Pros and Cons of Cork Flooring

When you are remodeling your home, one thing that you may replace is the flooring. If you’re like most people, the word “flooring” brings to mind materials like carpet, vinyl, tile, and wood. Cork is another material that can be used for flooring, and is one you should consider. Like all other types of flooring, cork has pros and cons to its use.

Cork has a honeycomb-like pattern of open air pockets which give cork flooring the majority of its pros. The air pockets make cork flooring an excellent insulator with soundproofing qualities. Cork flooring is also very soft to walk or stand on, yet incredibly durable and resilient to denting. It is also resistant to water penetration due to the open air pockets. This means you can install it in any room in your home, even the bathroom or kitchen.

If you or a family member has allergies, you may think your only flooring choices involve hard surfaces. But cork is naturally anti-allergenic due to a substance it contains called suberin. Cork flooring is also resistant to mold, another common irritant to people with allergies.

Cork is also very eco-friendly. It is harvested from the bark of the cork oak tree, which can be done without cutting the tree down. The cork flooring itself is made from the cork that is left over from the production of wine bottle corks, so it’s a recycled material as well. If you strive to live a green lifestyle, cork flooring is a great choice for you.

Cork flooring is not without disadvantages, though. Although it is very durable and dent-resistant, that doesn’t mean it is indestructible. It is very possible for a chunk of cork to be gouged out of your floor, especially if you have pets or children that might gouge the floor. High heels are also very hard on cork flooring.

Also, cork flooring requires maintenance to keep up its durability in the long run. The polyurethane coat that is on most cork flooring only lasts for 5-10 years under normal conditions. This means you will have to apply a new polyurethane coat after this time period has passed. Applying a new coat requires that you sand the floor first, which is a very difficult job with cork since it’s not hard like a traditional wood floor. If you have a professional refinish the floor, he will likely charge more due to the increased difficulty of sanding cork flooring.

Your color options are also limited with cork flooring, especially as compared to other types of flooring. Plus, anything other than a natural cork color or finish is likely to cost you quite a bit more than other types of flooring would.

Cork flooring can be a great choice for almost any home. But you must take the time to think about your family’s needs and lifestyle before making the choice to invest in cork flooring. Weigh the pros and cons carefully before committing to a purchase and installation, and you can be confident in the knowledge that you’ve selected the perfect flooring for your home.


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