Cork

Filed in Construction, Design and Decor by on July 16, 2014

castelo cork lumberliquidators

Lisbon Cork: Castelo | Photo Source: Lumber Liquidators

Flooring is one of those striking features in a well-designed home that can change your mood when you walk through the door. A soothingly sultry dark hardwood floor can make you drop your shoulders, take a deep breath and relax: At last, you’re at the lake. And a soft, lush buttery cork floor in the kitchen beckons you to kick off your shoes, pour a glass of wine and cook up some comfort food.

Flooring trends are all about sustainability, durability and creating a warm, welcoming home. There are new flooring trends on the horizon, along with several improvements to the standard floor coverings such as vinyl and hardwood.

Hot trend? Cork!

Cork is the latest trend in flooring and it’s one of several environmentally sustainable flooring options available on the market for new construction or home remodeling. It’s harvested from the bark of the cork oak tree; the bark is naturally regenerated and harvested about once every nine years. Revered for its earth-friendly features, cork is also appreciated for its soft give underfoot, durability and insulative qualities.

Softness. Cork flooring is often described as “soft,” but it stands up very well to foot traffic and is much more durable than people may think. Cork’s air-pocket structure provides a natural spring-back feature under the pressure of heavy furniture or appliances. Cork’s resiliency also means that, if the floor is

dented, it will self-heal. However, experts recommend protecting any type of flooring when heavy items – such as a refrigerator or piano – need to be moved, rolled or dragged across the floor. Like any flooring, cork can be damaged by sharp edges.

Cork flooring is also a hypoallergenic for allergy suffers. Cork naturally produces a substance which repels bugs, mites and mold.

Lisbon Cork: Tobacco Road | Photo Source: Lumber Liquidators

Lisbon Cork: Tobacco Road | Photo Source: Lumber Liquidators

Insulative qualities. If you’re trying to reduce the echo in a large space with a high ceiling or you’d like to avoid startlingly frigid floors, consider cork flooring for its insulative qualities. The air cells in cork provide natural insulation, like an air cushion, to reduce the impact of noise. Flooring experts say cork is ideal for entertainment rooms, and designers have incorporated cork into walls and ceilings to help muffle sounds in rooms with high ceilings, wide expanses or hard surfaces.

When it comes to thermal insulation, cork is considered to be one of the most efficient materials for maintaining warmth. Industry experts say tests have proven cork flooring will always feel warmer to the touch than stone, ceramic or vinyl flooring.

What’s new in old favorites?

According to local flooring retailers and Design Quarterly, most flooring trends focus on sustainability, texture and warmth.

Carpet. The durability and texture of new, short fiber carpets draw attention. They’re durable enough for high traffic areas like stairs, but soft enough for bare feet, plus many provide an engineered-in stain resistances that never wears off and are available in a corn-based polymer.

The small nylon fibers of Lotus FX carpet handle heavy foot traffic well, and it’s very soft, said Tom Arnquist of Arnquist Color Tile in Alexandria. “Before, soft carpets tended to flatten, but this holds its retention and is extremely soft and extremely durable,” he says.

Ceramic. Large format tiles with small mosaic accent tiles have gained popularity. Tiles simulating natural flooring – wood, stone, leather and concrete continue to be in demand. Ceramic is popular among folks

Virginia Mill Works Marble Palace Maple Handscraped  | Photo Source: Lumber Liquidators

Virginia Mill Works Marble Palace Maple Handscraped | Photo Source: Lumber Liquidators

remodeling their lake homes because it’s easy to clean and stands up well to sandy feet and high traffic in common areas.

Hardwood. The color palette of hardwood floors continues to trend towards the dark stains, which are generally the preferred choice in the lakes area. Designers predict texture trends will continue with the distressed, hand-scraped or brushed look.

There’s also a wide variety of popular exotic woods such as eucalyptus and tiger wood.

Vinyl. Large tiles are a trend in vinyls. Vinyl provides a range of colors, is durable, and a protective no-wax topcoat is generally standard. Vinyl tiles that are grouted look a lot like ceramic tile, but they save money. Arnquist adds, “They’re also warmer and durable.”

Overall vinyl has really improved over the years. Were layers and inner cores in linoleum stand up better to protect against dents and tears. Plus, there are new products that can be loose laid in certain areas – no floor prep, no glue and it’s easy to remove.

by Amy Chaffins

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