If you are considering the different types of natural flooring materials that are possible to install in your home, you may narrow it down to bamboo flooring or natural cork flooring. Both types of flooring are attractive options that you may want to consider when choosing what materials to use when building a new floor.
However, it may be difficult to tell which is the better option. The truth is that both bamboo and cork are good flooring materials, and come with their own unique set of advantages and disadvantages. What follows should show you the particular pros and cons of choosing to make your floors out of bamboo or cork.
Bamboo flooring is easy to clean. It is water-resistant and can be treated like any other flooring material when cleaned. Provided a sealing product is used on it correctly when it is installed, bamboo is also resistant to stains.
Cork floors are slightly more difficult. Cork will expand if it gets wet—something that you do not want your floor to do. Cork floors that are exposed to water and expand and may crack, or at the very least take permanent damage. Because of this, special care is required to clean a cork floor.
Cork and bamboo are quite similar in their ability to resist different types of damage. Cork flooring can be discolored or lightened by repeated exposure to sunlight. Bamboo is also vulnerable to damage from sunlight, especially over a long period of time. This means that putting bamboo or cork flooring in locations where it will get a lot of sun is not a good idea, which can be a significant drawback.
Cork and bamboo also resist and take physical damage in a very similar way. This is because cork and bamboo are both quite soft materials. On one hand, this is an advantage. Having a soft floor can be much more pleasant than a hard one. Softer floors may feel nicer than hard ones to touch or walk on. Additionally, soft floors may be able to spring back where a harder floor material would crack or chip.
However, the soft nature of bamboo and cork is also a disadvantage. They can both be vulnerable to damage from sharp objects and anything heavy that gets dropped. Additionally, they can be dented by the weight of heavy furniture, especially over the long term.
One difference: cork is particularly resistant to mold and mildew as well as to fire.
Bamboo is cheap in comparison to wood floors. Cork is, at least compared to bamboo, somewhat expensive. However, compared with hardwood flooring, both are relatively cheap.
Bamboo and cork flooring are both thought of as sustainable options that provide a great alternative to traditional wood flooring. This is true, but the reality is slightly more complicated. While neither material innately involves destroying non-renewable resources, there is no requirement that any company that makes cork or bamboo flooring use environmentally friendly practices.
If you are interested in either cork or bamboo flooring for their sustainability, be sure to research the company you purchase your flooring materials from.