Cork Flooring: The Cold Weather Floor

Now that we’re entering Winter, many of us are thinking of new ways to keep warm. And believe it or not, the type of flooring you choose can greatly affect the insulation of your home.

Many of us have chilly basements or rooms that experience a lot of heat loss through the floor. This is especially the case in older homes with crawlspaces or even those who live in mobile homes. This is often why cork flooring can be a sensible choice for any of these scenarios.

Cork flooring has a lot of benefits, but perhaps what most notice, at least when compared to other floors, that cork floors feel warmer to the touch than hardwood floors, laminate floors, tile floors and even vinyl floors.  Plus, cork is just a little softer feeling underfoot.

The reason that it feels warmer is because of the air trapped inside. This more porous flooring material traps more air and helps act as a barrier for heat loss and even cooling loss in the warmer season.

If you think about house insulation, it’s mostly air. Whether it’s the pink fiberglass you’re associated to seeing to foam insulation and even those made from bubble wrap, the one quality they all have is that they’re loaded with air. And if you’re installing a floor over a cold area, cork flooring can help substantially.

As it’s getting colder, this may be a greater concern. And if you’re shopping for new floors and the area you’re installing your new floor has inferior insulation, cork flooring can help insulate a room and will help limit heat loss in a home.

Also, many cork floors are made using a wear layer of cork attached to an HDF core, usually made from recycled materials. On the underside is a layer of cork underlayment that adds additional impact resistance. Ultimately what you have is two layers of one of the eco-friendliest natural flooring materials sandwiching a core made of 100% recycled materials. All of this combines to give you better thermal insulation and acoustics.

The same properties that make cork floors great insulators is also what makes them great acoustical barriers. They won’t only help a room retain heat, but they’ll also help with the annoying echoes that ping from room to room. This is especially true for rooms with high ceilings where echoes are more prominent and a larger issue. Cork flooring can reduce the noise associated with these areas.

When at one time cork floors were offered in largely natural cork looks and were mostly used in glue down floor installations, many of today’s cork floors are click cork floors. They are primarily used in floating floor installations and can be installed over most types of subfloors. Many choose cork for their basements to warm a naturally chilly room, while others install cork flooring in a bedroom to make that first step in the morning a warmer, more comfortable one.

Cork flooring addresses many issues that bother us about our current floors, from the way they feel, to the way they sound and even how they perform. And now that they’re available in several types of looks, we’re no longer limited to a natural cork or even stained cork look. Many cork floors now look more like other floors, from cork flooring that looks like hardwood to cork that has a bamboo floor feel.

The flooring consumer now has a lot more choices and can find the perfect cork floor that adds comfort, function, style and performance to any space.


3 thoughts on “Cork Flooring: The Cold Weather Floor”

  1. I noticed in the beginning you said for the basement; while cork material is naturally resistant to moisture if your basement is prone to flooding you may not want to install a cork floor. I would also use a floating cork floor in a basement instead of cork tiles, makes it easier to replace.

  2. I’m considering cork for kitchen and office area. Questions/concerns are choosing glue down over floating floor installation. I’ve never walked on a floating floor that didn’t sound a little hollow. I do not want that. Is cork the same as laminate in that regard?

    Also, in office, what will I need to do to be sure my rolling office chairs don’t cause a problem?

    Is there a difference in brands? What ones are recommended?

    1. 1. cork is better for sound than laminate is right off the bat.
      2. adding 6mm cork underyoo underlayment would be ideal to make a really solid and natural sounding floor while having great comfort underfoot.
      3. If you use office chairs directly on the cork they should have rubber casters and you should probably recoat the floor every year or two when those areas show a dulling effect.
      4. In terms of cork brands there are a few options. Wicanders has great stuff – but typically at the high end. often has a decent range in the median price ranges. will sometimes have blowouts or other specials that kill other guys on price. Envirochoice cork (not envirocork) is a good brand. bare naked cork is a good one and qork cork have been very popular brands that we have seen alot of positive comments about.

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