cork flooring Tag

A growing number of flooring consumers know more about people-friendly products than mainstream flooring salespeople do When a consumer is intent on finding a specific product and spends hours researching it, she might be more knowledgeable than the salesperson when she gets to the store. Jennifer Lutz recalls how frustrated she was when she went to a mainstream flooring store, asking about natural carpet and hard-surface flooring that had third-party indoor-air quality certification. This drove her back to the computer and her Google searches, which put her in contact with Natural Interiors.® “I didn’t feel like the salespeople at the store knew what they were talking about or even understood my questions in regard to certifications and VOCs,” says Lutz of Lebanon, OH. “It is very important to me, and I do not want to spend money to buy a product that does not meet my standards.”

Low- and zero-VOC hardwood finishing program expands with architect’s vision OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERACincinnati Architect Adam Fosnaugh was in awe of a wood floor made in Denmark. It was the look he wanted for the first floor of the Clifton home he and his wife are remodeling. Could we recreate this aesthetic?, he asked. It was White Oak plank, bleached in color, not too white, but no yellow tones that are typical with traditional hardwood finishes. Oh and yes, it had to be low- or zero-VOC. Adam is a LEED AP at MSA Architects. His wife, Margot, is a chemical engineer and air quality consultant, and they have a 1-1/2-year-old daughter. Indoor-air quality, in addition to the perfect color, also would be important for the cork flooring they would select for the second floor.

Custom design in cork gives light and warmth to dark kitchen Laura cork 2IMG_0037Laura wasn’t kidding when she said her new kitchen floor had to create a warmer, brighter space than the brown vinyl that once covered the floor in this room with very little natural light. Something natural that was indoor-air friendly would also be a plus, Laura thought as she began to research different floors.  Tile was her first choice. But the cement board  required as an underlayment would have raised the kitchen floor much higher than the adjoining rooms of carpet, hardwood and slate. She found a design – in cork flooring tiles – that she liked online, and selected colors for her own custom look. 

What do ceramic nano beads mean for softness underfoot?  005Q. I am puzzled about the ceramic bead layers advertised as being part of the finish on Wicanders Cork Flooring. Does this add considerable hardness to the cork surface?  I’m seeing the comfort aspect of cork, and am actually replacing ceramic tile with the cork – so I don’t want to replace hard ceramic with hard ceramic! A. The ceramic beads are crystals that are embedded in the layers of the UV- cured urethane finish that is topically applied at the plant during the final stages of the manufacturing process. These tiny microscopic particles do not add to the hardness of the cork, but rather to the long-term wear-ability of the finish.

New cork products from Wicanders look like ceramic, stone and wood Why make cork flooring that looks like ceramic tile or wood? Obviously to expand the uses for cork, which unlike tile, is warm and comfortable to walk on. The new Artcomfort and Woodcomfort lines from Wicanders manage to do this without using plastics or synthetics to create the pattern. First publicized in April, see Cork 2012-Style, product displays are now available and have just arriving at retail locations.

Cork, sustainable hardwood, oil and low-VOC finishes top list in homeowner’s meticulous selections Cork flooring upstairs. Hardwood with an oil finish downstairs. Stained Red Oak, from Indiana forests considered sustainable by Indiana Hardwood Lumbermen’s Association, reaches from the spacious foyer and into the dining room. It changes to a basket weave pattern in the family room. Lorinn Williams of Indian Hill, OH, began planning this home two years ago. Her 12-year-old daughter encouraged her to select as many “green” products as she could.

Why do you harp on Indoor Air Quality Certifications? Q. If cork flooring is a natural material, why do you put so much emphasis on whether the manufacturer has gotten the flooring certified through chemical emissions testing? A. There are many natural flooring products on the market. But very few of them are made without chemicals and additives. Cork flooring is beautifully natural and sustainable. But it cannot be made without some extra ingredients – like adhesive. After wine bottle stoppers are punched out of the bark of the Cork Oak Trees in and around Portugal, cork that will be made into flooring is ground up, mixed with pigments, and adhesive. Fortunately, cork producers in the Mediterranean region are known for their attention to environmentally sound adhesives and additives. Once the sheets of cork are produced, more materials are introduced. If the cork will be used for engineered flooring, which is made in layers, the core of the floor with be HDF (High Density Fiber Board). And if the flooring – engineered or solid – will be prefinished, anything from a simple water-based polyurethane to a proprietary aluminum oxide or ceramic finish, to a high-tech nano finish, will be applied to the surface.

Anderson Township, OH, family completes new home with natural oil hardwood finish and cork When the original plan for putting strand bamboo flooring in the new home they were building in Anderson Township, OH, went awry, Jennifer and Carlton Monroe reviewed their priorities. “I wanted something natural,” Jennifer recalls. “But it also occurred to me that on the first floor, I wanted something that was spot-repairable.” This was the beginning of a selection process that ended with the Monroes putting hardwood – finished on site with a natural, hard-wax oil -- on the first floor, and cork flooring upstairs in the bedrooms and hallway.

From narrow planks that look like hardwood to large, defined tiles, cork’s design possibilities keep increasing As this year began, two manufacturers anticipated huge consumer attention on their newest products – cork flooring planks designed to look like wood. With this introduction, Wicanders Cork  and USFloors revolutionized the appearance of cork floors, which until then, was limited to larger panels and  squares. New is good and consumers are taking note. But panels and squares are in no danger of extinction. “The hottest trend we have seen in cork has been the large-format cork tiles,” says Sam Snow, owner of EcoFloors in Portland, OR. “They offer a unique look by having micro-beveled edges that really make the large format stand out. It’s a look of cork with a layout more similar to tile. The skinny cork planks have also gained some interest . They provide more of a hardwood look that works great in smaller, galley kitchens and little spaces where a larger format is not as appropriate.”