by Amanda Mears
Cork is making a serious comeback. Although it can look similar to hardwood or tile flooring, cork flooring is better for the environment and can even help you save money thanks to its insulating properties, making it ideal for anyone looking to decorate their home in an eco-friendly fashion. Still not sure if you should use cork flooring on your next home improvement project? Consider these qualities that make cork a smart choice.
Environmentally friendly: Cork material comes from the bark of the cork oak tree, which replenishes itself naturally. Harvesting cork leaves the cork tree unharmed and able to replenish itself for several years. The cork tree has a thick exterior that can be harvested every 12 years. Since a cork tree generally lives for around 150 years, with a 25-year growing period at the beginning of its life, cork can be harvested approximately ten times per tree.
Clean: Cork is also nontoxic, hypoallergenic, and anti-microbial. These natural properties make cork resistant to mold, mildew, and bugs. To clean cork flooring, simply use a vacuum or go over it with a damp mop.
Warm and quiet: Cork is naturally insulating. People with cork floors report having a lower heating bill, on average, and cork flooring is naturally warmer on chilly mornings than wood or tile. For shared homes or noisy areas, like music rooms, cork is ideal because it acts as a sound barrier. Since cork is also fire-resistant, it is even being used as an alternative to the standard insulation found in houses.
Inexpensive: The biggest draw of cork might be its price. Cheaper than tile and hardwood, cork comes in several finishes that are meant to mimic the geometric detail of wood flooring or the smoothness of tile. Cork is available in its natural brown shade, but it also comes in colorful hues or neutral white tones that work equally well in a modern bathroom or a retro kitchen.
Durable: Cork is less fragile that hardwood flooring since dents will spring back up. With the proper care, cork flooring can last for decades.