What are Cork Floor Tiles?

Diane Goettel
Diane Goettel

Cork floor tiles are floor tiles that are made from cork oak trees. When many people think of cork, the first uses that come to mind include cork boards that are used to organize documents and notices in offices and public areas, as well as the round stoppers that are used in wine and champagne bottles. As a flooring product, however, cork floor tiles are sometimes used in a manner that is comparable to parquet and linoleum.

Cork flooring has a supportive and springy surface.
Cork flooring has a supportive and springy surface.

There are some benefits to the use of floor tiles made from cork. Because the material is a naturally porous product, it can help to muffle sound. As such, these tiles are sometimes used in areas where noise reduction is necessary or quite useful. When installed correctly, the tiles are durable and water resistant.

Another benefit to cork board tiles is that they can be useful in terms of insulation. Just as with the reduction of noise, temperature can be regulated with cork floor tiles because the product is naturally porous. Temperature regulation and insulation is important to many people not only to help make interior spaces habitable and comfortable. It can also be very important in terms of reducing heating and cooling bills, which can be substantial for people who live in areas of extreme temperatures or areas where temperatures fluctuate dramatically. For many of the same reasons these tiles are used in private residences and privately owned buildings, they are also used in public buildings such as schools, hospitals, libraries, and offices.

In addition to cork floor tiles, there are also cork wall tiles. One of the main reasons that people use cork wall tiles, other than for aesthetic reasons, is for acoustic purposes. Cork wall tiles may be used in areas that need to insulate noise that is being produced or in areas that need to be protected from noise coming from outside sources.

For people who are focused on helping the environment, sustainably harvested cork floor tiles and cork wall tiles are available. These kinds of cork products are harvested in a way that does not impact negatively on the earth and allows for necessary regrowth. Companies specializing in eco-design and green design usually offer sustainable flooring options including floors made from bamboo, other sustainably grown and harvested woods, and even reclaimed wood. Cork floor tiles are just one of the options in this group.

Diane Goettel
Diane Goettel

In addition to her work as a freelance writer for wiseGEEK, Diane is the executive editor of Black Lawrence Press, an independent publishing company based in upstate New York. She has also edited several anthologies, the e-newsletter Sapling, and The Adirondack Review. Diane has a B.A. from Sarah Lawrence College and an M.A. from Brooklyn College.

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