Many people assume that the only purpose of cork is to make wine bottle stoppers and bulletin boards. However, cork is a versatile material that has many other uses around the home that you may not have considered. It also has numerous benefits, including elasticity, impermeability, buoyancy, and high insulating properties. Because cork is made from a natural, biodegradable material, it is much less harmful for the environment than other common materials. That’s good news for homeowners who want to save the environment while saving money at the same time. Keep reading for some unique uses for cork around the home that you may not have considered.
Cork as a Flooring Material
According to Mother Earth News, people in the United States have become increasingly interested in installing cork floors due to environmental concerns. With a typical lifespan of between 150 and 200 years, a cork can be harvested from a single cork tree dozens of times without killing the tree itself—now that’s a renewable resource! Another eco-friendly benefit is that the manufacturing process for cork flooring produces little to no waste. Any cork that remains after production is complete is made into other products, such as wine bottle stoppers and trivets.
Cork flooring is one of the more durable flooring options available to homeowners today. When you care for it properly, you can expect it to last for at least 40 years. With this type of flooring, you don’t have to worry about permanent indentations made by furniture since it readily bounces back and retains its shape. Cork is a great choice for people with allergies or asthma: it is naturally resistant to mold and mildew, two common household allergens. Since it is fire-resistant to all but extremely high temperatures, cork tends to be safer than other types of flooring material. Lastly, many people appreciate its comfort, since cork gives under the weight of their feet and offers a cushier surface than hardwood.
Cork as a Backsplash
If you cook meat often and tend to splatter grease or other messes on your kitchen wall, consider placing a backsplash made of cork near your stove. Its fire resistant qualities mean that cork is safe to use in the kitchen, even near the stove, and because cork is nearly impermeable it cuts down on cleaning. Cork is an all-natural product, so it can be found in a variety of colors and grains that can be combined to form designs and patterns.
Cork for Insulation and Noise Control
Cork also provides excellent noise control and insulation for colder rooms when placed behind your exterior walls. You may also want to consider installing cork as the finish on your interior walls, either in the form of wall tiles or wallpaper.
Since cork is so lightweight, you can easily grind or shave it down to use as a cover for lampshades and other soft furnishings. Some furniture designers are even considering making tables, chairs, beds, dressers and other essentials entirely out of cork in the near future. Although it is lightweight and easy to move around, cork furniture is sturdy enough to stand, sit, or lie on as well. With so many beneficial properties, it’s not difficult to find more unique uses for cork in the home!