Cork questions

canishelMay 25, 2011

I 'm looking for glue-down cork flooring for the kitchen. I'm still doing web searches and have eliminated a bunch of manufacturers/suppliers because of color choices. FWIW, I'm used to vinyl sheet flooring; I like it, but need a new floor. I want to go green. I do not want hardwood, bamboo, or ceramic tile. The old layers of flooring will be taken off to the subfloor which is above a dehumidified crawl space.

The searches raised several questions:

1. Is there much difference in durability among 5/32", 3/16" and 5/16" thickness tile? I would think the surface durability would be the same, but what do I know.

2. Is there much difference in durability with different colors or designs? For example, I would like an off-white color, rather than the tan or brown colors. APC, Globus, Duro-Design, and Jelinek have some possibilities. Is the surface design like a veneer?

3. Any experience with any of those manufacturers?

4. Can cork be glued to cork and still retain cushion? For example, if I find a tile that I like, but isn't very thick (for comfort), can a cork roll/sheet be glued to the subfloor and a thin tile glued to that?

5. What else do I need to know or ask?

Cork is not a popular item here so the salespeople aren't very helpful (they haven't needed to know much about cork), so I'm relying on you GW folks to provide info. I've already done GW and other web searches, but am more confused than ever.

Thank you for any help.

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Yes, when you can't find consistent information about cork flooring and when retail establishments haven't a clue, it can be confusing.

Look closely at the laminated construction of some cork tile. Sometimes the color and design are under a clear PVC or other clear film wear surface. Specifications ought to be able to tell you what the wear surface is made of and its typical thickness.

You also have the option of natural cork tile that is stained and waxed or unfinished that is then 'decorated' and finished on site with a two part commercial waterborne polyurethane. (see, more confusion).

I have experience adhering genuine sheet linoleum to sheet cork underlayment, but no experience adhering cork tile to such. Would it work?...perhaps... What you need to know is that cork tile with a cork backing must be installed with a contact-type adhesive or what the tile manufacturer specifies. When using contact adhesive, the adhesive is applied to the back of the tile and to the substrate. After the adhesive has dried for the amount of time required, the tile can be set in place. Look for installation instructions on the manufacturer websites you visit for detailed information.

Best of luck.

    Bookmark   May 25, 2011 at 8:59PM
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Thanks for replying to questions.
It's so difficult to decide whether appearance or durability is more important. Maybe I'll buy a few tiles and play around with them (duh).

    Bookmark   May 29, 2011 at 8:54AM
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Why not consider floating your cork floor right on your vinyl sheet?

    Bookmark   June 10, 2011 at 6:16PM
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Thanks for your suggestion.
Now I'm leaning towards floating cork instead of glue type. Apparently, the distinction between glue and floating is similar to the old Chevy vs Ford debate. Each has its advocates.

As far as putting the cork over vinyl, no. There are at least three layers of flooring now. The additional level would not look good against the adjacent flooring. There are other parts of the house that affect this decision as far as floor heights are concerned. I can't fix the other screwups; all I want to do is make the variations look intentional.

    Bookmark   June 10, 2011 at 7:10PM
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You mentioned off-white. Not sure where you're located, but if you can get Torly's, they make a gorgeous Burl African Ivory that comes in squared edged planks and beveled edge planks. We've got it with the bevel edge and it's really sharp. I like what the burled patterns do for the floor as they have so much variation.

    Bookmark   June 14, 2011 at 4:45PM
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Torly's stuff is gorgeous! There are no dealers around here, but I sent Torly's an email.

Thanks for the info.

    Bookmark   June 14, 2011 at 5:31PM
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We take possession next week and my intention is to take pics before we get all of our furniture in. So, once I get pics of our ivory cork, I'll come back and post a pic here for you. We've got Torly's in our current house as well, but it's one of the tan shades which isn't what you're looking for so you'll have to wait until we're in the new place for the pic!

    Bookmark   June 16, 2011 at 1:51PM
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Either of you have pictures of your cork?? I'd love to see pictures and see how you like it so far!! Canishel, I'd love to hear what you went with. I too am having the same tile vs floating debate.

    Bookmark   July 10, 2011 at 7:15PM
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I'm going with floating, probably APC's Apollo White. It's not really white, just the lightest cork color they make.
Won't be installed until Sept/Oct, so no pix.

If anyone has any comments about my choice, please let me know.

Here is a link that might be useful: apc cork

    Bookmark   July 11, 2011 at 12:20PM
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Go to, and do a search for "cork" or for "cork floor." You'll see some looks you like, and probably some you want to avoid.

    Bookmark   July 11, 2011 at 6:52PM
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Thanks for the reference!

    Bookmark   July 11, 2011 at 7:05PM
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awesome website! Thanks attofarad

    Bookmark   July 12, 2011 at 11:46AM
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