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Product Review: Stepco Cork Flooring

Posted: Friday, February 04, 2011
Stepco Cork Floors

Do you want a warm, beautiful floor that's impact- and sound-resistant, one that is eco-friendly and sustainable?

There are lots of choices...but one you might not have considered is cork. No, really. Cork is becoming a very popular choice for residential and corporate locations because of its unique and beneficial qualities. It resembles hardwood, but it's softer, warmer, and resists scratching and denting better than most of its competition, and Stepco Lifetime Floors' cork is a great choice.

Cork comes from the cork oak, Quercus suber, which is found mainly in the areas surrounding the Mediterranean Sea, such as Spain and Portugal. Cork is a fantastically renewable resource for flooring because of how it is harvested.

The cork Stepco uses for their floors is actually the bark of the cork oak. It takes special equipment and a ton of experience to methodically and effectively remove the bark without harming the tree, but when it's done, the outer layer of the bark that has been removed is trimmed, leaving a long, thick layer of cork that is then processed further to be turned into cork products, including flooring tiles and planks. A tree is ready for its virgin harvest at 25 years of age and then can be reharvested every 9-12 years for the life of the tree, which can be up to 250 years. It's natures perfect gift.

Installation of Stepco's cork flooring is pretty easy and can be done by do-it-yourselfers with its click and lock system. One important step before installation is acclimation. Because of the porous, expandable nature of cork, it's vital to set the materials in the middle of the floor of the room you intend to install it in for at least 48 hours so it can come into balance with the moisture content of the subflooring and air.

Cork is a natural product, so variations in color and pattern are to be expected, and it adds that rustic charm, one of the reasons to go with cork in the first place. Before installation, you might want to consider using a cork underlayment in addition to the normal moisture barrier to have an even more sound resistant and warmer floor.

And of course, the fun part—Stepco has a large selection of colors and patterns from a "bleached" white look to natural cork, a light tan, to dark browns. There's sure to be one that will be that perfect finishing note for your room.