When it comes to your home design, every feature needs to provide two things: form and function. This includes the floors of your home as well. Your floors need to be long lasting and durable since they will be absorbing plenty of weight from both furniture and foot traffic; however, the aesthetic is important as well since the look is what will help the floor to compliment the rest of the home’s design.
While many homeowners decide to go with more traditional flooring materials such as wood, there are plenty of different flooring options available, including tile and vinyl. However, two flooring materials that are very similar to wood have become increasingly popular over the last few years: bamboo and cork.
Both bamboo and cork have a number of benefits and a few drawbacks as well. The following rundown of the pros and cons of bamboo and cork should help you decide between the two.
Many people think of wine corks or bulletin boards when they think of cork, but cork is actually an excellent floor material as well. One of the draws of using cork is its sustainability. Cork comes from cork oak trees; however, the trees are not cut down in order to obtain the cork material. Instead, the material comes from the bark of the tree. This means that the bark can be stripped from the tree without harming the tree itself. Cork acts as a great insulator as well. It’s a very dense material, meaning that it is very durable and can withstand heavy foot traffic. Although it’s very dense, it also happens to be soft, thereby making it incredibly comfortable to walk on.
Although cork is relatively easy to maintain, it should be kept away from heat, humidity and sunlight in order to last as long as possible. Cork comes in a wide selection of textures and patterns and can be laid down in tile form as well as panels. The only drawback of using cork flooring is that the material must be sealed in order to protect against moisture and damage. It can also be a little difficult to install and to repair if it’s damaged, something that can pose an issue due to the fact that cork is susceptible to scratches.
Bamboo flooring provides a beautiful natural look to the home. Like cork, bamboo is completely sustainable. This is because bamboo is actually a grass. As a grass, bamboo can grow several feet per day, which means that once it’s cut down, it doesn’t take long for it to be replaced. Bamboo is also easily grown throughout the world. Not only does this make bamboo an eco-friendly option, it’s often a much more affordable option as well due to its ready availability. Cured bamboo is also very durable, which is why it’s often used in areas with heavy traffic, such as the kitchen. Bamboo is scratch resistant as well. Cleaning bamboo floors is incredibly easy, and requires little more than wiping it down or vacuuming it.
Unlike hardwood, bamboo does not expand or contract with changes in humidity. In fact, bamboo fibers do not swell at all when exposed to moisture. The only real drawback of bamboo floors is the fact that manufacturer’s standards can vary greatly, and without sealing it, bamboo can stain. Bamboo is also known for being relatively easy to install, and repairs are rarely necessary.
So is bamboo or cork a better flooring option? It is difficult to say for everyone which is better, because as you can see they both have several pros and cons, and many of them are similar between the two materials. So it really comes down to a matter of personal preference when it comes to the choice between these two materials. Both bamboo and cork are beautiful, eco-friendly options; however, bamboo tends to be the more affordable and the more durable, if only by a small margin, of the two.
About the Author
Nicole provides advice and information on the best flooring options for the home. She recommends Bamboozle for great environmentally friendly flooring options.