Cork Flooring: The Cold Weather Floor
Now that we’re entering winter, many of us are thinking of new ways to keep warm. And believe it or not, the type of flooring you choose can greatly affect the insulation of your home.
Many of us have chilly basements or rooms that experience a lot of heat loss through the floor. This is especially the case in older homes with crawlspaces or even those who live in mobile homes. This is often why cork flooring can be a sensible choice for any of these scenarios.
Cork flooring has a lot of benefits, but perhaps what most notice, at least when compared to other floors, that cork floors feel warmer to the touch than hardwood floors, laminate floors, tile floors and even vinyl floors. Plus, cork is just a little softer feeling underfoot.
The reason that it feels warmer is because of the air trapped inside. This more porous flooring material traps more air and helps act as a barrier for heat loss and even cooling loss in the warmer season.
As the cork tree grows its bark, air gets trapped inside its cellular structure which becomes some sort of shock absorber. The result is a floor with a soft cushioned feel that can relieve stress especially in places where you tend to stand for longer periods such as in the kitchen. The shock absorbing mechanism of the cork flooring also works as a ‘noise absorber’ especially in high traffic areas.
As it’s getting colder, this may be a greater concern. And if you’re shopping for new floors and the area you’re installing your new floor has inferior insulation, cork flooring can help insulate a room and will help limit heat loss in a home.
Also, many cork floors are made using a wear layer of cork attached to an HDF core, usually made from recycled materials. On the underside is a layer of cork underlayment that adds additional impact resistance. Ultimately what you have is two layers of one of the eco-friendliest natural flooring materials sandwiching a core made of 100% recycled materials. All of this combines to give you better thermal insulation and acoustics.
**Hypoallergenic and insect-repelling
Suberin is a waxy substance normally found in cork trees. It has properties that can repel molds, insects, and mites. Furthermore, suberin is hypoallergenic, fire-resistant and unlike other wood products, does not release any toxic off-gassing when it burns. When covered with coating, it ultimately becomes long lasting and healthy and safe for use for the family.
When at one time cork floors were offered in largely natural cork looks and were mostly used in glue down floor installations, many of today’s cork floors are click cork floors. They are primarily used in floating floor installations and can be installed over most types of subfloors. Many choose cork for their basements to warm a naturally chilly room, while others install cork flooring in a bedroom to make that first step in the morning a warmer, more comfortable one.
Cork flooring addresses many issues that bother us about our current floors, from the way they feel, to the way they sound and even how they perform. And now that they’re available in several types of looks, we’re no longer limited to a natural cork or even stained cork look. Many cork floors now look more like other floors; from cork flooring that looks like hardwood to cork that has a bamboo floor feel.
The flooring consumer now has a lot more choices and can find the perfect cork floor that adds comfort, function, style and performance to any space.