cork tile floors


Cork Tile Flooring

cork tile floorsCork tiles are quickly becoming a fast and convenient way for many in the world to enjoy this environmentally friendly product. Cork tile floors can definitely be a DIY project for most knowledgeable homeowners looking for a soft, resilient, and long lasting floor. Cork is one of nature’s most versatile contributions to the flooring industry.

Already used in a number of popular products ranging from valve cover gaskets, Birkenstock sandals and fish bobbers, it has adapted quite well to the worlds rapidly changing needs. Beyond it's versatility, it is also one of the most environmentally sensitive materials available. This is exemplified by not only the naturally organic methods used to grow and harvest  the product, but also the entire process used in manufacturing the various flooring products on the market today.


Cork Tile Features

Cork tiles are extremely resilient, which makes them a natural choice for flooring. Cork has a unique cellular structure, which consists of millions of air filled cells per each cubic inch which gives it excellent 'compression' memory. Cork tiles then, because of the shock absorbing qualities inherent in this product, provides users a floor that is comfortable to walk on causing less stress to their back and feet. Durability is another one of it's outstanding qualities and can be attributed to 3 things, finish, it's already mentioned resilience and it's unique structure.

The factory finish that is applied to the product surface protects it from such things as moisture, harmful chemicals, dirt and other damaging substances. The resilience of the floor discussed earlier contributes to the durability because it allows the floor to naturally 'give', which helps it to resist damage from scratching and denting. The cellular structure contributes because it is a closed cell product, meaning it can maintain it's aesthetic and structural integrity for literally decades without breaking down.

Cork tile flooring is manufactured from the bark of the cork oak tree through a process where the bark is stripped from the tree, a process which can be repeated every decade or so, without inflicting any damage upon the tree. Cork then is a renewable resource, unlike traditional hardwood which requires the entire tree be harvested and used, and if not managed well, causing possible deforestation. In addition, chemicals are rarely if ever used in the growing of the trees either for pest control or fertilizer. There is practically no waste from the harvesting of the raw material to the manufacture of flooring.

Cork tiles are very quiet to walk on making it an excellent flooring choice for public places such as libraries, churches, and believe it or not, fitness centers. The unique sound insulating qualities naturally found in this flooring, is perhaps one of it's most outstanding attributes. In fact, cork underlayment in sheet goods is rapidly becoming the the first choice for mandatory sound control measures (actually written into the bylaws) in condominiums and apartments prior to the installation of ceramic, marble and wood flooring.

Also, because of its durability, it is suitable for both commercial and residential applications. For residential use, a 3/16" thick product is recommended, and for commercial use one that is 5/16" thick. The floor can be screened and recoated as many times as desired but  it can only be sanded and refinished (removing the finish completely) a limited number of times. With improvements made regarding the 'finish' during the last decade, it is highly unlikely you will ever need to concern yourself with anything beyond just normal maintenance.

Care & Maintenance

Care of your new floor couldn't be easier. Simply damp mop as needed and only use a mild detergent when necessary. No scrubbing or cleaning with harsh chemicals will be needed. Specific cleaning and care instructions will come with your flooring purchase outlining what steps beyond these can be performed if or when needed. Because it is a natural product, it is non-toxic and is virtually odor and chemical free. It is currently available in many designer colors and will complement any area of your home whether formal or contemporary settings are desired.

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