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Cork Flooring FAQ

We are pleased to provide answers to some of the most Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ) on a wide variety of our products. For more information on our cork floors please browse our selection of outstanding quality products, visit our hardwood floors articles, or browse the answers to our frequently asked questions.

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Q. What is cork flooring?

A. Cork flooring is a product made from the bark of the cork oak tree, a material which is ground, processed into sheets and baked in a kiln to produce tiles that serve as flooring for offices, light commercial locations, and residences.

Q. Where does cork flooring come from?

A. Cork flooring is most popularly harvested, manufactured, and sourced in Southern Europe, with Portugal being one of the most prominent regions from which cork comes. This is an area where the cork oak species is plentiful and where hand-harvesting is most practical.

Q. Why is cork known to be an environmentally sensitive choice?

A. Harvesting the cork oak for its bark is strictly regulated, limiting such harvesting into nine-year cycles. The individual cork oaks must be at least 25 years old before they are harvested and when they are, the health of those cork oaks must be ensured. The cork oak is harvested by hand, and remains unaffected by the harvesting process. The bark of the cork oak grows back, leaving the cork oak as healthy as ever. As such, cork flooring is one of the most renewable sources for flooring there is.

Q. Is cork flooring a new idea?

A. Cork flooring was first used popularly at the end of the 19th century. By the early 20th century, Frank Lloyd Wright was incorporating cork flooring in some of the public buildings he designed. Many of these buildings still feature original cork floors.

Q. Will cork flooring be tough enough for my home or office installation?

A. One of the characteristics of cork flooring is its resilience to pressure and impact. Because of its cellular nature that features millions of microscopic air pockets, cork flooring has “memory” that allows it to withstand foot traffic and the pressure of furniture legs (best if the legs have felt protectors), taking its original shape after impact.

Q. Is cork flooring a good option for pets?

A. While no natural wood floor is entirely scratch-resistant, cork flooring is more adaptable to claws caused by dogs and cats than many other natural wood flooring options. This is due to the general resilient nature of cork flooring, which is naturally impact resistant.

Q. Why is cork flooring known to be a good insulator?

A. The cellular nature of cork flooring allows warmth to be held in, making it a very warm flooring to walk on, even in winter months. Another aspect of the kind of insulation cork flooring provides is that of sound, which is naturally absorbed. This makes for almost silent footfalls and can have a significant quieting effect in areas which are normally associated with echoes and other distracting ambient sounds, such as in foyers and hallways.

Q. What makes cork flooring naturally moisture resistant?

A. A natural substance found in cork called suberin, a waxy material that is a key component in the makeup of the cells in found in cork, is responsible for the moisture-resistant nature of cork and cork flooring. Suberin is also insect-resistant as well as adding a level of fire resistance. Although cork flooring is resistant to moisture, it is still a good idea to mop up excessive wetness as soon as possible as such levels of wetness can have ill-effects in the long term.

Q. What makes cork flooring a good option when thinking about falling and impact?

A. Cork flooring is cushion-like, made as it is of about 50% air that is locked into microscopic compartments which act as natural shock absorbers. This can be quite beneficial when you’ve dropped dishes and glasses. It can also a positive effect when accidental human falls occur. For areas used by children or the elderly, this can be a major benefit.

Q. What about colors? Are all cork flooring tiles the same?

A. Being a natural material, cork’s color variation should be expected. However, this can often work to the advantage of those with an eye for design, allowing for creative applications of various tonal ranges from golden yellow to nut brown. Also, color change can be expected as the cork flooring tiles are exposed to light over time.

Q. Can I install my cork flooring myself?

A. Evora cork flooring from BuildDirect comes with a UniClic locking system which makes for ease of installation, requiring about the same level of flooring installation experienceneeded for a laminate flooring project, for instance.

Q. What areas are the best places to install cork flooring?

A. Generally speaking, the best places to install cork flooring are on-grade (the level of the surface exterior to the space) or above grade (the second floor of a building, for instance). Areas where a lot of dampness and moisture, such as basements with newly poured subfloors, should be avoided. Subfloors must be level, dry, and clean before installation is considered.

Q. Over which surfaces can I install my cork flooring?

A. Cork flooring is very accommodating and installation over concrete, wooden subfloors and tile are commonplace. The surface upon which you install your cork flooring must be level, dry, and clean.

Q. Does cork flooring require underlayment?

A. Evora cork flooring does not require underlayment, just a vapor barrier in the form of a plastic sheet.

Q. How do I keep my cork flooring clean?

A. Regular mopping with a damp mop will be sufficient in keeping your cork flooring tile clean. Avoid harsh cleaning agents, and do not overwet your floor. Try to clear obvious mess quickly. Spills can be absorbed with a sponge or paper towel to avoid the possibility of permanent stains.

Q. How long will my cork flooring last?

A. Evora cork flooring through BuildDirect has a 25-year structural warranty. Adequate care and attention of your cork floor will have a significant effect on its life span.