New looks, including stone, wood and textiles, expand uses for cork flooring
Some of it looks like stone. Some of it looks like marble, granite, wood and textiles. But it is an illusion, enabled by the latest digital optic technology that embosses these patterns directly onto the cork.
“You cannot tell its cork until you touch it,” says Tim Tompkins, national marketing director for Wicanders. “We are able to print these patterns directly on our cork veneers. The texture of the cork veneer beneath it adds more texture and realism to the finished product, and each floor is a fingerprint of itself as no two planks, panels or tiles are identical. It’s very amazing technology.”
Does this technology mean adding anything plastic or synthetic to this natural product?
Artcomfort is still in the introduction process, and samples are expected to be delivered to flooring dealers who sell Wicanders products in June. Tompkins says that because the patterns are printed directly on the cork, Artcomfort is currently one-of-a-kind. Another big plus: These products also are colorfast, which eliminates fading due to sunlight exposure.
Artcomfort, developed for Wicanders by parent company Amorim Revestimentos, is expected to sell for $5.49 to $5.99 per square foot, before installation.
Patterns look real
“I looked at it online just now,” says Mike Smith, an account manager at ProSource Wholesale Flooring in Cincinnati. “It looks very unique and much better than the competitor’s version, which is too shiny, I think, and kind of looks fake. The Wicanders is pretty cool looking, and definitely doesn’t look like cork.”
New, non-cork looks that also have the warmth, resilience, anti-static and insulation properties of cork will be welcomed by customers at Major Brands Floor Supply/Abbey Carpet of Seattle, WA, says Mark Thompson, sales manager. Artcomfort is finished with the same WRT (Wear Resistant Technology) or HPS (High Performance Surface) finishes Wicanders uses on the rest of its cork line. The WRT finish is UV-cured acrylic with ceramic beads. HPS is UV-cured acrylic with nano particles.
“Wicanders cork has been a sweet complement to my Natural Flooring Department,” Thompson says. “I hope to see the new line soon. The ability of cork to offer warmth, comfort underfoot, colors, patterns and burl with depth, and easy reparability due panels with a click locking system, all make this a no-brainer, must-recommend product.”©
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– Nancy Kibbee is editor at www.naturalinteriors.com.