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Cork flooring is a versatile, durable, and attractive flooring option that is suitable for a number of different areas, including bedrooms, living rooms, and family rooms. Cork offers both comfort and warmth, making it a popular option for use in both homes and offices. Preferred for its long-lasting durability and eco-friendly properties, cork is available both as a laminate flooring product and as an underlayment.
Renewable Cork Flooring
One of the greatest benefits of cork flooring is that cork is eco-friendly. Hardwoods and other flooring products that come from harvesting trees are not the most green options, but cork is completely renewable. Because cork comes from the bark of cork trees, the tree is not killed when the cork is removed. A single tree can repeatedly provide cork without ever being killed, making cork one of the most environmentally-friendly flooring options available.
Cork trees can live up to 800 years, though their typical life span is 150 to 200 years. The tree needs to be at least 25 years old before the bark can be harvested, but once the tree has matured, its cork can be harvested every 8 to 14 years. This means that a single tree can supply materials for countless cork floors over its lifetime.
Cork is harvested in seven countries:
Portugal supplies approximately 70% of the world's cork, and is also home to the world's oldest cork tree. The tree, planted in 1783 in the Alentejo region, produced one entire ton of raw cork in 1991. A ton of cork is enough to create more than 100,000 wine bottle corks. To put things in perspective, a typical yield from a single tree is enough for about 4,000 corks.
Even the manufacturing process results in virtually no waste. Typically, the material used for cork flooring is a byproduct from manufacturing cork bottle stoppers. These residuals are collected and ground into a powder. Binders are added to the powder to hold it together, and then pigment is added to create different colors and patterns. A finish is applied to protect the flooring.
Why Cork Flooring Is Popular
Cork flooring is already popular in several countries, but lately it's become more popular here in the United States. Cork is favored for its longevity, warm appearance, ecologically friendly qualities and other unique characteristics. In fact, cork has been used in public buildings, such as churches and libraries, since 1898. Only recently have people begun to realize the benefits cork offers as a home flooring option, including:
- Cork resists cracking and scratches, making for a durable flooring surface
- Cork is unaffected by many solvents, including gas
- Highly resilient, cork can be compressed up to 40% of its original size, yet quickly return to its original shape. This means that indentations left behind by furniture will disappear once the furniture is removed.
- Cork is extremely fire-resistant and will only melt or ignite at extreme temperatures. When burning, cork generates less smoke and toxic fumes than other flooring materials.
- Highly durable, cork flooring can last for more than 40 years when it's properly cared for.
Even more important, though, is that cork is a healthy product for living environments:
- Cork doesn't shed micro-fibers or otherwise negatively affect the quality of the air in your home
- Cork is anti-microbial, and is less likely to be affected by mold and mildew
- Cork doesn't absorb dust or pollen, so it's easier to get rid of these allergens in your home
- Cork is an ideal option for people with allergies
Cork is also highly comfortable, and walking on a cork floor is much like walking on a cushion. Cork is pliable, so the floor is ergonomically beneficial and even provides fatigue relief. It is this property that makes cork ideal both as a flooring option and as an underlayment material. The air within the cork makes the surface slightly spongey, which helps to reduce the strain on your joints as you walk. Additionally, cork is a natural insulator of both sound and temperature. Rooms with cork sound flooring or underlayment are usually warm and quiet.
At Greatmats, we offer both cork laminate flooring and cork underlayment. We'll highlight the benefits of each product below.
If you're looking for a beautiful, durable floor for use in your home, cork laminate may be an ideal option for you. Cork laminate is available in a number of different eye-catching finishes which add distinction and beauty to any room. Easy to install and highly durable, cork laminate is an environmentally friendly product made with sustainable methods. But that's just one of the reasons why cork laminate is so popular.
There are countless benefits to using cork laminate flooring in your home:
Comfort: Are you tired of sore joints and uncomfortable surfaces in your home? Cork has an elasticity that is forgiving and that creates a comfortable surface. Walking on cork relieves the strain on your feet, legs, joints, and back for decreased overall pain.
Durability: Cork is a highly durable flooring option, and it will retain its beautiful finish despite years of wear. Cork has an extremely resilient finish, and is strong enough to be used underneath heavy furniture.
Sound Dampening: Cork's unique structure can help to dampen sound, restricting its transmission from room to room. Cork sound flooring can make your home a quieter, more peaceful environment.
Health Benefits: Cork's surface finish prevents dust, dirt, germs, and mold from becoming trapped in the flooring. It makes for a healthier, more hygienic environment, and is a great choice for anyone with allergies.
Thermal Insulation: With cork laminate, your flooring itself acts as an insulator. Cork can help to keep the warmth in your home, rather than letting it flow out during the winter. Cork makes for a warm surface to walk on during the winter, so you won't have to worry about finding your slippers first thing in the morning. Think lower heating bills and a more comfortable home!
Cork laminate is versatile, but it is most often used in:
- Living room floors
- Kitchen floors
- Home floors
- Retail and office floors
Caring For Your Cork Laminate
Though cork sound flooring is highly durable, proper care and maintenance is essential to keeping the floor in great condition.
- Carry furniture across the room, rather than dragging it across the floor.
- Place felt pads on all furniture legs
- Invest in blinds or shades to minimize the sunlight your flooring is exposed to (which can cause fading)
- Use doormats at entrances to catch dirt and moisture before it gets tracked onto your floor
- Never use latex or rubber backed mats, which can damage the floor
Cleaning Cork Laminate
Cork laminate is easy to clean, but it's important to never use cleaning products with abrasive ingredients. These can cause irreversible damage to your floors.
- Vacuum or sweep the floors with a soft bristled brush daily
- Once a week, wipe the floor down with a cloth moistened with water and a mild detergent
- Be sure to minimize the amount of moisture that your cork floor is exposed to
Cork Floor Tiles
If you're looking for earth-friendly flooring that will hold up to rigorous, intensive use, then consider our cork floor tiles. These tiles, which are a cork and rubber blend, offer many of the same benefits of cork laminate flooring, but with increased versatility.
Cork floor tiles have an interlocking design, so they require no glue. They are conveniently sized for easy transportation and installation, and offer a designer look. Made here in the USA, cork floor tiles offer excellent shock absorbency, non-skid properties, and wear resistance. Cork rubber tiles a popular option for gym floors, basement flooring, and other commercial flooring applications.
Cork Flooring Underlayment
Because cork is not only extremely eco-friendly, but also offers many beneficial qualities for flooring, it is often used as an underlayment. Cork flooring underlayment is frequently used for both commercial and residential buildings.
When used as an underlayment, cork dramatically dampens sound, a huge benefit for multi-family residences, such as apartment buildings. The cork's ''spring back'' feel allows the cork to return to its original shape, even after being compressed, and can contribute to a more comfortable floor. Because cork is filled with air, cork underlayment offers excellent thermal insulation for floors.
Cork flooring underlayment offers the following benefits:
- Excellent sound reduction, both in-room and below-room
- Thermal insulation properties keep flooring warm underfoot, making for a more enjoyable space
- Durable material won't compress over time, unlike some other underlayment materials
- Mildew, mold, and moisture resistant underlayment makes for a healthier living environment
- Hypoallergenic underlayment makes homes, apartments, and offices suitable for people with allergies
- Environmentally renewable resource
Cork underlayments are frequently used with the following flooring types:
- Ceramic tile
- Vinyl tile
- Rubber tile
- Laminate flooring
- Hardwood flooring
Greatmats offers a variety of cork flooring underlayments which are available in sheets for easy handling and simplified installation.
Our 3mm Cork Underlayment Roll is suitable for use with ceramic, natural stone, or wood flooring.
The AcoustiCork PR60 4-6mm Wave Textured PR60 is a high performance underlayment that offers superior sound control. It's ideal for use with engineered wood or laminate in multi-family applications.
For a thicker underlayment, consider our 12mm Cork Underlayment. This underlayment is available in a 2x3 foot sheet.
Commitment to Customers
Your satisfaction, both with your product and with your shopping experience, is our highest priority at Greatmats. That's why we offer a price match guarantee, so you know that you will never overpay for a product at Greatmats. We run our business according to the Golden Rule model, and we treat you just as we would want to be treated. It's that dedication to customer satisfaction that has earned us an A+ rating with the Better Business Bureau.
Do you have questions about any of our products? Would you like a product sample, or do you need some additional information on shipping? If so, please contact our customer service team at 877-822-6622. We would be happy to help you choose the right flooring for your next project.