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» Cork Flooring

How Did I Do It? > Home & Garden > Cork Flooring
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Nope, cork is not simply for keeping wine fresh! Cork flooring has become a beautiful, warm, and noise-friendly flooring option for many homeowners. Unlike some floors, it accepts a lot of damage without loosing a lot of its finish, but helps keep even the busiest home quieter because it absorbs sound.
Similar to bamboo, cork is a renewable resource that’s green-friendly. Rather than harvesting cork trees, all that’s needed for flooring is bark, which will grow back over time (cork trees can live 800 years). In addition to the other benefits already mentioned, it keeps static to a minimum and also has natural anti-allergenic qualities. So in a home with pets and/or children, it’s a great solution to many different potential scenarios. Don’t stop with the home, however, the great acoustics of cork has inspired many businesses to adapt it too, including schools and hotels.
While cork may sound like a relative new-comer to the world of flooring, it’s been around in Europe for over a century. Unlike the cork we see in bottles or on bulletin boards, the flooring is treated in such a way that the cork retains some elasticity (so it gives instead of scratches) without loosing strength. This makes is really comfortable under foot, and even feels somewhat warm (compared to tile, for example). Thus, cork is most popular in kitchens (for easy clean ups) and bathrooms. If you want this for a basement, however, you’ll want to set it up as a floating floor with a moisture barrier between the concrete and the cork.
If you’re looking to personalize your flooring, buy cork flooring that hasn’t been finished as this can be stained. Use water based stains following a traditional method of  sponging and wiping the surface three times.
In terms of drawbacks, cork flooring can be dented over time by heavy furniture. Foot pads help with this, so apply them to weighty items immediately after installing your floor. Also cork is very susceptible to water damage so if you have areas prone to flooding or heavy dampness, it’s best to avoid using it in those rooms.
Cost wise you can plan to spend about the same for cork as you can for hardwood.

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