Considered to be one of the “greenest” flooring options on the market, cork flooring has increased in popularity in recent years. However, aside from being an environmentally friendly option for homeowners, there are many other benefits of this unique flooring choice. Read on to learn more about the pros and cons of cork flooring, as well as pricing and reviews, so you can decide if this innovative flooring option is a fit for your home.
Benefits of Cork Flooring
One of the main factors influencing the recent prevalence of cork flooring is the sustainable qualities of the material. Sourced from the bark of cork trees, in a manner that does not harm the tree, cork is a renewable resource that regenerates naturally. It is also biodegradable and has even been touted by the Environmental Protection Agency as a sustainable flooring option.
Unlike hardwood or tile floors, cork floors have a soft almost cushion-like quality. The softness of cork flooring makes it incredibly comfortable to walk across, and ideal for use in kitchens and other areas where you plan to spend a lot of time on your feet. It’s softness in comparison to other flooring choices also makes it an excellent material for use in homes with small children or individuals prone to falling as it will cushion falls and prevent injury.
Reduces noise + insulates your home
Thanks to its unique composition, cork flooring also doubles as a source of insulation. This property has two main benefits for homeowners. The first of which is that it reduces the transmission of noise in a home, making it an ideal flooring option for apartment dwellers, families with children, and musicians. The second benefit of cork’s insulating properties is that it also saves homeowners money on heating and cooling as it effectively keeps heat out during the summer and traps heat inside during the winter months.
Another benefit of cork flooring is that it is extremely low maintenance. This quality is partially due to the textured pattern of cork, that can hide stains and other damage. Regular sweeping, vacuuming and wiping up stains, is all you need to ensure your cork flooring stays in tip-top shape for years to come.
Easy to install
Unlike hardwood flooring which most often requires professional installation, cork flooring is easy to install. Typically cork tiles come with a self-adhesive backing, making the installation process as simple as peeling off the back and sticking the tile to the floor. Other cork flooring needs to be installed using adhesive but is still straightforward and easy to do without professional help.
When it comes to materials, cork flooring is similarly priced to hardwood, tile, and carpet flooring, averaging $5 per square foot. However, the real savings come with installation, which unlike other flooring options is user-friendly and does not require hiring professionals. Even better, once you have your cork flooring installed, it will regularly save your household money on utility bills due to its cost-saving qualities referenced previously.
Drawbacks of Cork Flooring
The softness that makes cork a comfortable walking and standing surface is also a quality that means it is more susceptible to damage than other flooring alternatives. Due to its porous texture, high heels, a pet’s claws, or the legs of furniture can damage the surface leaving permanent indentations. However, utilizing furniture pads to evenly disperse the weight of furniture, keeping your pet’s nails trimmed, and avoiding footwear like high heels are easy ways to avoid damage.
Another con of cork flooring is that it is very sensitive to sunlight and will fade with time — especially if installed in a room that receives direct sunlight throughout the day. Although this quality is not always a deal breaker, this inevitable fading or color is definitely important to consider before installing cork flooring in your home.
Not Completely Waterproof
Although cork flooring is very resistant to water, it is not totally immune to damage from moisture and humidity. For instance, in the chance your home floods, your cork flooring will most likely be discolored permanently. Cork is also susceptible to warping when exposed to high levels of humidity, which can lead to curling of the material in certain instances.
The Price of Installing Cork Flooring
As with all building materials, cork flooring ranges in price depending on a variety of factors including brand, quality, color, and whether or not it comes with a manufacturer’s warranty, extra soundproofing, or additional insulation. Due to these many variations, cork flooring can range in price from as low as $1.20 per square foot up to $7.25 per square foot. However, on average cork flooring will most likely run you approximately $5.00 per square foot.
As previously mentioned, one of the major benefits of cork flooring is that it often does not require professional installation, which makes it a very affordable flooring options for homeowners on a budget.
Cork Flooring Reviews
If you are on the hunt for the perfect cork flooring, it is important to know which brands to look for and which retailers offer the best selections and sales policies when it comes to purchasing flooring materials. Below is an introduction to some of the most beloved cork flooring brands as well as the best retailers from which to purchase your cork flooring.
Cork Flooring Reviews: Brands
When it comes to shopping for cork flooring, here are a few of the best-reviewed cork flooring manufacturers to look for.
This popular flooring brand has been in the flooring industry since 1868, and it shows in their superior selection of cork flooring options. The manufacturer offers four unique cork flooring collections, with a diverse range of features and aesthetics. If you are looking for more than just your run-of-the-mill cork floor, this manufacturer is for you.
Another trusted cork flooring brand, WE Cork offers two main flooring collections including their Classic Collection, for those in the market for traditional cork floors and their Floating Floors line which includes engineered cork as well as planks and tiles layered with high-density fiberboard. Available in both tiles and planks, these flooring options can be manufactured to look like hardwood or even stone.
A leader in green manufacturing, this manufacturer uses renewable wind energy to power all of their products and is also committed to only using non-toxic adhesives, finishes, and colors when producing their flooring materials. In addition to being environmentally responsible, Globus also offers an impressive range of cork flooring options, including three textures, 30 colors, and 20 sizes!
Other top-rated cork flooring brands to be on the lookout for when shopping include Torly’s, Capri Cork, USFloors, Expanko, APC Cork, Cali, Amorim, and Home Legend.
Cork Flooring Reviews: Retailers
Now that you have familiarized yourself with some of the top names in cork flooring it is important to figure out where you can actually purchase cork flooring. Below are some of the reviews on some of the best cork flooring retailers.
Quality Flooring 4 Less
This online retailer carries some of the top cork flooring brands including APC Cork, USFloors, and the much-lauded Wicanders. An ideal option for the homeowner that does not want to be burdened by a trip to an actual retail store, Quality Flooring 4 Less has also won an award from the home design website, Houzz.
Home Depot has a wide selection of cork flooring options, with an emphasis on floating floors. The retailer offers a variety of sizes and styles, and also is a one-stop-shop for installation supplies. Don’t want to install your floor yourself? Get a quote from a local flooring company, for free!
Offering more than just hardwood floors, Lumber Liquidators carries its own brand of cork flooring: Lisbon. The retailer’s Lisbon line of cork flooring is popular for aesthetics but has been reviewed as somewhat difficult to install without the help of professionals.
The second largest retailer in the home improvement industry, Lowes carries both Cali and USFloors cork flooring options in a variety of styles, colors, and sizes. Both of these brands are known for their easy-to-install interlocking planks.