Over the years, cork tiles have become a preferred choice for builders and homeowners due to its numerous benefits. However, cork is not only being used as a direct flooring material, it is also popular as an underlayment for other flooring materials such as hardwood and bamboo. Since cork underlayment possesses the same properties of cork floor tiles, it provides many of the same benefits. Here are the top 6 advantages of using cork underlayment.
Resiliency – Cork is preferred over other underlayment materials due its resiliency. It acts like a soft yet stable, cushion for flooring materials. Cork is made up of a honeycomb structure that traps air. Inside are billions of small pockets of air that contracts and expands according to pressure. This elastic property of the underlay makes it ideal for subfloors that have minor imperfections.
Sound absorbent – Cork underlayment is commonly used in rooms where noise is unwanted because of its sound absorbent properties. It is particularly useful in structures that have multiple floors such as a two or more stories homes or office buildings.
Heat & Cold Insulator – One of the properties of cork underlayment that makes it a popular choice among homeowners is that it is an excellent insulator of heat and cold. In the winter, it traps heat in the home thereby requiring less energy to heat the home. In the summer, it acts as a barrier preventing cold air from escaping, thus energy is also saved when cooling the home.
Water Resistant – Cork is naturally resistant to water, which is why it is being used for centuries as wine bottle stoppers. Used as an underlayment, it prevents moisture from seeping through a concrete subfloor, thus preventing damage to cork or hardwood tiles above. However, it is important to remember that although cork is water resistant, it is not waterproof. It can be damaged if submerged in water for long periods.
Hypoallergenic – Cork underlayment is a popular choice for homeowners who are sensitive to dust and molds. Cork is resistant to molds and bacteria thus creating an allergen-free environment.
Eco-friendly – Cork underlayment and cork tiles are a popular choice among homeowners who are concerned about protecting the environment. Cork comes from the bark of a cork oak tree. The bark from this tree is removed by hand every 9 years. A thin layer of bark is left on the trunk of the tree so it can be harvested again after another 9 years. The tree is not harmed in any way, thus making cork flooring products eco-friendly.
Cork underlayment and cork tiles may be more expensive than other flooring materials, but it is still a popular choice because of its many advantages. For some people, the fact that cork is an eco-friendly material makes it the perfect choice regardless of higher costs. For other, the combination of benefits more than compensates for the additional cost. The fact that cork has been used for centuries as a flooring material yet only gaining popularity in the recent years is surprising.