Cork for the floor: Yesterday, Today and Tomorrow

Cork floors became known at the end of the 50s when companies first learned to produce cork panels of high density and cover it with vinyl wrapping.

After that came the colored variants of cork tiles which were covered with paint or colored varnish. Cork floor started to gain a wide recognition in the 70s and 80s. Many new companies begun cork production, a lot of them were in Portugal since 33% of all cork oak grows there.

The biggest breakthrough in the process of cork manufacturing came in the 90s of the last century. That is when a new “floating” floor was added to the classic, glue-down cork with dimensions of 600mm x 300mm.

This innovative (for its time) composition was made from HDF (High Density Fiberboard), and MDF (Medium Density Fiberboard): recently invented and made available for the mass market production. The cork was attached to the board, from the bottom side, a rougher factory cork was used which is better for insulation and warmth retention and on the top, a layer of cork painted with different color and pattern variations.

On the ends of the pieces a special tongue-groove shape was applied so that the pieces would interlock with each other without actually being glued to the surface. In that way, the surface was not strongly attached to the pavement but rather was free, thus came the name: “floating floor”.

At first, the idea took over everyone: manufacturers as well as consumers. The manufacturing grew immensely, and everyone begun to forget about the classic: glue down cork floor.

The new idea had only one key advantage:

– The floor was easy to install, which was handy for the professional workers (floor layers). Therefore

However, as time has passed, the consumers were confronted with the negative aspects of the “floating floor”.

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