If you've been keeping up with the interior design trends, you may have noticed that an increasing number of people are electing to purchase wood products such as flooring from cork and bamboo rather than traditional hardwood. If you're renovating and are wondering what the big fuss over bamboo and cork is all about, this article should provide you with the information you need to decide if this type of flooring is right for you and your home.
One of the biggest reasons that cork and bamboo have become so popular in recent years is that they are much more eco friendly than traditional hardwoods. In order to get Cherry, Oak, or Pine to build custom cabinets, the trees must be cut down and sawed into planks, which kills the plant. To get more hardwood, you have to plant a new tree and wait upward of eighty years before it is ready to be cut down. This is very inefficient. Every tree cut down is a tree that is not cleansing the atmosphere of carbon dioxide.
By contrast, both cork and bamboo are renewable resources. Bamboo is a grass rather than a tree and it can be "mowed" several times a year after it reaches maturity (after about 3 years). The plant does not die to renovate your condo. Many flooring companies that sell cork tell a similar story. Cork is a type of oak, but instead of being cut down for flooring, only their bark is harvested. The plant lives and can replace its bark in about a decade.
Though they share environmental characteristics, the two types of flooring are quite different to have in the house. Bamboo is very hard, comparable to traditional hardwoods like maple and oak, while cork has a compressible honeycomb structure that makes it quite spongy to walk on. A real estate agent might recommend buying a cork-floored house if you have back or leg problems from excessive standing. They also look very different, with bamboo being very similar to hardwood and cork having a mottled look much like the inside of a tree.
To get a bamboo or cork floor in your house, you can easily buy the tiles or planks from a home store and install them yourself, or you can get the installation package from the store. Alternatively, if you're buying into a new development, you can get your contractor to swap out the materials they're using on the other homes with cork or bamboo. Price wise, cork and bamboo cost between $2 and $8 per square foot, which is comparable to traditional hardwood flooring. Cork tends to be a little more expensive on average than bamboo.
Bamboo versus Cork Flooring - pros and cons.