All you need to know about Cork Flooring in the UK
In this article, we will tell you EVERYTHING you need to know about Cork Flooring and Cork Flooring within the UK. From the advantages and disadvantages of Cork Flooring to which type of Cork Flooring will help you achieve your flooring goals. As always, Floorsauce comes from a place of zero bias and brand affiliation. If you have worked with us before you will know that we 'sauce' the best product from around the world for your project and goals. So let's go ahead and talk about Cork Flooring.
How is Cork Flooring produced?
Cork is one of natures wonders. It is produced by the Cork Oak trees which are predominately found mainly within Portugal and Spain. Hence why most Cork Flooring manufacturers you'll find will have deep roots within Portugal.
A Cork tree matures for 25 years before it is ready to be harvested. Specially trained cork harvesters will then strip the bark from the trees. Floorsauce experts have been to visit the Cork forests of Portugal and we can definitely say that this is a skill that is extremely difficult and passed down through generations.
The process of stripping the bark does not harm the tree in any way. The tree lives on and cannot be harvested then for another 9 to 12 years as the bark regenerates. This makes Cork one of nature's most sustainable sources and also why it makes Cork one of Floorsauce's favorite materials when the project goal is sustainability.
The bark, once stripped, is then left out in the sun to cure before being shipped to a processing facility where it is cleaned and inspected. It is then ground up and boiled to produce sheets of Cork which can then be produced into different shapes and structures dependent on the flooring manufacturer. It truly is natures floor.
What does Cork Flooring give me that other types of Flooring cannot?
Firstly as we have discussed above, Cork Flooring is the most sustainable, eco-friendly and green floor available to purchase. It is totally self-sustained as a core material. The fact that it is a natural material also gives it many other properties that we cannot get from a man-made product.
Cork has a honeycomb structure that nature put in place to protect the tree from changes in weather temperature. This means that cork has over 40 million cells per cubic centimeter. This leads to many advantages, including fire retardancy, durability, and thermal and acoustic advantages. Let's discuss these below.
Acoustic Insulation is one aspect in which Cork excels. The natural honeycomb structure that Cork has absorbs sound
in a way that no other material can. Most materials reflect sound as opposed to absorbing it. This lends itself to ANY project that has an acoustic goal, be that a sound studio or apartments where you want to reduce the level of noise from floor to floor. Corks absorbent structure absorbs up to 40% of frequencies of the human voice, Even a thin layer of cork can give you 10dB of sound absorption.
Another advantage of Cork's honeycomb structure is that it is one of the only materials that, when compressed on one side, does not increase in volume on the other side of the structure. This means that a cork floor adapts perfectly to changes in temperature and pressure. Making it resistant to abrasion and perfect for a high traffic environment.
Cork's natural structure also creates a natural softness which creates a comforting underfoot feel. Something difficult to replicate with other materials. Don't get me wrong, it isn't spongy but the millions of cells provide a comfort that is noticeable in prolonged periods of standing.
Now let's talk about suberin, that's what you came here for right... Suberin is a naturally occurring substance in cork that repels mold, bugs and the like, This means that cork is naturally hypo-allergenic and perfect for a project that may have a hypo-allergenic goal.
When would we not recommend you to have a Cork Floor?
Cork Floors do, of course, have their disadvantages also. However, with several different options, sauced by us here at Floorsauce, some of these can be overcome with certain Cork products.
Cork can be an issue when introduced to water. If a flood was to occur the cork floor could warp and potentially discolor. However, this is not an excuse to dismiss cork flooring as an option. At Floorsauce we have great relationships with fantastic producers all around the world who have produced fully waterproof cork floors. So you can get all of the above advantages in places where you may not have thought it was possible to have a Cork Floor.
Designers, this one is for you. By having a cork floor, you do not have to have a natural cork colored floor. This is always quoted as being a disadvantage of a cork floor. However, we have sauced products from across the pond that could offer you Cork Floors in ANY colour, we can even match them to your mood board colours or paint samples. Plus we can do the floor for you in over ANY shape. Therefore if you had a project in mind that required a purple herringbone cork floor. We will sauce it for you. Anything is possible.
Finally, due to the honeycomb structure of Cork. Sharp objects and very heavy objects can cause punctures and indentation. However, this can be alleviated to some degree with the Cork Flooring product that you choose. As always we would never recommend or sauce a product that wasn't fit for your project goals.
Are there any limitations on design with a cork floor?
The short answer to this is, no. Any shape, any colour, any tile size, any layout. Cork is versatile and can also be finished in any way you like.
If you want a waterproof cork tile for a commercial job or a design-led custom size mosaic tile for a boutique hotel (like the image below) it's possible.
Our job is to provide you with what you want, not what we have.
If Cork is a product you like, drop us a message below and let's create together.
How much does Cork Flooring cost in the UK?
We could write a whole article on this but we will keep it simple and keep to the facts and stats.
We will split 'Cork Flooring' into 4 categories. Basic, Coloured, Wood Effect and Waterproof.
Basic - This is simply a finished cork flooring sheet, it looks like cork it has the benefits of cork and is the truest to its natural state. So we researched the UK Cork Market, which isn't the biggest, and found prices ranging from £16.80 per square meter to £44.00 per square meter.
Coloured Cork - This is a naturally coloured cork that keeps its natural state but is dyed naturally. Now we only found one place in the UK selling this in a very very limited number and the price was £20.10 per square meter. However, this style of cork is our favourite here at Floorsauce and we have 'sauced' over 250 different colours, so get in contact below if you have a project in mind.
Waterproof - Waterproof Cork flooring is something that is available. HOWEVER, lots of products simply add a vinyl layer on top of the cork, which seems to go against all of the sustainability factors we have spoken about. So we will put the prices here but do be careful if sustainability is important to you. Prices range from £49.00 to £65.99 per square meter.
Wood Look - Wood-look cork flooring again will likely have a PVC layer on top to account for the design layer. Prices range from £34.00 to £45.09 per square meter.
These are of course guide prices for if you were to purchase the floor yourself, if you have a big residential or commercial project and you would like to use Cork Flooring, then get in contact below. We will sauce the correct floor for your project within your budget. That is what we are here for, we are your flooring concierge.
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