The next time you uncork a wine bottle think about what it might be like to have a whole floor made out of the same material. That light stuff, really?
Yes, in fact, cork is a material that is very carbon footprint friendly because in harvesting the cork from the Cork Oak tree, it is only the bark that is used and the tree continues to live another day until years down the road the cork is then harvested again. One tree can harvest up to about 450 pounds of cork in its lifetime, about 200 years. And the cork, of course, is used mainly for wine bottle stoppers so after they are punched out, the “waste” is then ground up and used for other uses, like floors.
But why use it for a floor? Cork is resilient and durable, soft under foot, it’s like insulation making for a quieter atmosphere, and it’s about the same as wood floors in cost. It’s been used since the 1800’s but got a bad rap in the middle part of the 20th century. Cork is getting better reviews these days and is a great option for those wanting to go green.
“Cork by its very nature will float on water. It does not retain water and it does not mould. Water spilled on cork floors will absorb out through the cellular structure of the material and evaporate into the environment,” according to the Jelinek Cork Group. The benefits of cork may be something to sit up and take note of. In fact, “the honeycomb structure of cork is very resistant to wear, with a high friction coefficient, making it very durable so it’s a perfect commercial floor material.”