The Pros and Cons of Cork Flooring

By Samuel N •  Updated: 02/16/23 • 

Cork flooring has been around for many decades. However, it has recently grown in popularity because it is an eco-friendly renewable resource and comes with several advantages over other types of flooring. If you’re considering installing cork flooring, you’re in the right place. Let’s dive into the pros and cons to help you make an informed decision.

Pros of Cork Flooring

Comfortable and Cushioned Surface

One of the major advantages of cork flooring is how comfortable it feels beneath your feet. Cork is a type of resilient flooring and thus gives a bounce-back effect when walking on it. Its resiliency makes it great for rooms where you’ll be standing a lot, like the kitchen, bathroom, laundry room, or office with a standing desk.

Cork Flooring

Cork flooring is also naturally a thermal insulator. Cold floors could be a thing of the past if you install cork flooring. Cork stays at room temperature, which makes your home more efficient and cheaper to heat and cool.


Cork comes from the bark of the cork oak tree. During harvesting, the bark of the tree’s trunk and major branches are manually stripped by hand. This is done after a tree reaches a mature age of 25 years. Once it is stripped, the bark regenerates and can be stripped once every 9 to 12 years without damaging the tree.

Oak Cork Tree Stripped Off It's Bark

Oak Cork Tree Stripped Off It’s Bark

If you’re looking for sustainable and eco-friendly flooring, cork flooring should top your list. Apart from being harvested without damaging the tree, cork flooring is biodegradable, and when being manufactured, there is almost zero waste.

Antimicrobial and Hypoallergenic

Oak cork trees contain suberin, which protects the plant against water loss, heat exposure, and infection by microorganisms. Suberin is a waxy material and is the main component of corks. Suberin makes cork flooring naturally resistant to mold, mildew, and other microorganisms that might affect your home’s air quality.

Custom Cork Flooring

Custom Cork Flooring

Apart from being hypoallergenic flooring, cork flooring does not off-gas or shed its microfibers, which can negatively affect the air quality of your home. If one of your family members has chronic allergies, cork is one of the best floorings to install that will not aggravate the symptoms.

DIY Friendly Installation

Cork flooring comes in several forms. Traditionally, solid cork flooring used to be applied to the floor with glue-down applications. However, newer cork flooring comes in the form of laminated planks with a bottom layer of compressed cork, a core of medium or high-density fiberboard, and a top layer of quality cork.

Installing Cork Flooring Planks

Installing Cork Flooring Planks

Cork flooring planks come with click-lock edges that make them very easy to install, even for beginners. The installation is similar to how luxury vinyl planks, laminate, and other types floating floors are installed. Because the installation of cork flooring is easier even for a beginner, it saves you money. If you’re a DIY enthusiast or you’re working with a tight budget, check out these easy-to-installing types of floorings.

Cons of Cork Flooring

Susceptible to Damage

While the softness of cork flooring makes it comfortable, it also makes it more susceptible to damage. Pets can easily scratch a cork floor while moving heavy furniture without proper care can leave permanent indents on the floor. If you’re a homeowner, trim your pet’s nails and invest in furniture coasters to keep your cork floors in good condition. Also, move your furniture a few inches after some time to avoid dimpling of cork flooring.

Needs to be Water Sealed

Cork has water-resistant properties. However, it is not 100 percent waterproof. Once installed and properly finished, you’ll need to reseal them once in a while to protect them from liquid spills. Because cork expands and contracts in all directions, avoid wet mopping it or installing it in high-humidity areas of your home, such as bathrooms and mudrooms.

Can Fade in Sunlight

Long-term exposure of cork flooring to direct sunlight can cause it to fade and turn yellow. However, this can easily be fixed by applying UV-resistant finishes that will protect the floors. You can also minimize exposure to sunlight by installing UV light blockers and limiting the opening of doors and windows.

Samuel N

Samuel N is the founder of Improve Floor and has been in the flooring industry since 2005. Since then, his mission has been to make flooring easier for everyone. He helps countless people with flooring installation, finishing, maintenance, and repairs each year.