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Consumer’s Guide: Cork Floor FAQs

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Cork FAQ's

Q. What is cork flooring?

Cork flooring is a product made from the bark of the cork oak tree, a material which is ground, processed into sheets and baked in a kiln to produce tiles. Much of the cork flooring supply comes from southern Europe, particularly Portugal, where the cork oak species is plentiful.

Q. Why is cork flooring such an environmentally conscious flooring choice?

Cork is one of the most renewable sources for flooring. Harvesting the cork oak for its bark is strictly regulated, limiting such harvesting into nine-year cycles. The individual cork oaks must be at least 25 years old before they are harvested and when they are, the health of those cork oaks must be ensured. The cork oak is harvested by hand, and remains unaffected by the harvesting process. The bark of the cork oak grows back, leaving the cork oak as healthy as ever.

Q. How much does cork flooring cost?

Pricing of good quality cork flooring starts at a very affordable $2.50 per square foot and goes up to more than $8 per square foot for the premium brands. Find your local dealer for cork floor pricing.

Q. What’s this I hear about cork flooring having a "memory"?

Because of its cellular nature, featuring millions of microscopic air pockets, cork flooring has "memory" that allows it to withstand foot traffic and the pressure of furniture legs. This helps it to take its original shape after impact. That said, it is still recommended that you use felt protectors on furniture legs. Better safe than sorry.

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Q. What colorings are available in cork?

Although the perception is that cork flooring comes in only 3 colors—tan, tan and tan—but in addition to the various tonal changes available, there are also cork flooring products sold in dramatics blacks or blues.

Q. How long will cork flooring last?

With proper maintenance and care, cork flooring can last for decades.

Q. How is cork flooring sold?

Traditionally, cork floors used to come in the form of tiles that were messy and difficult to install. Nowadays, there is a wide choice of cork floating floors available as tiles or planks that offer easy installation; many incorporate click or snap lock joints that eliminate the need to use glue.

Q. Is cork flooring easy to care for?

Regularly spend a little time on some light cleaning of your cork floors surface either with a light dust mop or a vacuum cleaner, preferably without a beater brush. Wet cleaning is not advised, however a very slightly damp mop can be used so long as the moisture from it is light enough to quickly evaporate and therefore not settle on the floors surface.

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Q. I’ve heard that cork flooring is great for hallways. Why?

Well, cork flooring can be installed virtually anywhere on-grade or above-grade, but because of its cellular nature, it naturally absorbs sound. And this can have a significant quieting effect in areas, such as hallways or entryways, which are normally associated with echoes.


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