Of all the eco-friendly flooring options available, cork is one of the most popular. The experts at Floor Coverings International Oahu love cork flooring for its resiliency and comfort underfoot. Below are the cork flooring basics a homeowner should know when considering cork for their Honolulu home.
What is Cork Flooring?
Cork is harvested from the bark of the cork oak tree. Harvesting this bark does not harm the tree and allows it to continue to produce more bark. The cork is then ground down and combined with resin to create a tough and resilient flooring material. Cork floors can be stained different colors, but natural cork flooring has a unique, earthy look of its own.
Cork flooring is sustainable because it is derived from a readily renewable resource. Furthermore, the process of harvesting it doesn’t destroy ecosystems or cause deforestation like the harvesting of hardwood sometimes can. Cork flooring is recyclable, and untreated cork floors are even biodegradable. This cuts back on waste and prevents discarded flooring from entering ecosystems and clogging landfills.
As a product of nature, cork comes with a number of unique advantages. Cork oak trees use their bark for protection against insects, fire, and disease. Due to this, cork flooring is naturally fire and insect resistant. Cork is also naturally antimicrobial and hypoallergenic, making it a great choice for individuals with allergies.
Cork is a naturally porous material full of air pockets. When used as flooring, cork provides a springy and soft surface that is very comfortable underfoot. This resiliency makes cork difficult to dent or scratch. Drop a dish on this floor and chances are it won’t break, as the tiny air bubbles in cork will absorb the shock.
The resin in cork floors makes them durable against scratching, but care must still be taken to avoid damage. Don’t drag heavy furniture across a cork floor, and be sure to sweep away dirt and particles to keep the surface scratch-free. Thankfully, cork is a naturally forgiving material, and scratches tend to “heal” themselves and become unnoticeable.
Like hardwood, cork is subject to expansion and contraction when temperature or moisture changes. However, cork floors are generally more resistant against these changes than hardwood. Proper acclimation, installation, and maintenance can prevent damage from swelling. Sealed cork floors are more resistant to spills, but they should ultimately be kept out of moisture-prone rooms like the bathroom.
Get Started Today
With the proper care, cork can be a great addition to your Honolulu home. Contact Floor Coverings International Oahu today to schedule your free in-home design consultation. We proudly serve Honolulu, Oahu and surrounding areas.
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Photo Credit: APaterson