Yeah, that’s right, cork isn’t just for coasters and wine bottles anymore.
Cork flooring is rapidly growing in popularity, primarily because cork is a renewable resource.
Consumers are increasingly concerned with sustainability, and the fact that cork flooring is made from harvesting the bark rather than the entire cork tree, is a pretty big deal.
By purchasing cork flooring, you become part of a group of consumers who are guided by their concisions and their responsibility to the environment.
It’s not a bad group to be in, but of course, there’s a lot more to know about cork flooring than just its sustainability.
The Ins and Outs and Ups and Downs to Having a Cork Floor
The list of cork flooring pros and cons is long, and there are cork flooring reviews that sit on both sides of the fence.
The majority of these positives and negatives all arise because of the cork’s sponge-like texture. It is both – the biggest positive cork has to offer as well as its biggest detractor.
So to know if cork is right for you, here are all the ins and outs of using cork flooring in your home.
Cork Makes for a Comfortable Floor
Cork has a natural give to it. Cork feels comfortable under you feet. It’s warm and cushiony, and it’s great for spaces where you’re on your feet a lot.
Imagine doing all your kitchen duties standing on a slightly spongy floor. You don’t need to get a special supportive mat to ease your muscles. The floor does it all for you.
It’s inviting. People want to walk on your floors, and you will too. It’s a pleasant surprise to step onto a cork floor, and that’s what people tend to love most about them.
Cork Can Be Too Soft at Times
Of course, this cushiony quality has its drawbacks. Because the floor is so soft, heavy objects and large furniture can sink into it over time causing divots. In fact, unless you put your furniture legs on furniture coasters, you may find some of it nearly permanently sunk into the floor.
If you’re thinking of potentially putting down cork sheets in your kitchen, they you have to consider the weight of your kitchen equipment. To avoid damaging the floor, or having a refrigerator that can’t be moved, it is best to put heavy objects on top of a supportive piece of wood like plywood.
You then have to consider if you like the aesthetics of using coasters on your furniture and resting heavier objects on top of plywood. If you’re looking for a more polished aesthetic, cork might not be for you.
Cork is a Natural Insulator
Another positive for the softness of cork is the way that it works as an insulator. That shouldn’t be a surprise considering some of the other places that you see cork used, but you might not know that it applies to both sound and temperature.
Cork floors absorb sound. They actually help to make your home quieter. If you’ve ever had hardwood floors, then you know they do just about the exact opposite.
Hardwood floors reverberate sound. Footsteps, voices, or a dropped utensil, all get their sounds magnified on a hardwood floor. Cork keeps the volume tolerable.
It can also help regulate the temperatures in your home. Because of its insulation capabilities, it can keep rooms warmer in the winter, and cooler in the summer. So not only are you helping the environment by buying renewable resources, but you’re also using less energy.
Cork Floors Can Be Refinished
Anytime a floor can be sanded down and refinished should always be considered a positive. Floors get put through the wringer on a regular basis, and even the toughest ones get worn down. It’s nice to know that you when that happens with cork, you don’t have to replace the entire floor.
Cork Floors Damage Easily
The downside is that they show wear and tear and damage more than other floors – meaning they may need refinished more often, or you’ll have to live with their flaws.
Cork flooring is not only susceptible to marks made by heavy furniture, but it can also be scratched by the claws of your pets, and even by a pair of high heels.
Cork is also susceptible to damage from the elements. Sunlight can fade its surface, and water, or high humidity can warp the floor. If you’re using cork tiles, it can cause the tiles to pop out of place.
Deciding Between Style and Substance
For all these reasons, cork flooring is not for the perfectionist.
If you like your floors neat, tidy, and uniform, then cork will probably not live up to your standards.
If you want something comfortable and comfortably worn that can help the environment at the same time, then cork is worth the investment.