In the past, the floors of our gyms, yoga studios, and other workout spaces have been made of unforgiving, rigid, or non-sustainable materials in the name of being easy to clean. Today, new alternatives are more friendly to the environment and gentle on our bodies.
Information about cork flooring
Cork is a natural and renewable resource carefully hand-harvested from the cork oak tree. Each tree can be harvested numerous times throughout its impressive lifespan of 200-500 years. After the bark is harvested, the tree continues to absorb carbon dioxide and use the energy gained from photosynthesis to create more bark! This ancient process ensures the tree removes more CO2 from the air than is generated in the manufacturing of its bark!
So how does cork fit into flooring? Cork has been used as flooring since the 1890s. You can still see cork flooring in the historic Plummer Building at the Mayo Clinic, the old Toronto Stock Exchange, as well as many university libraries where it was prized for its sound dampening qualities. In addition to its acoustical qualities, cork flooring has several features making it great for gyms and yoga studios!
- Anit-microbial, anti-bacterial, and anti-fungal making it easy to clean.
- Built-in cushion with give to protect your joints.
- Naturally insulated, keeping the floor from being too hot or cold.
In the last few decades, cork granules have been blended with post-consumer recycled butyl rubber to create a new flooring option. This process creates an even more durable flooring perfect for gyms with free weights!
Cork Flooring for yoga, pilates, and other bodyweight exercises
If you are like me, I can't do yoga in anything more than toeless socks - otherwise, I am slipping and sliding my way from downward dog into low plank. Cork flooring always makes me feel way more comfortable going barefoot since I know that it is naturally anti-microbial, anti-fungal, and anti-bacterial.
In addition to the added peace of mind, cork provides an incredibly soft surface that seamlessly blends into my practice and easing my body from pose to pose. Cork flooring and even a thin yoga mat can be a lifesaver for boney knees and elbows that take on a majority of the pressure during bodyweight exercises.
Traditional cork floors come in 2 installation options:
- Floating flooring can be installed over the existing flooring (if the existing floor is level), such as carpet, and does not require glue. Our floating flooring tiles are comprised of a base layer of QuietCork underlayment for additional cushion, a high-density fiberboard middle layer with the uniclick installation system, and a decorative cork veneer on top.
- Glue Down flooring comes in 12x12in tiles and, like the name implies, is glued to the substrate below. Our most popular glue-down floorings are made up of 2 layers. The first layer is a composition cork sheet making the tile more economical without sacrificing the comfort cork provides. This bottom sheet is then covered in a decorative cork veneer sheet.
Rubber and Cork flooring for gyms, weight rooms, and more
In-home or commercial gyms with heavy machines or free weights, 100% cork flooring might not be the best solution; however, Rubber & Cork flooring is an excellent alternative combining the durability of rubber with the remarkable properties of cork flooring. This blended flooring contains post-consumer recycled butyl rubber mixed with cork granules.
The rubber ensures the flooring's high traction and excellent impact absorption. At the same time, the cork granules help regulate the temperature of the flooring and dampen sounds (which can be super helpful in a busy gym).
Another benefit of the rubber mixture is the wide variety of color options. To see all color options, check out our contractor-focused website corkstore.com.
Don't have enough space for a full gym? Use cork yoga mats to make a difference!
The last year has given us a lot of change - I canceled my gym membership and went with an at-home rowing machine. This left me to figure out where to set up my home gym. Since I don't have an entire room to dedicate or the ability to redo the floors, I opted to use cork yoga mats under the erg (rower). These mats are perfect as they are quick to clean and can also be slid out for use in a yoga or pilates workout.
The unforgiving and non-sustainable gym floors of our childhoods are no longer the only option for a floor that is durable, cleans easily, and has high traction. Making conscientious changes like switching to sustainable flooring options in gyms and fitness studios will help the planet and our bodies in the long run.