When I think of cork, I imagine a corkboard or a wine cork with a very consistent texture and design. Little did I know that, with cork, the texture and design possibilities are infinite. I learned this from the cork gallery here at New Living.

So why would I choose to have cork floors? I had heard they were sustainable but I didn’t really understand why, until now. Most cork plantations are located around the Mediterranean in Portugal or Spain. Some of the cork trees were planted 200 years ago and are still producing cork. Cork is sustainable because the cork bark can be harvested every decade and the tree is unharmed.

So why is cork so great?

  • Cork is perfect for spaces where noise is a problem because the cork absorbs sound, unlike wood or concrete floors, which echo sound waves.
  • It’s a sustainable material from a natural resource with a long life span.
  • It comes in many different stains and textures. Variations in cut, pattern, color, and finish give you nearly infinite options.
  • The ability to give a room an edgy or rustic aesthetic
  • An alternative to hard flooring like wood, tile or concrete, that gives people with knee and joint problems a soft, more shock-absorbent floor
  • All cork at New Living uses the lowest possible VOCs: the staining and curing is done during production and any off-gasing is finished before installation

Common concerns

The most common concern about cork is how it reacts to water. It may not be a good option for areas that hold water on the floor for long periods of time but for simple spills there is no problem. A master bath or kitchen is a fine place for cork flooring, but if you are considering using it in a high-traffic guest or children’s bathroom, you may want to consider a non-toxic sealer and extra non-toxic caulk (both available at The Green Painter). Even for areas where consistent moisture is more present floating cork floors are recommended so the planks don’t curve.

Cork flooring is moisture resistant and thermally regulates a room much better than tiling, wood or cement.

Cork is still a great option for homeowners with pets. The cork is designed to give to pressure. Rambunctious dogs and cats can scratch a cork floor like any wood floor. Nonetheless, maintenance treatments can increase the longevity of the floor. Producers suggest the use of felt pads furniture legs to minimize depression in the cork.

Not only do we sell cork flooring at New Living, but we also install it! Our installers will ensure your cork flooring is installed the right way, the green way, and the healthy way; a win-win-win situation.

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