This post is part of the Green Materials Report series. GBE is providing information on various building materials and what makes them green. Each post focuses on one material. We will be looking at the ingredients in the material, how it is used, what makes it green, and any green product certifications that it has earned. We hope to develop a database of information to help consumers make informed choices about what goes in their buildings. Enjoy the series!
Cork flooring is made from the bark of the cork oak tree, which is removed every nine years without harming the tree. It is naturally antimicrobial and hypoallergenic, so it is perfect for areas prone to germs, such as bathrooms and kitchens.
Cork flooring is made from granulate cork that is left over after making wine corks. The granulates are mixed with adhesive and cured under heat and pressure. It is then decorated with color and finished with a varnish. It is a soft floor with give in it, so it is more like walking on cushy carpet than a hard surface.
What Makes It Green
Cork is a natural building material that renews naturally without harming the source. Adhesives are added to the cork granulate to bind it into tiles or rolls. As long as these adhesives are made without harsh chemicals, the flooring itself is chemical-free. It is perfect for bathrooms, kitchens, restaurants, hospitals, schools, or any other projects where resilient flooring is required.
Green Product Certifications
GreenGuard – GreenGuard Certification provides the market with solutions and resources to identify products with lower chemical emissions, and provides manufacturers with credible tools to legitimize and promote their sustainability efforts.
Environmental Product Declaration for cork floor tiles courtesy of UL Environment
Health Product Declaration
A health product declaration for this product could not be found.
|Antimicrobial, hypoallergenic, fire-resistant||Can be easily scratched or damaged|
|Soft surface||Heavy items may dent flooring|
|Good insulator and acoustic buffer||Color may fade in sunlight|
|Easy to maintain||May warp if wet for a long time|
|Can be sanded down and refinished multiple times|
Sources: construction-environment.com, Get With Green, About.com
Photo: Globus Cork