people think of cork, they imagine the easily gouged, porous material used for bulletin-boards. Worse yet, they assume it’s only as strong as the cork they remove from a wine bottle. Happily, today’s cork flooring is a more durable, quiet and green option than most people believe.
You’ve walked on cork flooring in hotels, libraries, hospitals, schools and museums without ever realizing it. Cork flooring offers unparalleled sound-dampening qualities; muting the otherwise loud click of footsteps you might hear with other hard floors while also offering lower impact on the people walking on it. Those institutions I’ve listed require durability in their high-traffic areas, so you can trust cork flooring to last if you install it and care for it properly.
Cork Flooring is a Green Choice
The harvest of cork is well regulated by the countries who produce it. Portugal alone produces half of the world’s supply, so they carefully monitor that key component in their GDP. Cork production also features almost no impact on the environment, because nothing is wasted in the manufacturing process.
Cork trees are not cut down or destroyed during their harvesting. Instead, the tree is merely stripped of its bark once it reaches the age of 25, and then only every nine to ten years. That practice guarantees forests are not depleted and the trees are not harmed by over-harvesting. Cork trees have a life span of 250 years, making them an excellent resource for the countries who export their products.
The Durability Factor
Cork features an airtight, honeycombed-shaped cell structure which is naturally waterproof. Unlike the more easily dented hardwood flooring, cork will decompress then return to its original shape if compressed, just like the cork in a wine bottle. Cork flooring is often coated with several layers of varnish sealant as well, which helps it to resist scratches, excess moisture or surface damage.
Proper Installation Makes All The Difference
All of the issues I have had to correct with existing cork flooring, were the direct result of improper installation. Usually, someone failed to test moisture content in the room where the cork had been installed. Occasionally, improper/inadequate sanding failed to eliminate imperfections prior to the sealing process. Due to the of the nature of cork, preparation must be done very carefully to avoid damage to the tiles and to ensure lasting durability. With cork flooring, there are a number of factors involved in the installation which amateurs will simply not be aware of.
There are a number of other tricks and techniques which we employ here at Artisan Hardwood Floors, when installing beautiful cork flooring. If you would like to talk with me about the details, by all means contact me at your earliest convenience.
Master Craftsman, Owner