Your cork flooring guide  
 

Cork Flooring
By Gary Ng
Cork has become a very popular choice in the home, providing both durability and comfort. Although a somewhat expensive option when it comes to flooring, cork has many benefits that make it well worth the cost. Cork is harvested from cork trees in several Mediterranean countries, and it can only be harvested once every nine years. This makes the supply of cork very limited, driving up prices worldwide. Cork is comparable in price to ceramic tile. The many advantages of a cork floor, however, make it worthwhile to invest in cork. As the bark of a long lasting tree, cork has natural properties that make it resistant to moisture, insects, and abrasion. Cork is also comprised of over 90% air, allowing it to absorb shocks gently, while also quickly rebounding to its original shape. This property gives cork great resiliency, allowing it to cushion those standing on it while also remaining level. As tree bark, cork is also very resistant to moisture. Unlike a normal hardwood floor that may warp or buckle when exposed to moisture, cork can retain its shape without cracking. Simple maintenance and clean up of spills will

keep cork in prime condition for many years. A cork floor will maintain its beautiful finish for several years, given simple maintenance such as sweeping and mopping. Suberin, a natural compound within cork, repels insects and prevents water damage. The compound is also fire resistant, and does not emit any toxic emissions when burnt. The soft air containing structure of the cork also provides great noise cancellation, absorbing noise instead of reflecting it as hardwood is prone to do. With little maintenance, cork is known to last for many years, as it has in public buildings for a long time. As cork has become more and more popular, the options associated with it have also multiplied. Cork today can be ordered in a wide variety of colors, shades, and patterns. Cork can typically be installed by either gluing down sections, or using interlocking panels called a "floating floor." Interlocking panels are a little more expensive, but you will save on installation costs, as well as improved general durability. Cork is a great alternative to hardwood, and is available today in many affordable models.
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