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Cork Flooring Is Unique and Durable

Mar 28, 2008
Cork makes for a really great bottle stopper right? Cork also makes a great floor covering option and many of us have been walking on cork floors for years probably without knowing it. Modern cork flooring can be a beautiful choice for your home or business and cork flooring has some important advantages over other types of floor coverings such as carpet or vinyl.

All cork comes from the cork tree and is grown in several Mediterranean countries with Portugal being the worlds largest exporter of cork. The tree itself is not harvested but rather the bark is removed and the process of producing cork products begins after prime cork has been punched out. After being harvested the prime cork is used in the production of bottle stoppers. The balance of the harvested bark if ground up and processed into sheets in a way that creates very little waste. The renewable nature of cork bark, which is harvested every ten years or so, makes cork an excellent choice for homeowners and builders looking for ways to use environmentally friendly materials in construction and furnishings.

Cork flooring is comfortable to walk on and offers a great deal of resilience, recovering from compression from things like chair legs and shoe heels. The unique color and patterns found in cork flooring is quite different from other types of flooring covering. Color and pattern styles can vary from nearly solid color to beautiful burl wood patterns that can be adapted to any home decor.

Natural cork flooring is not the same as cork composite products which are manufactured by combining cork with PVC or polyvinylchloride. Even though the ground cork is bound together with various polymers, modern cork flooring is not known outgas like other types of flooring material like carpet or vinyl. Out gassing is the process where chemical vapors are released into the surrounding air, in this case the air inside your home. Out gassing can be a significant source of indoor air pollution and has been tightly regulated in states like California. Cork is naturally water resistant and that property extends to its use as a flooring material, but as with any flooring material, cork can withstand only so much contact with moisture and cork flooring is recommended for on grade or above grade applications.

Cork flooring has been around for almost one hundred years and like many types of wood floor coverings, modern cork flooring has become easier to install. As with engineered hardwood flooring, cork flooring can be purchased in pre finished planks and can be installed directly to the sub floor or installed as a floating floor. Cork flooring can be purchased unfinished and finished after installation. Cork flooring can even be used as part of in floor radiant heat systems. Special preparation and installation techniques may be required and it is advisable to consult a professional installer or your local carpeting retailer to make sure that your installation goes smoothly. Properly installed and maintained, your cork floor can last for years, rivaling the wear properties of many hardwoods, with some manufacturers offering 25 year warranties.

Cork flooring can be the perfect combination of durability, resilience and beauty. In addition to these qualities, cork is without a doubt, extremely friendly to the environment as the harvesting of cork bark is controlled in most of the countries where the trees are grown and cork flooring can give your home the beauty of wood without the need to harvest old growth hardwood trees. So whether you are building a new home or redecorating your existing home, consider cork flooring.
About the Author
Mitch Endick is a staff writer for the quality online store FineWebStores.com.
Shop for Area Rugs and Bamboo Rugs for your home or office. Please visit FineWebStores.com today.
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