Natural Cork is enjoying a resurgence in popularity today. From television design shows to shelter magazines, Natural Cork is seemingly everywhere and ostensibly the "hottest new product" on the market.
Many people think of cork as a relatively new and possibly unreliable option particularly as a surface flooring material. And yet, there are examples of Natural Cork floors in public buildings that were installed over 100-years ago and are still in use today. The Library of Congress in Washington, DC is one excellent case.
At IQ Floors, we love to sell cork because we feel it is the answer to so many flooring dillemas in Colorado. Here we have a product that promotes environmental responsibility, provides strong insullatory factors, and can be installed as a floating floor to prevent some of our climate's concerns.
Most cork floors are designed to be floated, therefore, they are either glued at the tounge and groove, or they are "click and lock" products. If you have a choice, the click together products are engineered wonderfully, and make for an even easier installation.
It is cork’s gaseous composition that makes the cork both compressible and elastic and allows it to return to its original shape after being subjected to pressure. This is the reason why cork floors are extremely durable. When the cork is subjected to strong pressure the air in the cells is compressed and reduces in volume, when released from pressure the cork immediately recovers back from indentation. Nova Distinctive Floors’ factory finish of water-based polyurethane also adds durability for your floors to last long.
Cork is the soft tissue composed of dead cells found in the inner bark of the cork oak tree with a honeycomb structure that has 100 million air-cells per cubic inch. Trees must be 25 years old before the first harvesting (virgin cork) of cork can occur. Average life span of the cork oak tree is 150-200 years. The older the tree is the better quality of cork it can produce. Every 9 to 10 years, the bark of the cork tree is stripped from its trunks. Then the planks are sorted and stacked in the forest for 6 months. Exposure to air, sun, rain and wind triggers chemical transformations that improve the cork’s quality.
Even though cork comes from a renewable resource and also recyclable, Nova Distinctive Floors takes it one step forward in its manufacturing process by recycling 100% of our manufacturing by-products for our facility’s heating system. We are dedicated to protect our environment by using renewable resources to manufacture cork floors and provide a unique flooring system for your design needs.
Cork is harvested from the bark of the cork oak tree (Quercus Suber) that is indigenous to Western Mediterranean region, mainly Portugal and Spain. Its documented use ironically goes back to ancient Egypt; considering the distance from where cork oak naturally grow, where tombs dating back thousands of years were found to contain ceramic jugs with cork stoppers. In the 18th century, Dom Pierre Perignon recognized the ability of cork to contain champagne and wine, which is one of the most significant discoveries leading toward the development of a modern cork industry. Today, cork is used in the manufacture of stoppers, floor coverings, facings for wall and ceilings, footwear, fishing equipment etc.
Product density is determined by the size of the cork granules used. Larger granules have fewer voids to be filled by binding agents and therefore produce a higher density cork. Large cork granules, with high density, are used as the top layer of all Natural Cork floating floors and parquet tiles to ensure the durablity of the floor. Lower density cork is only used on the bottom layer of the floating floor plank for added thermal, acoustical, and mold resistance properties.
Natural Cork can be purchased unfinished but, unlike some wood, it must be finished upon installation. Though some people continue to prefer paste wax, the most common finish today is polyurethane. There are suppliers who offer cork with a vinyl coating that is low maintenance but cannot be refinished or easily repaired. The latest development in finishes is "anti-scratch", a more durable coating. Cleaning and maintenance products are available from USFloors.
The thickness of the Natural Cork wear layer has less to do with durability than will density. However, it will be a source of improved insulation both acoustic and thermal. A good standard thickness is 4 mm for parquet tiles, while a 3 mm top layer and 2-3 mm bottom layer is good for floating floors with an HDF core.