Cork: A Hot "New" Flooring that's been around for Decades
While cork seems to be one of the hottest new kinds of flooring on the market, it has actually been used for decades as a floor covering. One of the most famous places you will find cork is on the floors in Fallingwater, Frank Lloyd Wright's masterpiece set in the Laurel Highlands of Pennsylvania. Originally installed in the mid-1930's, the original cork floors were just recently replaced - a testament to the durability of cork.
Cork has many advantages. It is soft underfoot, and since it has "give", it is a good choice for people who have to stand for long periods of time. It is anti-microbial and resists mold and mildew, making it a great product for people with allergies. It is durable, easy to care for, and a natural insulator against both cold and sound.
Finally, cork is environmentally sustainable. The bark of the cork oak tree is harvested by peeling it off the tree once every 9 years or so. Only 50% of the bark is removed, allowing the cork to regenerate its bark, which is harvested again and again. Some trees have been grown and harvested for over a hundred years.
Kitchens are a popular choice for cork, due to its comfort, warmth, and anti-microbial qualities. However, living rooms, family rooms, halls, and bedrooms are suitable for cork as well. Since it is a wood product, it should not be used in areas where excess or standing water is probable, such as a bathroom.
Cork is offered two ways: as a traditional tile square, and as a "floating" plank floor. While most cork floors are in wood tones, there are now other colors available as well, such as olive green or whitewash. Pricing compares favorably with quality hardwood flooring, and maintenance is similar. Simply sweep the floor frequently to remove dirt that can scratch the finish, and mop with a quality hardwood floor finish, such as Minwax® Hardwood Floor Cleaner.
Cork is usually prefinished with waterborne polyurethane at the factory. Most manufacturers recommend a cost of finish after initial installation to seal the seams -and keep water out. The finish can be renewed if necessary by using a similar, waterborne product and following manufacturer's directions.
Below is just a small example of products that we can supply. If you don't see anything you like, please let us know. We offer many varities, but can't list them all.
(Note: Not all items in the links below are available for viewing in our Pittsburgh Showroom. Many may be special orders.)