October 11, 2008

Cork Flooring

. October 11, 2008

One great rapidly renewable material is cork. Cork comes from the bark of the cork tree. The bark grows back in about nine years, and trees can live for hundreds of years.

Cork flooring is acutually made from the waste of the cork wine stopper manufacturing process so cork flooring is a recycled product. All pigments, varnishes and adhesives used in producing cork tiles are water-based, solvent-free and have no VOCs.

Some great qualities of cork include the following.

Softness: The first thing most people notice about cork is how soft it feels underfoot. Soft enough that your back, hips and knees feel better after standing on your feet for long periods of time but yet it doesn't feel spongy. Cork's cellular structure is made up of millions of tiny, sealed air-like pockets which provides many of the benefits of cork. This provides the soft feel underfoot.

Resiliency: Heavy pressure does not break down or destroy the tiny air cells that are unique to cork, pressure only compresses the air within the cells. The cork begins to spring back when the pressure is removed. This resiliency allows the cork to give under pressure while still maintaining its beauty and finish. In your home this means that if you make a dent in a cork floor, over a short period of time the dent will disappear unlike hardwood flooring which maintains a permanent dent.

Resistance To Moisture And Liquid Penetration: While natural cork is not completely impervious to moisture penetration, its cellular structure gives it a high resistance to penetration by water. Cork tiles are coated with a premium water-based finish and are highly resistant to stains or water damage. So yes, you can install cork tiles in the kitchen or bathroom.

Thermal Insulation: The minutely divided air spaces within cork make it one of the most efficient non-conductors of heat/cold. The unique cell construction of cork provides this property. Additionally, cork maintains a warm temperature in your home. Therefore a cork floor will always feel warmer to the touch than stone, ceramic, vinyl or even hardwood floors. Test have proven this.

Acoustical Insulation And Impact Noise Resistance: Cork, with its 200 million air cells per cubic inch; of which 60% is air, essentially acts as an "air cushion", absorbing vibrations and direct impacts. This means cork is great for music rooms, recording studios, and entertainment rooms. You should consider cork for your floor, walls or ceiling if you have high ceilings and wide expanses of hard surfaces. Cork will help to muffle the sound or noise in these situations.

Anti-Allergenic: Bugs, mold, mites and even termites are repelled by cork due to a naturally occurring waxy substance in cork called Suberin. So if you've removed all your carpeting and installed hard but cold surfaces in your home due to allergies, now you can consider warm, soft cork. Suberin also prevents cork from rotting even when completely submerged under water for long periods of time.

Here are some photos of cork flooring:




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