They have been kicking around for at least a century although bamboo flooring has surged in popularity over the last decade or so. Back in the early days, cork appeared mainly in commercial and public spaces, although residential use increased after Frank Lloyd Wright decided it for lots of the houses he designed.

The basics

Cork comes from the bark of cork trees, located in northern Africa and southern Europe. Scraps of bark left over from punched-out bottle stoppers are ground, pressed and baked into sheets which are ready to convert into flooring tiles and planks. Portugal is the epicenter of the cork industry and accounts for over half the world’s manufacturing.

What you’ll love

If you have ever noticed how quickly a wine cork pops back into shape when it is released from the jar, you get a great idea of how elastic and elastic cork is. Its shock-absorbent structure translates into comfort underfoot–a real boon in areas where you spend long periods standing, like in a kitchen or home gym. (That also means diminished glassware or china has less probability of shattering.) Additionally, it retains muffles and warmth sound like a champ.

What to consider

Be ready to put in some upkeep although cork is durable. Crumbs, dirt, and other detritus can scar its surface as time passes, so don’t go over a week without vacuuming or sweeping. Every couple of years, the cork should be re-sealed with coatings of polyurethane. As an alternative, you can seal it with wax, which is less likely to scratch but has to be stripped and reapplied more often. The cork flooring experts at Newcastle Carpet One recommend cork flooring as it comes pre-finished, even though it will still need periodic maintenance to keep it in shape.

Installation

Cork flooring comes in one of two kinds: tiles or boards. Planks can be solid cork or engineered laminate-style (bamboo veneer with a fiberboard core). They’re offered in glue-down or”floating” software –the latter locks together at the edges and sits directly in addition to any smooth surface, making it especially DIY-friendly. Prevent engineered planks in moisture-prone regions; they are likely to warp.

Tiles, made from solid cork are glued to a subfloor. Installation is not complicated, but it may have a fair amount of prep work to acquire the underlying surface fit.

What you’ll pay

Cork is not inexpensive, but it is manageable on a budget. The cost tag falls approximately between $2 and $12 per square foot, uninstalled (professional installation generally adds $3-5 per square foot to the total). Do not skimp on quality–cheap cork flooring won’t hold up in the long term.

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