Sustainable Flooring Decisions: Bamboo vs. Cork Flooring

Posted on September 22nd, 2014 by

By virtue of their high reproductive rates, both bamboo and cork are considered sustainable flooring materials. Yet not all plants are created equal. Is bamboo better than cork? Or will cork put a stop to it?

As a premier source for hardwood flooring in Carrollton, we’ve noticed the increasing popularity of cork and bamboo flooring for homes and offices and wanted to share some information about each and why one might be more appropriate for you than the other.

Bamboo Flooring

Bamboo, most popularly known as an edible grass beloved by pandas, has entered the flooring marketing as a durable and easy to maintain flooring option. Its durability is one of its main traits – when stretched, steel will snap before bamboo breaks!

After being split and glued into planks, bamboo forms a gorgeous hardwood lookalike. Planks can be manufactured with vertical or horizontal grain. Bamboo is scratch and chip-resistant, but does deteriorate when moist. New homes can receive LEED credits when using sustainably sourced bamboo flooring.

Cork Flooring

Cork is an adsorbent bark stripped from cork trees in the Mediterranean.  Cork floors hit their popularity peak in the 1970s. However, today they are coming back in style and are available in six natural grains and two synthetic forms: planks and tiles. It forms a soft, springy floor suited for playrooms and hallways. Neither mold, mildew nor fire can easily damage the brown material, and high-density cork is a natural thermal and acoustic insulator.

Cork floors expand and contract in humid climates, which may cause cracks. Cork must be sealed and lacquered to prevent damage and periodically re-sealed with polyurethane or wax. Heavy furniture leaves permanent dents.

Is cork’s soft, springy texture worth its chaotic appearance? Is bamboo’s beautiful grain worth its sensitivity to moisture? Ultimately, the choice will depend on your personal tastes and lifestyle. For more information or to view samples in person, head over to CMA flooring in Carrollton or contact us at 888-262-6552 for more information or to request a free in-home consultation.