Cork has been used by man for centuries. The ancient Phoenicians used cork for fishing floats. The Portuguese protect their cork oak forests by Royal Decree. Until recently, any decent bottle of wine had a cork stopper. Cork makes a great natural insulating material for the roof. And cork has been used for a long time to make flooring.
The oldest surviving cork floor is in a church near Chicago, USA. It was installed in 1898. Although cork is a soft type of flooring, it is in fact very durable. It has a honeycomb structure full of air that gives it elasticity – heavy weights can be placed on cork and then when removed the cork ‘springs’ back to its former dimensions.
Cork flooring can deal with high traffic situations. It also helps to lower heating bills in the winter because the honeycomb structure of cork acts as an insulator keeping heat in a room. This structure also works as a sound insulator muffling sound of footfalls.
Another benefit of cork flooring is that it contains the waxy substance known as suberin. This is used in nature to regulate water supply to a tree or plant. This substance makes cork flooring antimicrobial, anti-fungal and antibacterial. Such a combination makes cork flooring ideal for giving protection to the home. Suberin also makes cork flooring fire retardant.
Cork flooring is made from the bark of the cork oak. The bark grows back every 9 years. Harvesting the bark does not damage the tree. For these reasons, cork is a renewable resource and cork flooring is an eco-friendly type of flooring. It is also reasonable priced compared to hardwood flooring. It might be the right type of flooring for you.