Evolving to withstand the harsh conditions of the Iberian Peninsula, the Mediterranean Cork Oak (Quercus Suber)developed its thick, spongy bark for protection from the forces of nature. Composed of 200 million air cells per cubic inch, this amazing bark protects its tree from fungus and fire, and insulates it against temperature extremes. The cork oak benefits from having its bark (the cork) harvested every 9-15 years. Since the trees go on living for centuries, this symbiotic relationship between people and nature makes cork the ultimate sustainable material.
In the past century, it has been used in architectural masterpieces such as Frank Lloyd Wright’s Falling Water and Walter Gropius’ residence (both circa 1937), as well as high-traffic areas such as schools, libraries (including the Library of Congress), and art museums. Warm and resilient, cork flooring is perfect for even the most highly-traveled areas. With a properly maintained finish, your cork floor can last for over a hundred years!
Our cork flooring comes from Portugal and the Italian island of Sardinia. With the largest selection in the Bay Area, Flooring Alternatives showcases over 70 different styles and colors of cork flooring.
Shown above: Cork tiles in Whitewashed and Cement Gray
Cork is an ideal flooring material because it:
- is soft and giving, and will self-heal if dented.
- feels warm even in chilly winter months.
- provides heat, sound, and impact insulation.
- is skid-, mold-, and fire-resistant.
- can work in kitchens or bathrooms.
- is available in floating panels or glue-down tiles.
- is great for residential or commercial settings.
- is both beautiful and highly sustainable!