Cork flooring has been a popular flooring over the centuries and the trend for it has come back time and again. The impression that it has made on the mind of people is an ever lasting one.
Cork Flooring and its History
If we look back at history, we will see that cork has been applied for centuries in a variety of uses. It has been used as bottle stoppers, especially in the wine industry. It has also been used by fishermen as fishing net floats. Compared to that the use of cork for flooring purposes has been pretty recent. It was during the last years of the nineteenth century that cork was used for flooring mainly because of its resilient qualities. And it remained a very popular form of flooring being used in several public buildings, including Chicago’s First Congregational Church, the Library of Congress in Washington, DC, and Lafayette College in Easton, PA. Cork flooring was made popular in housing designs by the world renowned architect Frank Lloyd Wright.
With the introduction of easy to maintain floorings during the 1950s, the interest in cork flooring waned. Materials like linoleum and vinyl had a wide range of colors and patterns, and it allowed people to create bright and colorful rooms. But cork having made such an impression already in the public’s mind, it was again back in vogue during the 1970s.
Cork Flooring Today
Today, cork is back again and the reasons are environmental as much as nostalgia. The concerns for limiting the damage to the environment and preserving the natural resources are priorities for many today. Using cork flooring for their homes is definitely a better option than to go for hardwood flooring. Cork is made from the bark of cork oak tree which is renewable. Since it’s renewable, hence it’s not causing any harm to the tree and there is virtually a limitless supply of the material. There are trees over two centuries old that still produce the bark which can be used to make cork. So it can be classified as a ‘green’ product.
Beyond being environmentally friendly, cork has other attributes which makes it a very good option for flooring. It is non-toxic, resists mold, mildew and insects and is anti-microbial. As flooring it is hypo-allergic, flame retardant and does not produce static electricity. Care and maintenance of cork floors is also much easier today. This can mainly be attributed to the newer techniques of manufacturing.