Earth-friendly and comfortable under foot, floors are durable and are offered in many exciting colors. They can even be custom stained to suit your fancy. It comes in a variety of sizes and shapes, and can be cut into any unique design. You can mix the colors in a whimsical puzzle for a child's room, or choose one color to make a quiet floor for your library.
Cork is harvested by hand every nine years from the bark of the cork oak tree found in the Mediterranean. Cork production is entirely sustainable and renewable. The trees are not harmed by the removal of their bark, with many cork forests having been harvested for a thousand years.
Cork bark is made up of a tiny sealed honeycomb cellular structure containing air. These cells provide resiliency (cushion) and insulation and there are about 40 million of these cells per cubic centimeter giving a natural shock absorbing feel to the floor. Cork can be compressed up to 40% and quickly returns to its original shape, making it a soft, comfortable floor.
The same cellular structure that makes the floor comfortable also reduces noise and vibration. Unlike hard materials like tile, wood or vinyl, cork is quiet and reduces impact noise such as something dropping on the floor or the sound of footsteps.
Cork has natural properties that are anti-allergenic and resistant to insects. A naturally occurring waxy substance in cork repels insects, mites and mold and protects cork from rotting when wet for a long time. In addition, this wax is naturally fire resistant and cork doesn't release any toxic off-gassing when it burns. These natural properties plus the coatings used to seal cork flooring make it healthful and safe for adults, pets and baby.
Cork floors are tough and long-lived. They have been used in public buildings such as churches and libraries since 1898, long before residential applications. Most cork floors can be refinished at least one time and can be recoated to extend their lives and beauty.
Up until about 10 years ago all Cork floors were glued down to subfloors which required extensive floor preparation. Most were unfinished and required sanding and finishing on site. Recently, prefinished cork floors have become more popular, and are now factory coated with polyurethane.
A newer style of Cork, requiring less floor prep, has also been developed. These floating Cork floors come in 12"x36" pieces and are glued or snapped together at the tongue and groove. They are not adhered to the subfloor and can be installed more quickly than the ones requiring gluing, but allow for fewer design choices.
We have samples of many of these brands in our Tampa showroom. Call for an appointment to view them, or fill out our contact form. Of course, we are always happy to bring samples to your home.
Cork Flooring Brands
APC Cork - APC manufactures a wide variety of colors in 12"x36" floating Cork tiles, and offers some colors in the 12"x12" glue down.
Globus Cork - This company offers a very large variety of colors in 4"x4" to 18"x36" glue down tiles and will custom stain Cork tiles to match any color you wish. They will also create custom shapes in varying sizes.
Jelinek Cork Group - Long established in the Cork business, Jelinek offers several lines of flooring including one that is finished with vegetable oil, one that is made either prefinished or unfinished in a variety of natural colors, and also a floating line. Their Mosaic Floors are made from recycled wine corks.
The Natural Cork Company - They produce a prefinished line of wide tiles and plank in natural colors.
WE Cork - WE offers prefinished Cork in both 12"x12" or 4"x36" glue down tiles in a small range of natural colors. Their floating tile line features a wider color array and are available only in 12"x36".