Which is the Better Green Flooring Option – Cork or Bamboo?

January 8, 2011

One of the questions we are asked on a fairly regular basis is “Which is better – cork or bamboo flooring?” The fact is there is no simple answer to this question as both flooring materials possess their own unique set of pros and cons. Just like the answer to “what is better hardwood or carpet? “ is often down to a matter of personal preference, room traffic and budget the same holds true for the bamboo vs. cork debate.

One of the biggest reasons that homeowners begin looking at cork and bamboo flooring in the first place is that they are seeking an eco friendly flooring material to add to their homes. As it is a grass rather than a tree bamboo is a rather obvious eco friendly choice as a whole field full can be replenished in a matter of just a few years.

Many people know that cork comes from the cork tree and may think that fact makes cork a poorer green choice than bamboo. What they often do not know though is that cork flooring is created from bark carefully scraped from the tree. After the tree has been harvested it is no worse for wear and can be safely harvested again within a decade.

In terms of variety many people feel that bamboo offers a wider choice from a visual standpoint as bamboo flooring can be found in a number of different hues, can be boiled to create a great many color variations and can also be woven into several different textures. This certainly is true but these days there are far more cork flooring variations available for home owners to choose from, usually something to suit every aesthetic preference.

Bamboo and cork do offer varying benefits in terms of overall performance as a flooring material. Bamboo is a very hard flooring product, as hard as most traditional hardwoods and therefore every bit as durable. Cork flooring is softer, as it retains its natural “give” and sponginess. However if correctly finished sealed and installed it too is a very durable flooring choice.

Some consumers ultimately opt for cork over bamboo flooring because of that extra give. When installed in a kitchen the extra support that cork flooring provides can provide welcome relief for cooks prone to back aches or leg pain and cork’s sound absorption properties are very impressive.

On the other hand for homes filled with active children and boisterous pets bamboo flooring may be the better choice as it tends not to dent as easily as some cork flooring can. Bamboo also may be the better choice for rooms that receive a great deal of direct sunlight as cork will fade in the light of intense sun.

Ultimately both cork and bamboo are excellent flooring choices well worth considering. A good flooring salesperson will be more than happy to go into even greater detail about the pros and cons of both flooring types, enabling you to make an informed decision that you will be happy with for the lifetime of your new floors.

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