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Learn about Natural Cork Flooring

Natural Cork Flooring

Cork is made from the outer bark of the cork oak, a species of tree in the oak family that is indigenous to Southern Europe. A flexible material, cork makes a very comfortable floor that looks a bit like textured wood, and is resistant to dents and stains. It also has fire retardant properties, will not rot, and is hypoallergenic.

Look for FSC (Forest Stewardship Council) certified cork flooring, to ensure that the cork comes from sustainably managed forests, or flooring made from recycled cork. Check that the flooring is made with no VOC (volatile organic compounds). Consider the finish also, looking for low- or no-VOCs.

Cork is a renewable material that can be harvested from the outside of the tree, which then regenerates over 12 to 15 years. Since the tree is not cut down to harvest the cork, a forest or plantation of cork oak trees can be maintained over the 150 year natural lifespan of the cork oak tree.

Cork floors have been in use in North America for over a century. The old Toronto Stock Exchange had cork floors, to spare the soles of the traders who were on their feet all day.