What is cork flooring?

Cork flooring can give you as much variety in colors and patterns as other flooring options. See more green living pictures.
Photo courtesy of HomeStyleChoices.com

Cork is most widely known as a product used to preserve the quality of wine in bottles. It can also be fashioned as a board to post notes or reminders in an office. Yet, one of cork's most unique applications may leave you feeling like you are walking on air: cork flooring [source: Wicander].

Cork flooring isn't a new concept. These floors have been used in the United States since around the turn of the century [source: Tolli and The Finishing Store]. "It gives you sound control because it absorbs foot falls and noise," says Ann Wicander, president of WE Cork. "Traditionally, it's been used in libraries and churches, but now you see it everywhere."

Recently, the appeal of green, or environmentally friendly, products has prompted a renewed interest in cork flooring for the home. According to The American Institute of Architect's Home Design Survey in 2008, more than 60 percent of respondents saw an increased interest in sustainable flooring options such as cork [source: Baker].

In this article, we'll look at how cork flooring is created and installed along with its advantages and drawbacks as a flooring option. We'll start at the beginning with a discussion on how cork flooring is made.