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Cork Flooring is Marvelous

jesup memorial library bar harbor maine

This is the Jesup Memorial Library in Bar Harbor. You can go there next week to see and walk on its cork flooring. The flooring has not been maintained as well as it should have been, but it's still in service. It was installed in 1911. Need I say more? Copyright 2024 Tim Carter

Cork Flooring Should Be on Your Radar - It's Magical

What I’m about to share with you might amaze you. I’ve heard it said before that one doesn’t know what they don’t know. To me, that infers you may be unaware of something that previously had been hidden from you. It’s happened to me numerous times during my life.

One odd example happened to me about twenty years ago. For decades I spent all my time in the USA. A business trip had me travel to Toronto, Canada. It’s a huge city and while being driven to a television station, I looked at the traffic signals at a busy intersection. Much to my surprise there was no separate green light turn arrow. After several seconds, the green light began to flash. Instead of having an extra light, the clever Canadians told their drivers to turn against traffic when the light started to flash!

I’m about to do the same with you right now. I’m willing to bet you two cheese coneys that you’ve never seen cork flooring and what’s more had the pleasure of walking on some. Tell the truth. Did you even know cork flooring existed?

When I saw cork flooring for the first time, it put my head on a swivel. It was the most unique flooring I had ever seen. My father-in-law took me one day to visit Carl, his investing partner. Carl had built a stunning ranch home on a bluff that overlooked the great north bend of the Ohio River.

The cork flooring was in his kitchen of all rooms. It was plank flooring about 8 inches wide. The color was a rich medium brown and the pattern or grain was mesmerizing. I had never seen such material before in my twenty-three years on the planet.

“What in the world is the floor made from?” I asked. “Why, it’s cork.” Carl responded. “Aren’t you worried about the water from the kitchen ruining it?” Carl just chuckled. He knew that cork was waterproof. He also knew that under typical residential use installing cork was like putting sheets of iron on your floor. It’s nearly indestructible.

As time passed, I discovered cork was the flooring material used at the main public library in Cincinnati, Ohio. Its closed-cell structure contains about 100 million air cells in each cubic inch of material. This allows it to absorb shock as well as sound. It’s the perfect flooring material for so many rooms in a home, church, busy office space, or other place where peace, quiet, and comfort are commodities in high demand.

I decided to try cork flooring in my own home. It was the perfect material to use in my basement recreation area and office space. It glued down with ease over the smooth concrete floor. I wanted a waterproof material in case the basement flooded. I also wanted flooring that hold up to rambunctious teenagers and office chairs. It excelled at both challenges.

Visit a home center big-box store and you’ll see them pushing luxury vinyl plank (LVP) flooring. I just had my first hands-on experience with that this past summer. Cork, in my opinion, is a superior material. It’s not as fussy as LVP with respect to humps and bumps in the floor. Cork is quieter and doesn’t expand or contract to the extent of LVP.

If you’re all about the environment, you’ll love cork. Cork is a renewable resource. The material is generated by harvesting the bark from cork trees. The bark grows back after ten years or so and the average cork tree lives for 150 years.

My most recent experience with cork was in Bar Harbor, Maine of all places. Several years ago I was in town to meet my sister. I had some time to kill before meeting her and decided to visit the historic Jesup Memorial Library.

This stunning building was built in the early 1900s. As soon as I walked through the front door I saw it. A magnificent cork floor covered the entire main floor of the library. Master craftsmen were installing it in the late winter or early spring of 1911 as the library was dedicated on August 30, 1911.

I was walking on a floor that was installed 107 years earlier! While it was in need of a little tender loving care, the floor was still in remarkable shape after all that time. Imagine how many people had walked across that flooring in all those years! You can install it in your home knowing that it will outperform any other flooring you can purchase.

If you want a flooring material that is easy to maintain, will get you compliments from your friends and visitors, is easy on your back and legs should you have to stand up on it, cork should be on your radar. When you see the different styles, sizes, patterns, and colors, I’m convinced you’ll then say, “What other building materials don’t I know about?” Well, keep reading me each week and I’ll do my best to share them with you!

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