The Green Benifits of Cork Flooring
It’s hard to improve on Mother Nature, but cork suppliers are doing just that with new products that offer even greater green benefits for the home today as well as commercial applications. Put simply, cork is nature’s gift to the flooring industry. Long used in commercial applications for its durability, cork is becoming a hot choice for residential use due to its unique health and energy-saving benefits. And, with more people becoming aware of it, more product options are being offered by cork flooring suppliers to meet the growing demand.
Once relegated to the kitchen because of its comfort, warmth and durability,
cork floors are now being installed throughout the whole house as its flooring
uses are being rediscovered. The natural attributes of cork also include comfort
underfoot, fire resistance, insect resilience, anti-microbial properties, and
thermal and acoustical insulation to help reduce power consumption and absorb
Cork is harvested from the bark of cork oak trees — a member of the beech
family — in the Mediterranean, primarily in Portugal. The bark is peeled from
the trees every nine years, a practice that actually helps the tree to thrive.
Trees are not cut down or harmed in any way as they regenerate; it is not
unusual for a 200-year-old tree to continue to produce viable cork.
Today’s cork floors are styled to meet a wide range of decorating needs. The look can be
fine-grained, marbleized or even show a wood grain appearance in various shades
and colors, from light honey to dark walnut. It is also environmentally friendly
from a cleaning perspective and needs only a damp mop — no chemicals. Because
90% of cork’s tissue is a gaseous matter, it makes a great thermal and
acoustical insulator, meaning it is pleasant to the touch with bare feet on a
cold day. Cork’s durability extends to the fact that bugs, mold and even
termites are repelled due to a naturally occurring waxy substance in the
material called Suberin, which also prevents cork from rotting even when
completely submerged under water for long periods of time.
Lastly, cork does not spread flames nor does it release toxic gases during combustion