Cork is becoming more and more popular as a flooring material with the renewed interest of designing environment friendly homes. The cork used in flooring comes from the bark of the cork oak tree and makes a sustainable flooring option. They are available in a wide range of styles, shapes and designs. Currently there are around 40 different colors of cork flooring available in the market.
It is also less cost intensive compared to hardwood flooring and gives a great look. Cork flooring are resistant to pests, it is easy to maintain and is naturally insulated from sound and heat. However, there are drawbacks of this flooring solution as well. So, if you are looking for low cost alternatives to cork flooring, you do not actually run out of options. Here are a bunch of other, comparatively low cost flooring options that can meet your needs.
If you are looking for an environment friendly flooring material apart from cork, bamboo can certainly fit your needs. Bamboo has all the green properties like that of cork and they also have high Janka hardness rating which stands for their great durability. Bamboo flooring is available in extensive varieties and they are priced just in the range of good quality cork flooring.
However, the drawbacks of bamboo flooring is that, it is often suggested to not to opt for bleached bamboo flooring options because chemical treatment can reduce the durability of the material. In addition to that repairing a damaged bamboo plank on your floor is not very effective; the right solution is to replace the plank all together.
If you are looking for an alternative to cork flooring which is also comparatively cheaper, linoleum flooring can be an ideal option at hand. Linoleum is made from a mixture of linseed oil, tree raisins, wood flour, ground limestone, cork dust and pigments. It is fire retardant and has water resistant properties. It is also a green solution for flooring and is available in extensive colors, style and design. Linoleum flooring also has high longevity.
On the negative side, linoleum needs maintenance and polishing at regular intervals and it can “amber” due to exposure to light. Right after installation of linoleum it emits linseed fumes which take around a month to go away completely.
Vinyl flooring can be an efficient low cost alternative to cork flooring, but it is not an environment friendly option. Vinyl flooring comes in tiles as well as in sheet forms and is available in huge assortments. They give a soft feel under the feet which makes the floor most comfortable to walk around or stand for long time. Vinyl flooring is highly durable and they are resistant to dirt and water. It is also cheaper than cork or bamboo.
The primary drawback of Vinyl flooring is that it is made from PVC and is not an environment friendly option for flooring. Installing vinyl tiles is easy, but it needs preparation of a perfect subfloor which is time and money consuming. In addition to that removing a vinyl floor can be really difficult and it adds nothing to the resale value of the home.
Ceramic or Porcelain tiles
Ceramic or Porcelain tiles can be another effective low cost alternative to cork flooring. They are highly durable, strong and are available in a wide range of color and finish. These tiles are resistant to stains; and easy to install and replace. Cleaning and maintenance of these tiles need very minimum effort.
On the down side, these tiles do not give a very comfortable feel under the feet and keeping the grouts clean can be a real challenge.
The ones mentioned above are the primary low-cost alternatives to Cork flooring, and as all of them come with their own pros and cons you need to select one according to your requirements and preferences.