Many alternatives to the traditional flooring products have become very popular in recent years. Two of those are bamboo and cork. These are both made from renewable resources and provide beautiful, durable flooring for your home.
Bamboo combines an exotic appearance with many of the elements of other hardwood flooring. It is available in both the solid and engineered planks and uses the tongue and groove method for joining them together. The differences appear in some of its unique qualities. Bamboo is a very hard material, over 25 percent harder than the red and white oaks commonly used in hardwood flooring today, which makes it very durable and long lasting. It is also very pliable which allows it to sustain blunt impacts without denting or bending. Bamboo can be installed in most areas of your home, including over concrete floors, using the floating floor, nail, staple or glue methods.
Bamboo has 25 times the yield of hardwood and makes virtually no impact on the environment when harvested. It renews itself every five to six years.
Bamboo comes in two basic colors with a wide variation in the actual shades of each. The natural bamboo is a lighter tone, while the carbonized, or fumed, bamboo has been darkened by a heating process to a rich caramel color. Given its beauty, durability and environmental friendliness, bamboo is a wonderful choice for flooring.
In recent years, cork flooring it has become popular again in the United States. It is made from the bark of a cork tree and has provided both beautiful and durable flooring for many centuries.
The bark of the cork tree is harvested every six - ten years, depending on the type of cork tree, with no damage to the tree itself. Cork trees typically live for 150-200 years!
In addition to its beauty, cork has a powerful sound deadening quality, is antimicrobial, and resistant to mold and mildew, and has insulating properties which reduce heating and cooling costs. Cork flooring can be used in most areas of your home, but is not recommended in heavily wet areas such as a bathroom, laundry room, and any other area which is routinely wet. It comes in either engineered planks or tiles which are tongue and groove, with a moisture-resistant inner core to secure them together. Cork is either glued down or installed over a floating floor. A limitation of cork flooring to take into consideration is that as a natural product, it fades in direct sunlight and can yellow with age. Like hardwood flooring, both cork and bamboo have the added health benefit of not harboring any allergens or microorganisms. In addition dust, mold and animal dander are minimal in homes with bamboo and cork floors. These two new alternatives to flooring are becoming increasingly popular with homeowners as they discover their beauty, durability and practicality.