Although it is still a relatively unusual flooring material, natural cork flooring is becoming more popular in bedrooms, where it has many virtues. Among its most important features is its ability to insulate between floors. This can help provide soundproofing while also helping keep heat and air conditioning where it belongs.
Spongy and soft underfoot: Cork is a yielding surface that is extremely comfortable on the feet. Next to carpeting, this is one of the most forgiving floors when a person falls.
Warm underfoot: This material is warmer than hardwood, though not as cozy as carpeting.
Insulation value: Cork is filled with millions of tiny air bubbles, which serve to offer both thermal and sound insulation value.
Easy maintenance: Unlike carpet, which can be a chore to take care of, cork flooring is relatively hassle-free. As long as the surface seal is properly applied, and the seal is periodically reapplied, the material itself will be virtually immune to stains.
Anti-allergy, anti-microbial: Cork is naturally resistant to microbes and dust-trapping static, which means that it doesn’t cause the same air-quality problems often caused by carpeting.
Less “green” than hardwood: While cork itself is a natural material that doesn’t pollute, the manufacturing process uses resins and adhesives that use synthetic chemicals. You may have trouble finding a recycling center that will accept old cork flooring. But cork is still better for the environment than carpeting, vinyl, or laminate flooring.
Easily scratched: The big problem with cork flooring is that it is a relatively soft material and will easily scratch from pet claws, furniture legs, and high heels.
Shorter lifespan than hardwood: Cork will have to be replaced periodically,, although some products can be refinished a few times between installations. Well cared for, however, a cork floor can still last 25 years.
Relatively expensive: Cork is nearly as expensive as hardwood, with thicker, higher quality, longer-lasting cork floors costing as much as many hardwood options.