"Cork and bamboo have recently surfaced as highly requested flooring choices. Not only are these selections aesthetically pleasing, but also versatile in application," says David Williams, NWFA president.
Cork is the bark from a specific type of oak tree found in Spain. Once the bark is removed from these trees, the cork is ground up, reconstituted with a binder and formed into blocks for flooring purposes. The blocks are then heated for coloring characteristics. Cork is popular for its environmental advantages, sound-deadening capabilities and non-skid characteristics.
Much like cork, bamboo regenerates quickly. Grown near the Shanghai region of China, bamboo is a grass that grows in stalk form. Flat strips are milled from the stalk's core and boiled in a boric-acid solution. The strips are then kiln-dried, sanded and laminated together. Like cork, bamboo is available pre-finished and unfinished.
"Because it is laminated like plywood, bamboo doesn't expand and contract with changes in temperature and moisture. Therefore, gaps, cupping and warping are less likely to form," said Williams.
NWFA suggests these general installation rules and techniques to ensure the quality of cork and bamboo flooring: