Cork Flooring: Reviews, Best Brands & Comparison
Have you heard of floors made from cork? In case, you are planning to change or install a new floor, then you must give this a consideration. If you ask why, then we are about to discuss that in details in this post. We urge you to read it thoroughly to gain more insights.
In reality, Cork Flooring is a sustainable choice. Yes, opting for it does not wear down your conscious, as it is obtained from bark of a tree that grows back (may be, takes a decade or so). This makes it a great choice for floors and the fact that these floors are low maintenance, all the more makes them distinct.
Table Of Contents
What is Cork Flooring?
As the name suggests, it is made of bark of a tree called cork oak tree, usually found in the Mediterranean region. It is that simple and in order to know understand the process of making this flooring, you can read through the next section.
In simple words, as the thick bark is reaped, it is then cut into sheets to make flooring items.Some of it is also made into wine corks and office bulletin boards!In other words, very little of this cork goes to waste. After the harvest there is a protective inner layer of bark which is carefully leftover to allow the tree to grow continually and new bark is formed.
Now the extracted bark is left over for dying for several months. Then it is transported to a factory where the leftover material is made to boil with adhesives and resins for a thorough mixing. Mention has to be made that wine bottle corks are punctured out first during this process.
This mixture is finally spread on ground and compressed into large sheets and is allowed for drying. As the drying gets over, the sheets are ready for industrial and home use.These sheets are then cut into various shapes and sizes but mostly rectangular or square in shape and is used for flooring purposes.
The installation process is quite simple. The cork tiles are then superimposed on the sub floor such as cement or plywood and adhered with adhesives directly. There is another method to settle the sheets that is possible if there is a groove in the floor. It can be cut and snapped in place together that lends it a perfect fit. In both these conditions a little bit of space needs to be allowed for expansion during climate change and high humid conditions.
Benefits of Cork Flooring
One of the most important qualities of using cork flooring is it absorbs sound vibrations like noise and footfalls. In the olden days this type of flooring was very popular in West European countries and used extensively in churches, prayer halls and libraries. As time passed by, the use of this material gained popularity worldwide. There is more to this:
- Sustainable - These natural flooring tiles are environmental friendly, as there is addition of harmful chemicals or toxic artificial ingredients in them during manufacturing. As a result,the ecological balance does not get disturbed by using it. The floor is breathable and could become a perfect playing ground for kids and infants.
- Cushioned - Alongside eco-friendly properties, cork flooring has many other characteristics that may work as real bait for homeowners, like:
- According to scientific studies, a cork has at least 200 million closed air cells per square inch. This means that the products made out of it are highly compressible and can shrink under pressure.
- This means it will again retain its original shape as the pressure is released.
- So, its actual application in flooring purpose is that it gives a cushioning under foot effect. The air cells present within the cork also helps to trap the heat during hot and humid days and the floor acts as an insulator instead.
- Anti-bacterial - Due to natural production of wax called suberin in the bark of the oak tree, a Cork Flooring is regarded as insect resistant and anti-allergic.
- Low maintenance–These can serve you for years with basic maintenance. Just sweep and mop or vacuum them regularly for better results. Wipe spills immediately and use a sealer made from polyurethane mixture to keep them protected. Voila! Small tips: In order to saving effort and time, using a best vacuum under 200$.
- Sustainable–As mentioned cork is obtained from the bark of tree called QuercusSuberus. It is exclusively found in the Mediterranean region. The principal reaping takes place, when the tree is around 20 years of age. Ensuing bark expulsion could be done at regular intervals and can last up to multiple times per lifetime. Ranchers take incredible consideration not to harm the tree while extracting the bark.
A Few Cons Of Cork Flooring
Cork Flooring doesn’t come without a couple of downsides. The overlaid boards and water-based pastes are touchy to high dampness and sprinkles, so cork floors aren’t suggested for washrooms or sodden cellars. Below are a few more disadvantages of cork floors that need to be taken into consideration:
- Water - Water can be an issue. The completing procedure includes fixing cork so as to make an imperceptible hindrance over its surface, and this offers some assurance against water stains and related damages. Humidity can likewise make corkto twist or curl, which may end in tiles coming out.
- Shoes - Cork is normally intense and strong, yet it very well may be dinged by high heels and pet paws. Bulky furniture set up for significant time can also leave imprints in cork.You can use cushions under legs to circulate the weight, and move furniture incidentally as a solution.
- Pet peeves - Dog and cat nail scratches are a specific issue with this kind of flooring. These can begin showing up immediately, particularly with bigger, heavier breeds. Keeping their nails trimmed can help this cause, yet pets will perpetually harm a cork floor.
- Sun–Sun light blurs cork floors in no time. In the event that your home gets ample amount of daylight,you can fix this by blocking harmful UV rays with window blinds and curtains, yet it will require consistent watchfulness and care.
Popular Cork Brands
Hands down cork has undergone a massive change over the years. Yes, it is different than what they were 70 years back. With advanced technology and state of the art manufacturing units, things have modified in the cork industry as well.
Being a sustainable flooring option, this has always been a popular choice for many. Eco-friendly and low cost are two more things that go into its favor. By now, you may want to know about a few names that you can trust. No worries, here is the list:
- US Floors
They represent considerable authority in exceptional and reasonable flooring choices. They have intriguing products including bamboo, cork, and hardwoods (with oil finish). They have perfect green qualifications: in addition to the fact that they ensure that their cork is sourced from inexhaustible sources.
They additionally endeavor to diminish their ecological and carbon footprints. Their plant in Georgia in different ways, including utilizing solar powered energy that is used for lighting and even making changes in staff toilets for water conservation.This shows how vigilant they are in terms of conservation. Additionally, their site is thorough with definite data about details and establishment.Moreover, their products are available at leading retail outlets across the country.
Notwithstanding the US Floor brand, the organization additionally advertises items under a few acclaimed marks, including Natural Cork and Navarre. USFloors at present have five cork flooring varieties – all in for the most part natural tones and you get to choose from 30 shades. Their Cork Flooring is emulsified with restrictive GreenGuard ensured and Endura AR UV-certified.
The Natural Cork line is accessible in both tile and plan forms. Purchasers can likewise pick between gliding or gluing choices. The organization ensures its deck is made from 100% natural cork (Suber), and is backed by a liberal lifetime guarantee on application.
- Globus Cork
Globus call themselves as the “premier manufacturer of cork floors” and the facts demonstrate that they have an excellent record and green accreditation. They have been in business since the 1990s. Globus has been utilizing renewable resources ever since 2007!In addition, their assembling procedure includes non-harmful water-based hues and adhesives.
Their range is colossal: three unique surfaces of tiles come in more than 30 hues, in excess of 20 sizes and any square geometrical shape you can consider! You can practically use Globus cork for any structure that could be found in earthenware tiles. Furthermore they have both floating and glue type tiles options. Globus offers straightforwardly to buyers on the web, and ships from its New York manufacturing plant to each of the 50 states.
The organization sells tiles in 25 shapes and sizes, and in excess of 40 compatible hues. You can even request customized tiles from them. If you are a conservation conscious buyer, you'll be cheerful to realize that Globus tiles are VOC free and LEED approved.
Wicandersis unmistakably the worldwide market pioneers in cork flooring, with their existence in more than 55 nations around the globe. This worldwide predominance, in addition to the way that the Wicanders brand has formed in the matter of creating flooring as early as 1868.This is why they are most perfectly shown in the absolutely cove table cork flooring they offer.
Wicanders' four cork floor accumulations offer multilayered designs that give an immense scope of floors that covers conventional hardwood, stone and exemplary cork feel. This implies you can get the toughness, solace, and super stylish cork of your choice.You can select from the brownish Artcomfort Prime Rustic Oak,grayish Vinylcomfort Coal Slate or the simple cork Corkcomfort Reed Meridien.
- WE Cork
They have been in the business for 5 generations, so you must trust that they know some things about cork beyond a doubt! The organization began in Switzerland in 1868 as a maker of plug plugs, and has since wandered into the universe of cork flooring.
Their deck comes in two kinds. First, there's the Classic Collection, a little however impeccably framed 100% natural cork available in both plank and tile category. Second, there's the Floating Floors run including four different types of designed cork and high-thickness fiberboard. You can pick between 33 shades of glue and floating items to make novel structures and striking designs.
WE Cork has utilized superior quality advanced print innovation to repeat hardwood or stone tile feel on a stopper substrate, implying that you get the vibe of hardwood or stone yet with the comfort of cork.They sell through wholesalers and showrooms over the United States.
- ICork Floor
iCork Floor pitches direct to customers and offers affordable options for glue down and floating cork planks and tiles. What’s more interesting is that you can go online to check their collection and ask for free samples as well!
iCork conveys flooring in hues and examples that imitate the vibe of regular stone, customary cork and even endured wood. The organization additionally sells wall tiles, adhesives, and underlayment.
How To Choose High-Quality Cork Flooring?
Contingent upon your preferences, cork floors look decent, they're agreeable and easy to install Be that as it may, there are different things you ought to consider too past its looks and intrinsic advantages.
Looking for plug ground surface can be somewhat precarious, but if you know what to look for, then it would not be that difficult at all. Here are a few pointers that can help:
Like whatever else, the nature of cork floors will fluctuate. One trademark that influences quality is the plug's thickness. We will discuss that under the next topic; however, what you need to know is that cork should be bought from a reputed brand. You must ensure that the room it goes into remains protected. This will only add to its longevity.
The kind of finish that is utilized in a cork surface will also differ from item to item. You can expect a few layers of a polyurethane or acrylic complete finish. More coats are better, and the nature of the finish will decide the life span and toughness of the floor.
When in doubt, plug ground surface ought to be no less than 4-12 mm thick, or what might be compared to a pile of 2 to 6 nickels. Thicker tiles are normally found in business applications as they hold up better to wear.
Most residential tiles will in general fall in the 4 to 8 mm category. This suggests you will have enough material to work with, and you'll additionally have an increasingly strong floor.
- Glued And Glueless Installation
Cork floors are made in two structures, glued and glueless. Glued floors are comprised of tiles, which are stuck down to the subfloor. Gluelesscork is fundamentally the same as in development to overlay floors.
Most tiles and glueless boards are pre-completed with either a polyurethane or wax covering despite. The advantage of completing them set up is that every one of the creases between the tiles or boards are fixed making for water-tight flooring.
Cork flooring is an environmental friendly product, and accordingly, it ought to dependably convey a guideline and quality-standard seal. Items with accreditation, for example, FloorScore, FSC or Greenguard Gold, seal have been tried and tested for quality.
In case you're purchasing cork, then make certain that you include a finished product. Be that as it may, in case you're picking a fixed item, you'll need cork with a layer of aluminum-oxide or covered polyurethane wrap up. Multi-layer solidified finishes go about as a protective layer that shields your cork from ordinary dangers.
Make sure that you read the fine print well. The best manufacturers’warranties can go up to 20 years and more. Be prompted most guarantees won't cover harm because of ill-advised establishment or damage owing to use.
The cost of cork relies upon a few variables, including quality, warranty and dimensions. Hues and size similarly add to the sticker price. Cork tiles in general can cost around $2 to$7 for every square foot, by and large. Be that as it may, you can normally discover them online for less.
Pre-fixed cork includes a layer of wax or polyurethane and manufacturing plant grade color. Make sure to check with your sales rep to confirm whether the floor is strong.
Strong cork will in general come as an incomplete item. It's less expensive yet requires fixing after establishment. In case you're doing it yourself, a gallon of sealer will cover a region of 100 square feet and expenses will be roughly something like $80.
In the event that an expert is introducing your cork, you may have to pay $1 to $2 per square foot. What's more, in case you're taking on the establishment yourself, remember to incorporate the cost of underlayment, cement and other prep materials. These additional items may appear to be little at first, however the costs include after some time.
Comparing cork with other flooring materials could be a wise way to go about it. This way you will see that this is not sustainable, but is a pragmatic way to invest in your flooring.
Prior to burning hundreds or thousands of dollars, it's imperative to know the advantages and disadvantages of each. All things considered, nobody needs to spend their well-deserved money in unacceptable way. Here is a small comparison that will help you further:
Cork versus Carpeting
Of course, carpets look elegant, but they need a lot of maintenance. You may need special gear for this upkeep as well, like a vacuum cleaner. However, with a cork floor, all you need is a traditional broom and mop.
Again, the kind of things get brushed under the carpet make them a bit unhygienic, but since cork needs regular sweeping and mopping, you will be good to go. Cork is will not cost as much as a carpet. Plus, cork is a durable product that will last you for years. Don’t forget the eco-friendly part that takes the cake away!
Cork versus Vinyl
Okay, the dispute around manufacturing vinyl, which certainly is not a natural material,needs to be highlighted here. Whereas, cork is not only natural, but also sustainable is an upside for sure. Cork manufacturers do not add VOCs to their products and if that is not enough then do read the other half of this argument.
In vinyl’s favor, we can say that it is waterproof and is solid in comparison to cork. You do not need to wax it for a shine. Again, they need expertise to be laid, unlike cork which is easier to handle, especially if you are doing it yourself.
You tread on a softer surface with cork in tow and it must be cited that it is insect resistant too. Vinyl does not add to the value of your property and could be emit harmful gases that you may not your loved ones to be breathing in.
Cork versus Hardwood
Hardwood is customary and is an eternal piece when it comes to flooring. Cork on the other hand, is trendy and is a less expensive alternative. Did you know that hardwood floors are three times expensive than a cork floor?
Cork is comfortable to walk on because the squishy feeling of a wine cork; actually goes soft on your knees. Furthermore, it must be added that cork can absorb sunlight and this indicates that your house will not be insulated unlike hardwood floors.
Cork Flooring is no different than hardwood floors and this is why they can be used as a replacement. Only they are easy to maintain and do not burn a hole in your pocket. What more can you seek in a flooring? It has all that it takes to make it big, give it a chance to prove its worth to you. Why not?
Just keep them protected as explained in this post earlier, and you may have something to cherish for the rest of your life. What say?Let us know if this sounds like a plan to you!