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How Durable is Cork Flooring?

Used as flooring for well over a century, cork is a distinctive and versatile material. Among its many benefits is its durability, which can be largely attributed to its natural origins.

Cork flooring is made from the bark of the cork oak tree, which in nature serves as a protective barrier during its average 500 year lifespan, defending against harsh climatic changes and numerous fires inherent to its growing region. It’s also resistant to more than 38 species of insects, including termites, and to the development of microbes.

Because of its durability, cork flooring is suitable for both residential and commercial applications, along with areas where other types of floors are not recommended. Here’s a breakdown of the elements that make cork a reliable flooring choice:


Cellular Structure:

The cellular structure of cork is comprised of hollow, 14 sided cells joined together in a honeycomb like arrangement. These cells have extremely strong yet flexible cell walls and serve as cushioning to protect the cork floor’s surface.

Chemical Composition:

Cork has suberin in its chemical composition, which is a waxy substance that functions to prevent water from penetrating the cork tissue. Suberin helps make cork flooring resistant to moisture and enhances its airtight qualities, protecting its aesthetic and structural integrity.


Cork flooring is naturally resistant to damage from scratching and denting due to impact and friction. A very dense material, it has excellent recovering ability from high heels, heavy weight objects, and abrasion. Also, its elastic nature helps it maintain its stability during times of expansion and contraction due to climate conditions.


Cork itself is a highly abrasion resistant material and treating it with a protective finish further increases its durability. The factory finish (acrylic, urethane or wax) applied to cork floor surfaces protects it even more from harmful elements like moisture, chemicals, dirt, and other damaging substances.

A practical and long lasting flooring choice that is sure to add style to any space, cork flooring is a smart investment. Like other wood flooring options, it has the ability to give decades of beautiful and reliable service to your home or office if properly maintained.

Is cork flooring the right choice for your next renovation project?

Click here to take a look at our online selection of genuine Portuguese cork flooring. Discover the right look for your space!

(4) Comments

  1. What about cork flooring in the kitchen? Will the refrigerator and stove damage the floor? Can some sort of “slider” be used on the legs of the stove?

    • BuildDirect Product Expert Team

      Hi Tim,

      You can use cork in the kitchen but it is still a natural product and spills will need to be cleaned up right away. There may be a few indentations in the cork where the stove and fridge are but they should come back up once they are moved. I would suggest using the foam pad protectors on all legs of furniture or appliances. Please let us know if you have any other questions!

  2. Would you recommend cork flooring for a recreation room with a heavy slate pool table. Concerned about the damage the pool table might cause because of weight, i.e. indentions in the cork.

    • BuildDirect Product Expert Team

      Hi Donna,

      Thank you for your inquiry! Cork may not be the best option for a room with a heavy slate pool table. You are correct in that the weight of the table can damage the cork and cause permanent indentations in the floor. If you are moving it the weight may also cause the cork to come apart depending on how it is installed. I would suggest looking into a porcelain tile or vinyl plank. Please let us know if there is anything else we can help out with!

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