Cork flooring is one of those options that everyone knows about but seems to forget when it comes to remodeling their own home. Hardwoods are usually the go-to when it comes to the most popular choice in flooring. However, in recent years, cork floors are really gaining on hardwoods in popularity. Where hardwoods are beautiful, but high maintenance, cork gives an effortless wood aesthetic. Of course, there are pros and cons to installing cork floors in your home, but either way, they should definitely be a contender if you're considering a remodel.
Unlike hardwoods and tile, cork retains heat, keeping the floors room temperature instead of chilly. That means your feet won't be icicles if you forget your slippers when you get up to make coffee in the morning.
Cork is such a soft material, that it actually eases stress on your back and legs if you install it in a room where you stand more than you sit, like the kitchen or the laundry room. It also has insulating properties that absorb sound, so that even the most hectic households are brought down to a dull roar, at most. Energy efficient.
Those same insulating properties that keep the noise level down in your home also come in handy when it's time to pay your energy bill. The hundreds of thousands of tiny air chambers that make up cork act as a natural insulator, keeping your space cool in the summer and warm in the winter, all while saving you money each month on the cost of heating and cooling your space.
The material to make these floors comes from the bark of cork trees. So instead of cutting down trees, it's only the bark that is harvested, allowing cork trees to live up to 200 years or longer.
If you have a home with pets, toddlers, or teenagers (or all three), cork flooring is perfect for a high-traffic household. Shallow dings fill themselves in with the natural expanding and contracting of the floor, and small scratches blend into the overall pattern of the cork, making them virtually invisible.
Cork flooring is definitely an alternative to hardwoods. Unfortunately, it's not a cheaper alternative. You may save a little depending on the style, color, or installation you go with. But overall, you won't be saving a significant amount.
Once the floors are in, they're a dream. But getting them in can be a little tricky. They are totally DIY-friendly, but only if you really do your research and know what you're doing. Precautions must be taken to not dent the floors during the installation process with big items like your refrigerator, and you have to seal the floor correctly in order to prevent water damage.
Because it's a softer wood, cork may be good for your back but is more prone to smaller dings and scratches than hardwoods. The good news? They're way easier (and cheaper) to fix than getting hardwoods refinished.