Suburbia: It has been a panacea and an expletive. Touted for affordability and maligned for automobile dependence, suburbia is a fact of life in the U.S.
Something's Afoot: Cork and Bamboo
As wood floors are becoming standard in many new homes — rather than pricey upgrades or risky features from a sales and resale standpoint — unusual materials are becoming more popular as well.
|Many new home buyers are floored by cork’s benefits.|
As wood floors are becoming standard in many new homes — rather than pricey upgrades or risky features from a sales and resale standpoint — unusual materials are becoming more popular as well. National Wood Flooring Association president David Williams says cork and bamboo are two of the more requested floor coverings aside from the usual oaks and maples.
Actually, cork is oak — the ground-up and reconstituted wood pulp from the bark of a specific type of oak tree from Spain. The pulp is formed into squares and held together with a binder. The color of the tiles is decided by how long the tiles are heated. Usually finished with wax, cork is popular for its sound-deadening capabilities, no-skid characteristics and environmental advantages (trees are not cut down during harvesting).
Bamboo, a fast-growing grass that grows in stalk form, is native to China. Flat strips are milled from the core of the stalk, boiled in a boric-acid solution, kiln-dried, sanded and laminated together.
“Because it is laminated like plywood, bamboo doesn’t expand and contract with changes in temperature and moisture,” Williams says. “Therefore gaps, cupping and warping are less likely to form.”
The NWFA recommends these general installation guidelines and techniques to ensure quality: