Thursday, April 1, 2010

Part 2 in the flooring series

Lets talk about Cork. No, not these little babies that top your wine bottle.
But cork as it relates to flooring. As you know, I have started a small series introducing the different flooring options out there and a bit about them. Today I hope to teach you a bit about cork flooring. 
Lets start with the basics and go on from there.
So what is cork?
Cork is actually the outer bark of a tree, which grows in the Mediterranean. Cork forests are carefully managed. Portugal produces 50% of the worlds cork supply.
The cork oak tree is not destroyed and then replanted but rather the bark is trimmed from the tree every 9 years, leaving the tree and the forest undamaged. Its not unusual to have a 200 year old tree still producing cork bark. Cork flooring is actually made from the waste of the cork wine stopper manufacturing process so cork flooring is a recycled product. Cork bark is still harvested from the tree in a centuries old tradition with hand tools. 

Cork flooring is rapidly gaining recognition as one of the leading alternative types of flooring. Why? Because beside cork being an environmentally sound material,It has a wealth of other natural features that appeal to homeowners. A floor made from cork serves to provide style and class to any home that it is installed in. Many people when they think of cork flooring assume it’s easily damaged and cannot withstand sufficient wear and tear; however the truth is the complete opposite. One of the main characteristics of cork flooring is its ability to resist pressure and impact. Since the cork itself has a honeycomb cellular structure, it can be compressed up to 40% and return back to its original shape. This allows cork flooring to hold-up well to foot traffic and pressure from furniture. However, as with any flooring material you should use furniture pads underneath the legs.
Cork is very good at sound resisting and even muffling noise. Unlike other wood product floors you won’t get any creaks or groans as the wood ages.
Cork is an excellent insulator for heat and air conditioning. Many manufactures even produce cork underlayments for ceramic tiles to increase the insulation capacity of that flooring type. You won’t find any cold feet in the winter months with cork flooring.
Maintaining cork floors is simple and very minimal. Just sweep and mop regularly, you will want to lightly sand every few years and also re-coat the surface with urethane. This also make cork a great option for bathrooms. You can read more about the care of cork flooring by visiting our cork floor maintenance page.
A few negative points: the resilience of cork flooring is also its weakness. There is great risk in permanently damaging your floor with sharp and heavy objects if left on your floor for long periods of time. Items such as furniture and appliances will of course be the culprits so protect your floor by using padding under the pressure points of your heavy necessities. Beware that sunlight also plays hazard to cork flooring. Since cork is a natural product direct sunlight will cause color to fade over time. Age will affect change in color as well.All in all the benefits and beauty far out way the negative points. Cork floors are stunning and until you see them in person it is hard to imagine just how beautiful they are. 


  1. Great going debbie its really nice to read blog about cork flooring and you have describe every technical things about cork flooring.As an Express Home Services expert i appreciate your transparency.

  2. I have loved cork flooring since the first time I ever layed eyes on it! I love the way you post and explain it all.

  3. I am learning so many new things from you Debbie! It makes me want to build a new house:) The cork flooring is gorgeous AS IS my candle that I received yesterday! Thank you my sweet friend for that sweet gift! I love it and I love you!

  4. I like the look, but not sure that I would install it in my home. Hope you have a wonderful EASTER with your family:)


  5. I want a new floor now! Be blessed. Cindy

  6. very interesting! Thank you for sharing that, especially the part about the warm floor in winter:)

  7. Hi Debbie :)

    I love the look of cork flooring! I'm not so sure about having it with 3 furry babies and four kids though LOL

    I just wanted to come by and say thank YOU so much for your sweet comment during my issues.


  8. Wow that was a lesson for me too!

    Thanks for participating in my "secret number" giveaway sorry you didn't was #16...but it was fun.

    Happy Easter!

  9. This looks so pretty, I think it would be nice for bedrooms. I didn't know it was the bark of a tree!

  10. Oh cork...sounds lovely...I never really thought about it for floors. Thanks for this my friend. Happy Easter Weekend.

  11. How cool! I got a vintage "housewife" book at an estate sale last weekend, and one of the decorating sections mentioned cork flooring. I enjoyed reading more about it. :)

  12. Hi Debbie, thanks for stopping by Rook No. 17 from SITS. You have a lovely blog and it was fun reading more about cork flooring. My brother put some cork floors in his flat in the city, and it's the neatest stuff! He's also done some beautiful floors with bamboo. It's amazing what creative people are doing with flooring alternatives.

  13. When I was in college for Interior design I was amazed by cork, and fell in love immediately with it. I wanted to have it in my then home. I though it would be the perfect product to use on my oldest room. I love it still...

  14. Hi my name is jason, my site is
    I was looking to do a link exchange.