Cork flooring offers a resilient alternative to traditional carpet and hardwood floors. A product of trees that can live for 500 years, the material used for cork flooring is actually bark naturally shed every nine to 15 years. Choosing a cork floor can provide benefits and drawbacks. Here are some things to consider when deciding if a cork floor is right for your needs.
First, the Good News
Cork flooring provides and attractive and resilient alternative to traditional flooring materials. It can also be used as sub flooring to provide "spring" beneath hardwood and carpeted floors. When used as a flooring surface, it provides cushion and "give" not provided by less flexible flooring materials, including ceramic tile, hardwood and cement.
Cork flooring is hypoallergenic and resistant to the mould and mildew commonly associated with other types of flooring. Cork flooring is made from the bark of cork oak trees, which is resistant to invasive organisms as a means of protecting the trees This does not mean that cork floors remain 100 per cent problem-free. It is important to follow manufacturer's guidelines for installation and maintenance of your cork flooring.
Versatile and Durable Flooring
If you are looking for attractive flooring that blends with your decor and stands up to a busy household, a cork floor can be a great choice. Available in dozens of natural tones and man-made colours, cork flooring requires little maintenance and is typically more durable than wood. Cork provides more "give" than hardwood, and is warmer to the touch, too.
Cork flooring costs more than linoleum and carpeting, and there are potential issues concerning its use and placement. A significant issue with cork flooring can occur when heavy furniture is placed on it. If you're going to place heavy objects on cork flooring, it is important to use coasters under furniture legs to distribute the weight, or your cork flooring could become indented with imprints from heavy furniture. Similar damage can occur if heavy objects are dropped on cork floors.
You can't use a wet mop to clean cork floors as any water absorption can damage cork flooring. Spills and stains can be cleaned with a damp rag. Cork flooring is typically finished with polyurethane, which protects it from damage, but as with other flooring, removing spills promptly can reduce the possibility of permanent damage.
Cork floors can change colour if exposed to direct sun, and may gradually discolour due to age. When planning how to use cork flooring, consider sunlight exposure. Protecting your cork floor from long hours of strong sunlight can prevent discolouration.