Prioritizing Comfort in Interiors: Nature-inspired Floors Made of Wood and Cork
Greatly driven by the Covid-19 pandemic, interior design trends that prioritize comfort and well-being have become more prominent than ever in recent years. With former confinement restrictions and the rise of hybrid work, the amount of time spent indoors to carry out daily functions has risen drastically, forcing many to adapt their living spaces accordingly. As a result, demand has focused on residential interiors that foster calmness, peace and warmth, as well as on products and design elements that successfully meet these new needs. But how to achieve this? While there are many ways to promote comfort inside the home, one method has been indisputably proven to be the most successful: bringing nature in.
Of course, the best way to complete that mission is by using natural, 100% organic materials. Extensively known for its extremely beneficial biophilic qualities, wood seems to be the first obvious choice. And, although less widely used in construction and design, cork also positions itself as a promising contender thanks its excellent natural properties. With this in mind, wood-based manufacturer EGGER has developed Comfort flooring as an alternative to conventional laminate flooring. Made of natural wood fibers and sustainably sourced cork, the product combines the strengths of both bio-based materials, providing a cozy ambiance in the home without compromising aesthetics and functionality.
EGGER Comfort floors are composed of five layers: noise reducing cork, HDF coreboard, cork for softness, a digital decor print and a UV protective wear layer. All of these serve several practical purposes. Below, we dive into each of these unique characteristics.
As the climate emergency continues to aggravate, manufacturers have the responsibility to take accountability for what they do and how they do it. At the same time, they must also respond to users’ demand for environmentally conscious products rising. Using 90% renewable raw materials for its manufacture while sourcing 64% of by-products from the sawmill industry, EGGER Comfort flooring is sustainably sourced. On one hand, its wood fiber layer comes exclusively from sustainable, PEFC certified forestry, meaning that it is made of a completely renewable raw material that absorbs more CO2 during its growth than in emits during transport and throughout its entire production chain.
Cork, on the other hand, is also eco-friendly. It is obtained from the bark of the cork oak, a slow-growing tree that lives an average of 200 years and is known for its unique ability to regenerate its outer bark after each peeling. This means that no tree is cut down or permanently damaged for the cork harvest. As a result, the material is 100% bio-based, renewable and even recyclable. It also has no harmful substances, hence contributing to healthier interiors.
Besides being completely sustainable, Comfort flooring stands out by promoting peace and relaxation in all aspects – visual, tactile and auditory. These comfortable properties are primarily due to its two elastic layers of cork, which differentiate the product from other, more conventional alternatives. When pressure is applied to the cork cells, the air in the cavities contracts and unfolds again when the pressure is released, achieving an ideal balance (not too hard or soft) that offers relief when walking and standing, protecting joints and tendons. Therefore, with the material’s elasticity, softness and smoothness, Comfort floors are particularly pleasant to walk on.
Cork is also an outstanding heat-insulator. Specifically, the air cells in the cork surfaces delay the outflow of heat, making the floor naturally warm underfoot and avoiding cold feet. The layers can be installed over underfloor heating without problems, increasing the positive warmth effect even more. In addition, 1 cubic centimeter of cork contains about 36 million cells (on average) that swallow up noise, making the material an excellent sound absorber – in fact, the most natural sound absorber in the world. While the cork surface on the upper side audibly reduces room noise, the bottom layer further minimizes impact noise and ensures a sound insulation effect in adjacent rooms. Altogether, Comfort flooring reduces room noise by up to 43% compared to laminate floors.
Practical and versatile
Besides all of these beneficial qualities, Comfort flooring has an easy-care surface that is stain resistant, UV-protected, easy to clean, and ensures resistance to fading of the decorative image. In other words, it is highly durable and easy to maintain. Regarding installation, the process is quick and simple thanks to the cork flooring click system. And because of the integrated impact sound insulation, no additional underlay base mat is required.
Using modern digital printing technologies for the decor print, the product is available in numerous designs – in classic, large and kingsize format options. From a timeless wood effect to a rustic stone look and other creative configurations, these offer a high design flexibility that adapts to different styles. Thus, they can enhance a room’s aesthetics while still providing the floor’s characteristic comfort and physical properties. This makes it ideal for a wide range of applications in many areas of the home, but also for moderate commercial use, therapeutic practices or hotel rooms, among others.
Although the need for sustainable, practical and, above all, comfortable and nature-inspired spaces were exacerbated during the pandemic, these design patterns are likely to endure long afterward. Therefore, innovative products – especially those made of natural materials – are necessary to keep up with these new demands and requirements.
To learn more about the benefits of Comfort flooring, visit EGGER’s website.