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Cork flooring spotlight

Cork is a versatile material used in lots of different products, from bottle stoppers to baseballs, and – yes – flooring. It’s resilient, retains heat, and has both sound mitigating and anti-microbial properties – a.k.a., it’s quiet and clean!

Cork floors have been around for over 100 years, and have seen an uptick in popularity thanks to improved visuals and its reputation as a green flooring option. If you’re curious to learn more about this sustainable, springy floor, read on!

What is it?

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Harvested from the bark of the cork oak tree, cork isn’t exactly hardwood, though it is a natural product made from tree parts. It’s harvested every nine years, usually in the Mediterranean. The floors are made from the bark that’s left over from the wine bottle cork-making process.

Why you’ll like it

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It’s comfy: Cork is springy and resilient, making it a pretty comfortable floor. It would be a great choice for kitchens, especially if you spend a lot of time on your feet cooking and entertaining. Its resilient nature also means dropped objects like glasses or bowls are less likely to break on impact. It’s also a good choice for children’s rooms, especially if you have toddlers who are just learning to walk, or home gyms.

It’s a great insulator: Cork flooring muffles sound and retains heat, both great properties for flooring on the upper level of a home. If you’re looking for a comfortable, warm, quiet floor for an upstairs bedroom or playroom, cork flooring is a great choice.

It has versatile visuals: In its natural form, cork flooring looks like … well, cork. Lots of people like this look, but if it’s not your style, cork can be dyed or stained to fit just about any decor.

It’s eco-friendly: Because cork is sourced from tree bark, no trees are destroyed in the making of cork flooring. If green living is a priority for you and your family, you should definitely consider cork floors!

Keep in mind

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The same properties that make cork such a comfortable surface also make it a little high-maintenance. Dirt, dust, and debris can all scuff cork floors, so be diligent about sweeping, dust mopping, and wiping your feet when you come inside. Your pet’s nails can also scratch cork floors, so be sure to keep them trimmed.

Cork contains suberin, a waxy substance that makes it water-resistant. However, cork flooring is not waterproof. Damp areas or places where standing water can be an issue, like bathrooms, basements, or even laundry rooms, aren’t well-suited for cork floors.

For another tick in the positive column, suberin also prevents mold, mildew, and other microbes from settling in, making cork floors a dream for people with severe allergies.

About The Author

Lauren Moore

Proud flooring aficionado and office dog mom, "Flauren" has been a professional writer and editor for more than a decade (though she still maintains her magnum opus was "The Day it Snowed Slurpees," written at the age of 6).

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