Cork is an absolutely natural flooring material and does not contain any artificial or man-made components in it. It is harvested from the bark of the cork tree, which is an evergreen oak tree widely grown in southwest Europe and northwest Africa. It is considered as environment-friendly because even though it is obtained from tree bark, it does not cause any harm to the tree itself.
This is possible since the outer layers of the bark are extracted without damaging its inner layers. A unique characteristic of this tree is that the extracted portion of its bark grows back quickly, where it is ready for another harvesting in 10-12 years. The usable bark can be derived from a single tree for at least 200 years. Thus we can get an ample supply of this material for years to come.
Facts on Cork Flooring
Cork possesses some amazing qualities that make it a suitable flooring option for homes, libraries, office spaces, and even churches. Some intruing facts about its properties are revealed below.
- The structure of cork is so unique―its cells can trap large quantities of gas or air within it, making it an easily compressible material, that also feels comfortable to tread on, given its soft texture.
- Its resilient quality is impressive, meaning that when it gets compressed, it can regain its original shape once the pressure is released. Let's suppose that cork flooring is subjected to external forces like weight―it doesn't get affected by dents or cracks since the surface is quite unlike tiles or hardwood. This property makes it a highly durable material. In fact, once you install this, it can last for several decades.
- It provides amazing insulation. Again, this property brings up its one-of-a-kind cellular structure. The entrapped air prevents the transmission of hot or cold temperatures from the underlying surface, to the top. Thus, it supplies a subtle, consistent warmth. Moreover, it can absorb noise and vibrations being a reliable insulator of sorts.
- Other wood flooring options tend to attract termites, mold, and mildew, however, insects and fungi do not attack cork flooring. This is because the bark of a cork tree contains a natural waxy substance called suberin, that acts as a protective barrier against infestations.
- Those who suffer from allergies and asthma can safely use cork flooring in their homes, since it is known as a hypoallergenic material that is free from irritants or chemicals. It is also regarded as an antistatic material―it doesn't allow pollen or dust to remain on its surface. Not only does it prevent the growth of mold and mildew, but also has a strong resistance towards harmful bacteria and pests. Thus, it is a good option from a hygiene point of view.
- It is also highly resistant towards fire. More importantly, even when it catches fire, it does not emit any harmful fumes or gases.
- The major drawback of cork flooring is that it cannot be cleaned with regular cleaning products. A specially-designed paste is available in certain markets that can be used, but it requires a lot of time and effort to actually do it.