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News July 31, 2006

Cork - Trendsetting material for health-conscious builders and renovators

25 million Germans suffer from back pain and many others are victims of other ailments of the joints between the feet and pelvis. So it comes as no surprise that house builders and renovators have developed an awareness for "healthy living environments" and favour healthy products for the house and home. Cork flooring and the particularly easy-to-lay cork "glueless" floating parquet have become the products of choice because of their extremely attractive designs, providing a suitable alternative for healthy homes with a feel-good character.

Whether in the kitchen, the living room, nursery, home office or bedroom, family members, particularly children, should have comfortable and pleasant surroundings. Flooring made from the natural product "cork" offers the best properties here. Numerous tiny pockets of air in the cork (30 million per cm3) ensure that the floor always offers a pleasant warm surface temperature, is comfortable to the touch, and guarantees an enhanced living quality. It is a well-known fact that cork feels warmer than tiles, looks more natural than PVC, is easier to maintain than carpet and is more elastic under foot than wood, not to mention its good heat-insulating properties. What many people do not know is that modern cork floors have anti-allergic and anti-static qualities - a welcome side-effect that further bolsters the healthy image of this flooring. Walking on cork barefoot proves just how easy on the joints this material is. The elasticity of the floor makes for walking comfort, which can be further enhanced by a slightly rough surface.



Providers of brand name products rely on quality and top-grade manufacturing

Cork parquet is always manufactured from cork granules to produce single-layer (homogenous) or veneered (multi-layered) flooring. Favoured binding agents are formaldehyde, polyurethane, or natural resins (sometimes even cork resin). If phenol-formaldehyde resins are used as the binding agent, emission of formaldehyde can result, which is naturally detrimental to the quality of the flooring. Proof of the excellent quality of the cork parquet of a brand product supplier is provided by the test result of the consumer magazine "Íko-Test" (issue 7/2004), which graded Cortex's Spezial/Natur 1040 B flooring as "very good". The tests certify that no formaldehyde is emitted from this flooring. Nor were phenol emissions detectable. Consumers are not recommended to use plastic-coated cork parquet (where usually acrylic resin or PVC is used), as the plastic coating reduces the natural positive material properties.

The "cork logo" is the approved seal of quality

So it really does pay to seek the advice of a specialist before purchase. And it always makes sense to choose the products of well-known brand manufacturers. Because leading manufacturers like Cortex do not even include these substandard floors and surfaces in their range and so ensure that the best possible standards of quality are maintained for their floors, which are offered with untreated, oiled, or waxed surfaces. The consumer appreciates this advantage, proven by the constantly increasing demand and because they recognize that "glueless" floating parquet is so wonderfully easy to lay yourself. So to be absolutely on the safe side, always look out for the "cork logo" as the approved seal of quality. Íko-Test, too, stresses the importance of this logo, because it proves that the certified products exhibit the best qualities (also in health terms) and are constantly subject to testing by independent institutions.


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