Being green just got a little easier with WE Cork's new Avant Garde floating cork floor.
The snap-together planks have a finish that's tougher than that of traditional wood floors, claims the manufacturer. That makes the flooring durable enough for a high traffic areas such as hallways and kitchens. With its its distinctive and beautiful graining and colors, it's also a natural for bedrooms and living rooms.
Pictured here is “Sardinia” used in a bedroom.
Cork has been growing in popularity in recent decades as an environmentally friendly alternative to hardwood flooring. The product of a certain type of Mediterranean oak, cork is considered a renewable resource.
As flooring, its resilience makes cork easy underfoot and sound deadening. It's also naturally resistant to dust and bacteria, making it a nice alternative to carpeting for those with allergies.
A major drawback is that the flooring is prone to gouging. And unlike wood, cork cannot be sanded and refinished. WE Cork addresses the durability issue with a tough-as-nails polyurethane finish, similar to the type used on pre-finished hardwood flooring. You'll still need to be mindful of deep gouges, but the flooring resists every day scratches. Like carpeting, cork has a “memory,” so heavy furniture should be placed on protective pads to minimize denting.
A layer of fiberboard sandwiched between a thin cork wear layer and a thicker cork underlayment forms the floating floor panels. Tongues and grooves milled into the fiberboard allow the flooring panels to snap together with a few simple tools.
Avant Garde can be installed over existing vinyl flooring and at or below grade level. It's not recommended for use in high moisture areas, such as bathrooms (the company's glue-down cork flooring can be used in bathrooms). Drying can be a problem if the floor is installed over radiant heat mats, and you'll want to run a humidifier.
The planks are available in 13 designs.