Corking Good Floors are an Interesting Alternative to Wood says Champion Tile and Marble

Cork flooring is a unique way to make a home look attractive. It is also a good alternative to hardwood floors.

Cork flooring is typically regarded as sustainable flooring and it has the neat ability to offer some terrific benefits to the home owner and the environment. Consider it to be green flooring, if you will,” said Dean Dupre, who runs Champion Tile, a Clearwater Flooring, Tampa Flooring, and tile installation company.

The nice thing about cork is that it is a really terrific alternative to hardwood floors. The cork hails from cork oak trees, typically grown in the Mediterranean. Part of the interesting story about cork oak trees is that the tree is not harvested for 20 years, as that is when its bark is ready to use. It is taken off the tree by hand, so as to not damage the tree.

It will take another nine years for the bark to grow back, and thus goes the cycle of harvesting cork bark. The trees are rarely cut down, unless they are more than 250 years old and past their prime for offering viable bark. This spectacular tree provides benefits to the environment during its life cycle; benefits for the animals and people where it is harvested and for those who make use of its bark in various forms. “If you want a really unique floor, then cork is a good choice for you,” Dupre said.

Cork is actually a better choice for flooring, simply because it does not need to be killed or cut down to harvest, unlike hemp, rattan, jute and bamboo. “Interestingly, hardwood trees take up to 120 years to mature. Cutting them down is a pure shame because replacement and re-growth is a major issue,” Dupre said.

The process to make cork into floor tiles is relatively easy, which also keeps down the expense for the homeowner. Once the bark is off the tree, it is ground up and mixed with low VOC (volatile organic compound) adhesives, then compressed into blocks and cut into flooring tiles. “You will like the fact that the cork flooring looks like hardwood, because it has a natural tan color and also sports a grain – just like hardwood. But its properties are different,” Dupre said.

One of the most outstanding qualities of cork flooring is the way it acts as an acoustic and thermal insulator. Cork makes for nice quiet floors, even if you have the kiddy and critter parade, and yet it is not hard on the feet or pads. It is a great floor to use for high traffic areas, largely because when weight is added to cork, it snaps back into shape when the weight is removed. This elasticity is one of the more endearing facets of choosing cork flooring for your home.

“For those with allergies or asthma, you will love the fact that cork has suberin in it; a substance that makes it anti-microbial and mold and fungus resistant. It also means your floor will be water resistant and fire retardant. The only other choice for flooring with people that need non-allergenic floors is bamboo,” Dupre said.

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