Cork Flooring Pros and Cons

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Thinking about purchasing cork flooring? We compiled a list of some of the major considerations
you should take into account prior to making a decision, by creating a cork floors comparison chart
that covers other popular cork floor alternatives. Simultaneously, the following comparison chart would help you as well to better understand various cork flooring pros and cons.

However, since different characteristics of different flooring types cannot be conveyed by words
or images alone, we have also partnered with leading online flooring wholesalers, and invite you to
choose up to 5 Free Flooring Samples of any kind, including cork flooring samples.
All samples ship free, and would arrive within 1-2 business days straight to your door.

Obtaining free samples would allow you to really hold down the materials and test their quality and other attributes (e.g., durability, scratch and dent resistance, feeling of the texture, color matching, etc.)
straight from the comfort of your own home. To choose and receive your free samples, simply scroll down to the bottom of the following comparison chart and click on the button in the relevant column.

In addition, you can click here to get a free installation cost estimate for your project.

Cork Flooring Pros and Cons vs. Bamboo vs. Hardwood

Comparison Chart: Cork Flooring vs. Bamboo Flooring vs. Hardwood Flooring:

  Cork Flooring Bamboo Flooring Solid Hardwood Flooring
Durability Cork flooring durability is very signifcant, and it can last longer than hardwood floors when properly maintained. The unique and remarkable resilience of cork contributes to its durability, making it less prone to scratches and impacts. Cork has been used as a flooring material since the Victorian era, and is resurging in popularity today with the latest production technology advancements. Since bamboo is more resilient than hardwood (though not as cork), It is considered more durable than hardwood. The hardness of bamboo is rated similar to hardwood according to the Janka index, that rates bamboo harder than oak, ash and maple, among others. Stranded bamboo would be twice as hard than carbonized, and also harder than Brazilian cherry. The longevity of hardwood would often be determined by its proper maintenance; Generally, each wood specie holds a certain hardness degree that indicates its durability. The said hardness is rated by the Janka index; the higher the rating, the better the durability (e.g, Brazilian cherry, with a 2345 score, is harder than birch, with a 1470 score).
What is it made of Cork is harvested from the bark of the cork oak tree, found mostly in numerous Mediterranean countries, such as Portugal. All cork floors are coated with a protective finish layer. Bamboo is technically a grass, most common in Asia. Regular bamboo flooring is made from narrow bamboo strips glued together, while stranded bamboo flooring is made from long strands hardened together. A real piece of wood, carved into a plank that incorporates tongue and groove edges. Most floors arrive prefinished (already with a protective coating), unfinished floors would require on-site finish.
Areas commonly used Cork flooring is suitable for high traffic areas (Both home and office); Since it is very easy on the back and feet, cork is a popular choice in kitchens, among other areas. In general, cork flooring is less recommended for locations highly exposed to moisture such as bathrooms, though several cork tiles (usually with a stone appearance) would suit bathroom applications as well when sealed appropriately. High traffic areas, especially living and dining rooms, kitchens, laundry rooms and offices. Not suitable for areas prone to high-moisture. Suits most areas similar to cork and bamboo, though real hardwood is somewhat more prone to moisture, and should not be installed at below grade locations such as basements.
Dimensions Tiles: 12″*24″
Planks: Length: 36″-48″, Width: 7″-12″
Length: random, Ranges 45″-78″; Width: 3″-5″. Length: random, ranges 12″-84″; Width: 2.25″-6″.
Thickness 6mm-15mm 6mm-15mm Usually 18mm (= 3/4″)
Warmth and Feel Resilient and considered very comfortable to walk on. Feels much warmer to the touch than most other flooring choices. Standing on bamboo involves less body strain compared to hardwood, yet not as comfort as cork flooring. While real wood can feel more sturdy than cork, it would feel much harder underfoot, and also colder during winter time.
Cost (material prices) $2.00 - $6.00 /sq ft $1.50 - $6.00/sq ft $2.00 - $8.00 /sq ft
Total Cost (with Installaion) Click for Cost Estimate Click for Cost Estimate Click for Cost Estimate Click for Cost Estimate Click for Cost Estimate Click for Cost Estimate
Ease of Cleaning Relatively easy: regular sweeping and mopping. Wipe spills as soon as they occur. As with most floors, dust may cause scratches, sweep or vacuum to remove it. Stubborn stains may be cleaned only with special cork floors recommended cleaners. Avoid excessive water, as they can damage the floor over time. A damp mop may be used timely for cleaning, though not too wet, as bamboo floors can't handle too much moisture. over time, dirt and dust can scratch the surface of bamboo flooring, thus it is important to sweep it frequently. Ensure dust removal by using a soft cloth. Spills needed to be cleaned immediately. do not use abrasive materials or commercial cleaning products. Keep out debris and dust to prevent scratching to the floor surface; Avoid excessive water; Wipe all spills; Use only the recommended hardwood floors cleaning solutions.
Environment friendly Very eco-friendly, as the bark of the cork tree is carefully harvested without chopping or damaging the tree. It is considered a renewable resource as after the harvesting, the bark completely re-grows. Considered eco-friendly, since bamboo is classified as a grass, it grows rapidly, as opposed to trees. Considered less eco-friendly than cork flooring and bamboo, as it necessitates cutting down trees.
Colors and pattern variety Cork flooring is available in various styles, in both plank and tile form; some cork tiles are digitally rendered to mimic stone as well. Available in many colors and styles as traditional wood floors. All traditional wood patterns and colors.
Ease of DIY Installation Depends on installation method; click-lock installation (when available) would be easier than glue/nail-down floors. Similar to cork. Since solid hardwood floors should be nailed or glued down, a certain expertise level is required.
Care and Maintenance Relatively simple, follow cleaning instructions. Preventive maintenance involves recoating the floor finish with urethane every 5-7 years in residential traffic areas. Similar to most floors, it is recommended to use rugs in heavy traffic areas. follow the recommended cleaning instructions. General care similar to cork and bamboo: swipe away dirt and debris to prevent scratches, and minimize impacts with sharp or heavy objects to prevent denting. To preserve hardwood flooring from long term wear, it is advised to refinish them about every 5 years.
Fading due to UV exposure Yes; Not necessarily noticeable, especially with lighter shades. Yes. Yes.
Climatic Suitability Cork flooring suits well locations with 35%-65% humidity (better than solid hardwood). Humidifier may be needed in locations with lesser humidity. Proper acclimatization can prevent contractions. High climatic suitability, since bamboo originates in the tropics. Suitable both in arid and humid climates, since it would not swell and contract as much as hardwood. Much restrictive suitability; mostly suits locations with temperatures of about 60-70 Fahrenheit, does not suit below grade installations (such as basements).
Installation surface restrictions Cork floors are very accommodating, can be installed over concrete, tiles, and wood subfloors. The surface must be level, dry and clean. Can be installed directly over concrete and various other surfaces such as wood, OSB, or an existing vinyl floor. Thinner planks should be placed over a moisture barrier; Thicker planks can be usually placed right over concrete.
Pattern repetition Each cork floor is unique, with a naturally varied pattern. Natural and unique. Natural and unique; Rustic types would possess more mineral streaks and knots.
Scratch and dent resistance Fair to good resistance, less visible on lighter cork flooring shades. Even though cork's cellular nature can help it get to its original shape after an impact, the use of furniture coasters is recommended. It is advised to test this characteristic on your own by obtaining samples. Can be sanded multiple times. Good resistance, though not impervious. would retain its beauty as long as properly maintained. Typically can be sanded numerous times. Hardwood flooring can always get scratched, never mind how hard it is, however, they can be sanded multiple times.
Can it be installed over radiant heat Generally yes. Some bamboo types are compatible, check for the specific product info. Not advisable; Exposing it to different moisture degrees would cause the planks to contract.
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Please note: The above data is provided for general information purposes only. Even though the best efforts were made to ensure its accuracy, such general information can never take into account differences between different products from different manufacturers, nor your unique personal circumstances and needs. It is therefore always recommended to seek advice from a qualified professional and carefully follow the relevant manufacturer's instructions.
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