[Sust-mar] feedback requested on cork and other 'green' flooring options

Peter Watson pwatson at ns.sympatico.ca
Mon Aug 27 11:10:35 EDT 2012

Warm summer greetings to sust-martians!

When sust-mar was set up many years ago, one of its goals was
to be a medium in which people could pose environmental and sustainability
questions to our greater community. It isn't used that way much these days,
but in that spirit I have a question.

Does anyone out there have any personal experience with cork flooring? I'm 
renovating a space in a 1970's suburban house, upstairs from where I live, 
that will for now be a rental property. Worn (and very dated!) 70's shag 
carpeting will be ripped up, and I am looking for a durable, affordable 
replacement option with low/non toxicity that will provide good sound 
insulation, and preferably use sustainably harvested or recycled materials.

Ease of installation would be great too. A floating click together floor 
over an acoustic underlay sounds ideal.
But after considerable research it seems nothing is perfect in the flooring 
world, and it's really tough to meet all these criteria at once.

Cork seems one of the better 'green' flooring options in theory, especially 
low toxicity and reharvestability, and its great acoustic and thermal 
insulating properties.
But I don't know anyone who has actually used it to give personal 
experience. I am concerned
with its toughness and scratch/dentability as there mixed reports online and
my general impressions of it seem rather soft and crumbly. Plus it can cost
a fair bit. And it's not locally sourced, being grown, manufactured and 
shipped from another continent.

If you have used cork flooring I'd love to hear about your experience,
particularly how durable it really is for active households and higher 
traffic areas,
and whether the plusses outweighed the negatives.
Maybe there's even an eco conscious flooring guru out there! If
so, please drop me drop me a quick line at pwatson at ns.sympatico.ca . Or I
could contact you for a brief chat at your convenience.

I also wanted to give a thumbs up and thank you to the Free Online Resource 
for Green Building in AtlanticCanada that was recently posted on sust-mar: 
www.atlanticgreenbuilding.ca . It's already been a big help to me when 
considering renovation options.

Finally, summer is sust-mar's 'quiet time', so it's a great opportunity to
submit your own green question to the list, before the rush of September

Thanks, and enjoy the rest of this amazing summer!


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