A green flooring choice that offers style and comfort
There’s a reason that cork is becoming the darling of the flooring industry. Between its environmental attractiveness and retro feel, its popularity is soaring.
But this trendy product isn’t just some Johnny-come-lately. Cork has been around for decades, centuries even. And it’s getting its well-deserved due again.
At United Floors in Courtenay, we carry a wide variety of cork flooring options and have seen its appeal increasing in recent years. Not sure what the big deal is? Well, read on and find out.
A primer about cork floors
Not surprisingly, cork is very lightweight. But did you know that it’s low in density, making it one of the softest hard-surface flooring you can buy? Its density is low because it is made up of billions of air-filled cells. Air is sealed in each of the cells insulating from the adjacent cells with a moisture-resistant, waxy substance. So, you are literally walking on air, and, believe us, your joints will thank you! Its unique structure also means it’s a great insulator because it reduces the transmission of sound, vibration and heat. Looking for comfort, quiet and warmth? Cork’s got it!
Cork is also very resilient. Because of those same air cells that help with heat loss, sound absorption and softness, cork can return to its original shape even when exposed to heavy weight and pressure. This is an advantage over hardwood flooring. It is often used in public buildings because of its durability.
Another selling feature is its resistance to rot. A substance called Suberin that naturally occurs in cork makes it resistant to bugs, mold, mites and termites. Also, because of this substance, cork is naturally a fire inhibitor. Should combustion occur, cork doesn’t release any toxic gases.
People with allergies should consider cork flooring because of its naturally hypoallergenic properties. Cork floors are unfriendly to mold, don’t absorb dust and are easy to clean – good news for folks with asthma and respiratory issues!
Can’t get much “greener” than cork flooring
Of course, one of the best things about cork is that it’s an excellent environmentally sound choice for flooring. Better than a renewable resource, it is a harvested resource. Only the bark is harvested from the tree, which isn’t destroyed or damaged when cork is harvested.
There are, in fact, rules and legislation in place that protect the resource. Trees must reach 60 centimetres in circumference before being harvested, and the first harvest from a cork tree can only occur at age 25. Additionally, harvesters must obey “The 9 Year Law” that keeps cork from being harvested any sooner than every nine years.
Who knew? (Well, aside from us . . .)
Cork flooring styles and design
In terms of its look, cork offers plenty of options. Not only does it come in the form of tiles, planks and mosaics, it’s also available in many different patterns. Colours range from natural cork colour to vibrant, bold colours. Manufacturers often “burn” the cork before it’s compressed, which, in combination with varying granule sizes, creates the distinct colours and patterns that make cork such a unique product.
You can even have the beauty of wood, the durability of laminate and the wonderful comfort of cork with a revolutionary product from Torlys called the CorkWood Collection. CorkWood has been engineered to bring you all the best-liked benefits of other floors in a superior, all-inclusive flooring solution. Visit their website or come see us for more info on this spectacular product.
Installation and maintenance of cork floors
Cork comes both unfinished and pre-finished. And it’s also available pre-glued or glueless; some options have tongue and groove so the floor can be floated. Speak with our knowledgeable staff about your circumstances to establish which option is best for you.
In wet areas, like bathrooms and kitchens, most manufacturers recommend a water-based polyurethane sealant. However, because cork reacts to humidity and moisture, you will want to consult with a professional before installing cork flooring in the bathroom.
Maintenance is pretty straight forward. Cork floors should be swept and vacuumed often to avoid the build up of dirt, which can scratch the finish, as will abrasive cleaners and solvents. Spills should be wiped up immediately.
Like many types of flooring, cork will fade if exposed to direct sunlight, so furniture and flooring should be moved periodically to even out the fading from sun and UV exposure.
Mats should be used under chairs with casters to protect the finish from becoming dull. And furniture or chair feet should sit on wide casters to prevent excessive indentation.
All that being said, cork can be repaired if it gets damaged.
As you can see, cork has plenty of up-side. Let our experts help you decide what works best for you and make sure the installation proceeds smoothly.
At United Floors in Courtenay, we carry a huge selection of stylish and affordable flooring options. Come by and let’s discuss all your residential and commercial flooring needs. Or just give us a call at 250-338-5511 to set up your free in-home estimate.
We can help you create the look you want.