A recent article in Dwell's September issue about green flooring caught my attention when a photo of seemingly "Polk dotted flooring" appeared. Further reading revealed that this was cork flooring made from the waste of the cork bottle-stop industry.
Because the flooring is made from the waste of the industry, it's recycling, as well as considered green because cork is a "rapidly renewable material because it grows back in seven years" [has anyone else heard that the cork industry was in trouble, hence some wine with rubber stoppers?]
As a green source we know it's good, but it also has some other really great benefits as well. Placed in a kitchen it could help on the "standing" leg fatigue, and when something drops could possibly prevent a breakage. But a fact that really surprised me and will help our friends outside of So. California is that cork, year round, maintains itself at 70 degrees--Just another bonus to being green and assisting the heat and air issues.
Cork Mosaic Flooring is available in two diameters, wine or "penny" size and a 1 3/8" to assist with large surface areas. It can be custom stained, is appropriate for bathrooms and saunas with a natural waterproof and a non-slippery surface to it. Other benefits cork has is that it is: anti-static, anti-bacterial, low maintenance, and can be applied to a wall as a mosaic or to create soundproofing measures. To be honest, I'm surprised that it hasn't been used in more high ceiling restaurants as a sound absorbing graphic structure.
At $12-$20 a square foot, it's not the cheapest solution to a flooring need but with the benefits with temperature I think it may pay off in other ways over the long haul.
So it may be that I'm just thinking of low grade cork but I have some questions for our readers…does anyone have cork flooring new or old? How is it to clean? Has anyone had issues with wear spots such as sinking areas at the cutting board or sink? And the all present female perspective…what happens if you were wearing your favorite high heels would it puncture or dent the cork in ways that wouldn't bounce back? I'd love to hear from someone who lives with it day in and day out.