Benefits attributed to cork floors include a low environmental impact, good sound absorption, ability to retain heat and ability to support relatively high volumes of foot traffic, while downsides include high cost, inability to support heavy furniture and propensity to sustain damage from falling objects. One benefit of cork floors is their relatively soft feel and composition, which makes them comfortable and safe to walk on, notes Realtor.com. That same property, however, makes them troublesome for supporting heavy furniture and withstanding abuse, as they tend to develop indents from furniture and can have pieces chipped out from dropped glassware and other sharp items.
Cork floors, like many surfaces, come in a variety of colors, which gives homeowners flexibility in matching the floor to surrounding areas. These floors can brighten dark spaces and create a lighter look. However, they should not be used in rooms exposed to natural light, says Realtor.com, as the light can cause premature fading of the cork boards.
One key benefit of cork floors is their hypoallergenic nature. These floors lack the crevices and corners of tiled floors, making them less prone to mildew and mold, and naturally resist pests.
A downside is that cork flooring is a relatively expensive choice of material, and costs between $3 and $8 per square foot, according to Bob Vila. It usually requires installation from a professional, which also increases cost. However, its ability to retain heat can offset heating costs, and cork floors can increase home values.