environmentally friendly Natural Cork Flooring
In an environmentally cautious world, cork flooring has little to lose. This environmentally friendly flooring material has experienced a continual increase of growth and demand in the flooring industry due to its lack of environmental impact and for its positive health aspects within the home. Cork floors are a beautiful, environmentally sound choice for any room, wall or even ceiling in the home!
Environmental Impact of Cork Flooring
The harvest of cork began in the seventeenth century when it was discovered that cork's unique structure would make an ideal seal for wine. Cork is derived from the Quercus Suber, a species of the oak tree in the Mediterranean primarily from Spain and Portugal.
The cork oak tree is remarkable renewable resource as its bark can be harvested every 9 years without cause of any damage to the tree's existence or that of its environment. The majority of cork that is harvested is reserved to make bottle stoppers for the wine industry around the world accounting for around 60% of the market share. However the demand for perfect cork bottle stoppers also results in waist and that is where the cork engineered flooring industry comes to the rescue.
Next to nothing is wasted in the cork industry as the cork flooring manufacturers collect unwanted and waste material and grind them into small granules which are held together by a binder. This eco product is then molded and then baked. The length of the baking process results in a variance of the natural color of cork floor tiles.
Health Impact of Cork Flooring
Today's manufacturing of cork flooring is considerably safer for the indoor environment with the removal of potentially harmful VOC's from the binders. However some closer inspection of adhesives and finishes is recommended before installation as not all products are without these harmful chemicals. Request the use of non-toxic adhesives, sealers and finishes.
Suberin, the waxy, natural substance found in cork also plays another natural role in corks resistance to mould and mildew. Cork flooring is anti microbial and has been proven to be insect resistant as well.
Facts about using Cork flooring in the Home
Cork is an excellent green building material to use in the home. Cork's structure is comprised of millions of air sacs, essentially 50% of cork is actually air!! The cellular structure of cork makes cork tile a natural insulator. Not only will these green floors be warm under foot they will also absorb sound. Although it is more commonly used as a natural flooring material, it's structure also makes this material ideal for walls and ceilings!
Corks natural resilience can become a weakness. It is wise to frequently keep your cork floors clean as a build up of dirt and dust can result in scratching. Another great feature of cork tiles is their resiliency. If objects are dropped onto a cork floor the material will absorb the impact and return to its original state. However if an object is permanently heavy such as a large piece of furniture or appliances it is best to place something underneath the pressure points as a cork floor may not recover from an extended weight.
Before you choose to install a cork floor be very aware of how much natural sunlight will hit the space. This will be a very important consideration of which color of tile you will pick as the natural sunlight will ultimately cause the color of your tiles to fade over time.
Cork is a winner. Whether you choose to install a green floor or create an interesting wall feature, cork will always have a place in an environmentally sensitive green home.