Weighing the Pros and Cons of Cork Flooring

The plus side of cork is full of benefits, the drawbacks are few but worthy of discussion. A cork floating floor offers easy Uniclic installation, a tongue and groove system similar to some laminate floor. A cork floor has site-finishing options for long term surface protection much like hardwood. Cork also offers a warm and comfortable surface much like carpet. These benefits to cork add up to three desirable flooring options in one flooring product. This allows for functionality throughout and comfort in any room without having to compromise. Cork floating floor is even an ideal finish to keep playrooms quiet and the chill off the basement space.

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A cork floor can be installed in place of in-floor radiant heat. If you are looking to take the chill off of a room and are considering in-floor radiant heating system, consider the warmth and insulating properties cork can offer. Cork underlay used in conjuction with cork floating floor can improve the heat retention of the room equivelant to ½ inch solid Styrofoam insulation. It does not add a source of heat but can help retain existing heat more efficiently. All the benefit without the price tag of installing a radiant floor system.

The drawbacks of cork is that it requires site refinishing, and for best results and long lasting beauty, reapplication of the finish every 3-7 years. This is very similar to the product finish needed for a hardwood floor or engineered hardwood products finished with urethane or polyurethane. Cork is the softest “soft wood” in the building industry and can dimple or mark when heavy objects are left in place for long periods of time. For some people this is hardly worth mentioning and for others somewhat annoying. However the dimples can spring back and recover given enough time and care, but this is very different for bamboo, harwood and laminate. Also of note, like any wood finish, cork floors can be scratched. Most of the time this is a minor surface scratch but on occasion the scratch is serious enough to penetrate to the cork. Gouging can occur if heavy objects or sharp edges are dragged across the floor (like a bookshelf or large appliance). Thankfully cork can be repaired using wood glue and a utility knife.

Floating cork floors are not recommended for bathroom installation but a glue down version of 100% cork tiles can produce a water proof flooring option for all of those areas that are subject to high humidity or exposure to large amounts moisture.

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