Cork has been manufactured and used since ancient times, but cork flooring has only been around for a little over a century. Cork floorings’ heyday was in the 1950s.
Cork flooring is made from the outer bark of evergreen oaks. Evergreen oaks AKA cork trees grow in the Mediterranean region, and they are able to be harvested about every 10 years. The bark can be harvested without damaging the tree. The tree will just grow a new layer of bark – doing so 12 to 13 times during the tree’s lifespan. Cork trees are both renewable and sustainable. The material is also biodegradable.
Cork flooring comes in an infinite number of patterns and colors. Cork is naturally a light to dark tan, but it can be dyed almost any color. The color can fade over time due to exposure to sunlight.
Pros: Cork flooring is resilient and more comfortable to stand on than wood or tile. It is low maintenance, antimicrobial, and resistant to water and insects. The material will not mold or mildew.
Cons: Because cork is soft, it is susceptible to damage. It is also porous, so it requires periodic sealing.