Cork floors are known for their comfort and environmental friendliness, and are quite beautiful when properly installed. Cork is harvested from the bark of the cork oak tree, making it a renewable resource and a favorite of designers in the new “green” movement.
You are probably familiar with corks in wine bottles, so as you can imagine, this material provides great shock absorption under your feet. It also has a unique beauty that can’t be duplicated by other products, and is surprisingly easy to clean and maintain.
Cork floors are available in glue-down varieties – which are installed like a glue-down hardwood floor – and floating varieties, which are floated over any solid surface just like a laminate floor.
Vinyl Composition Tile (VCT)
You have probably seen vinyl composition tile used in a number of commercial applications. It is the 12×12 inch tile usually seen in supermarkets, department stores, and the like. VCT is now available in countless colors, making it more desirable for use in the home. It is great for garages, playrooms, laundry rooms, and even kitchens. The tiles are glued down, and can be cut with a utility knife or special VCT cutter, making them easy to install and create attractive designs.
Carpet tiles are small squares of carpeting offered in sizes ranging from 12×12 inch to 36×36 inch, with the most common probably being a 20×20 inch (50×50 cm). They are generally made with a berber carpet and used in commercial applications, but can also have many uses in the home.
They are easily installed, usually with a pressure sensitive adhesive, and can therefore be removed and rearranged to balance wear. This makes them perfect for a children’s playroom, for instance, where there may be uneven wear or a lot of spills. Just think if when you spilled a drink on your carpet, you could just replace one little square!
Vinyl planks are made to resemble real wood floors, but with great durability and ease of installation. As with vinyl tiles, glue-down and peel-and-stick varieties are available. Vinyl planks are often seen in areas which require the nicer look of wood without the maintenance, such as doctor’s offices and retail stores.
As with sheet vinyl, modern vinyl planks are being manufactured with increasing realism. There are countless colors and varieties available, with textures to resemble real wood.
There are a number of rubber flooring systems that can be used in various areas of the home – from exercise rooms and garages to playrooms and laundry rooms. For an extremely durable floor covering, try one of the many interlocking rubber tiles, such as those from Gladiator Garage Works. They install with no adhesive, are resistant to heat and chemicals, and can be moved or rearranged with ease.