When many people hear the words cork flooring they think about the popular, natural coloured floors that were found in many homes years ago. Trends often reappear, but the resurgence of interest in cork floors is more to do with innovation and the fact this natural material has qualities that no man made material has been able to match.
Cork is the bark from Cork oak tree which grows only in countries in
South West Europe. Portugal provides 30% of all cork and the harvesting
is strictly regulated. Cork is harvested by hand from trees that must be
25 years old or more and is done so every 9 years. Removing the the bark
is harmless and the tree can continue to live and produce cork for 200
years. For this reason cork is truly the most environmentally friendly
As mentioned above it is innovation and the qualities of the material that have made cork popular again. Cork is a superior flooring material to hardwood as an insulator and for sound absorbing.
Cork is the perfect temperature in cold or warm environments and its sound absorbing qualities provide acoustical excellence. Cork reduces sound transmission so are ‘quiet floors’ that should be high on the list for use in halls, foyers, public spaces, retail, offices, flats and homes where noise from foot fall must be considered.
Cork is elastic meaning it can regain its form after impact from heavy furniture or traffic, this also makes it comfortable under foot and protects the back and joints. Specific cork floors are used in children’s play areas because they can soften impact.
Manufacturers provide a range of colours with abrasive resistant varnishes making them very tough, durable and easy to clean. They have also produced glue less locking systems for quick and easy installation. Cork floors are either installed floating or glued to the sub floor, you should follow manufacturers advice and only use specified adhesives.
One of the most unique products using cork is produced by Wicanders. These floors are perfect for residential or commercial use and are very hard wearing.