Bad back, bad knees, good floor?

Jstell2008July 21, 2010

I have bad knees, a bad back and tile floors in my kitchen. I need to replace my kitchen floor. Any help or ideas about a good floor for my kitchen? Thanks

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We looked seriously at cork and then at rubber. (Insert joke here about rubber room.) Both flooring materials can be quite beautiful and comfortable. We also looked at marmoleum/linoleum because one's design sense can go wild. Then we ran out of money, so I still have my quarry tile floor, rotten knees, and howling back.

Hope you fare better!


    Bookmark   July 21, 2010 at 4:32PM
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jstell, despite having heard that tile is hard on the back and knees (and me having a bad knee), I got tile. We did buy two Gel Pro pads which help a great deal. They are expensive, abut $199 for the six-foot variety, and of course they cover up the tile floor so you don't see as much of it as you would otherwise. But if you find tile you really want, the Gel Pro pads do work. They also tend to curl a bit or inch away from where they're put, but that's part of their charm, I suppose.

    Bookmark   July 21, 2010 at 4:42PM
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I have 4 gel mats in my work area in the kitchen. My problem is my tile is not smooth, it's uneven tile. Just walking in areas other than my gel mats is really painful. I have wood floors in dining room and they do not hurt as much. I just got back from orthopedist this morning. My cartilege is gone In right knee and I 'm getting bone spurs. I was wondering about cork.

    Bookmark   July 21, 2010 at 4:54PM
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I think

Cork tile
Vinyl or linoleum

In order would be the cushiest to the hardest on joints.

The gelmats are great if you don't mind having separate mats on top of the floor surface. I think they are kinda thick though and maybe I dont pick my feet up enough because I trip on the edges of them sometimes. If I had them in my own house and were completely accustomed to them it might be different.

    Bookmark   July 21, 2010 at 5:54PM
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Our floor isn't installed yet, and won't be for about three months, but we chose cork for our kitchen and great room because of the same reasons you mention. I have a bad back, DH has bad knees. Even the laminate floating floor in my current kitchen makes my feet and back hurt. We are going with cork planks rather than cork tiles, though - for two reasons. One - most cork tiles aren't approved for installation over radiant heat (the adhesive isn't approved to that temp, apparently); and two - the planks should give more "cushiness" than the tiles because they are floating (rather than directly attached to a hard underlying floor) and because the top cork layer is thicker in the planks than the tiles, so there is more "give" in the top. I brought home four sample planks from my flooring store, clicked them together, and walked on them for two weeks. They felt great under my feet, held up beautifully to spills and standing water (yep, I tested!), and our dogs didn't destroy them with the little bit of walking they did on the samples. They'll likely beat the heck out of the floor over time...but the floor won't beat the heck out of my back/feet and DH's knees!

There are quite a few people on this forum who have cork flooring - and they're great about sharing their experiences. Most have been very, very happy with the choice. There are some really cool patterns available. We're going with Lisbon Matte by Natural Cork (USFloors is the manufacturer). They have one of the thickest wear layers. Be careful about cork flooring available in the big-box stores - it's much thinner and has a very thin wear layer (though you can apparently add multiple coats of urethane to help strengthen that).

Good luck with your choice!

Here is a link that might be useful: Cork flooring

    Bookmark   July 21, 2010 at 6:55PM
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Back trouble? You also need to work up some areas where you can sit while working or washing dishes. Be very cautious about deep sinks and wrong-height countertops also, if your back is a problem. There was a good thread about countertop ergonomics last winter.

Anyone know the best source for gel mats?

    Bookmark   July 22, 2010 at 1:36AM
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and to add to the confusion, someone recently told me about a product called CORKOLEUM. it's a combination cork/linoleum. the flooring rep that told me about it says it's more durable than just straight cork, while still cushy. i haven't had a chance to go and see it yet. maybe tomorrow? thinking of using it for the playroom... good luck!

    Bookmark   July 22, 2010 at 1:55AM
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We have cork planks. It is from US Floors, their Natural Cork New Dimensions Narrow Plank. I love them. Everyone comments on how the floor feels under their feet. Maybe you can find samples at your local store, take it home and try standing on it.

Here is a link that might be useful: US Floors Cork

    Bookmark   July 22, 2010 at 8:43AM
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We used a suspended wood floor, like an aerobics gym floor, in most of the house, including the kitchen. It has worked for me.

    Bookmark   July 22, 2010 at 10:03AM
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We installed a sheet vinyl floor over 3 years ago and I truly love it! I found it at a small carpet store and the brand is called Flexitec. It has a cushion that gives a little and my feet and legs haven't hurt me at all. I ordered it from a wholesale carpet place in Georgia, and had a local installer put it down. You can go to and find it there. The style I chose was Wondertile Montana. Looks like ceramic tile, cleans super easy. Just love it! You can see pictures here

Here is a link that might be useful: Kitchen flooring

    Bookmark   July 22, 2010 at 11:46AM
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I have back and neck problems and wouldn't dream of putting tile in my kitchen. I'm planning on using the Flexitec (made by IVC), also. This stuff felt really good when I tried out some samples at home. It is a flexible cushioned vinyl. There are 3 levels of quality, equivalent to Good/Better/Best, with corresponding warranty lengths.

You won't find a whole lot of info on these forums about this flooring option, but what little bit I have seen on it is positive.

Other companies make a similar product: Armstrong CushionStep, Tarkett Fiberfloor, Congoleum Airstep, Mannington Sobella, etc.

Good luck w/ your search!

    Bookmark   July 22, 2010 at 11:00PM
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We have had cork for close to 10 years now. I don't have back or knee probs, but both my kids learned to stand and walk in there and their little bums and even heads on occasion cushioned and bounced with nary a cry from either of them :-)

    Bookmark   July 23, 2010 at 12:36AM
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For those of you w/cork are they holding up? So much of what I've read/heard about cork is that it dents/scratches/etc. easily. What are your experiences?

    Bookmark   July 24, 2010 at 12:58PM
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Another happy cork floor owner here. It has been in for several months now and we are very pleased with it. I do a quick vacuum of it twice a week, spot clean when need to and barely damp rag it once a week. Looks wonderful and has been great on my bod and looks beautiful too. We have the Santos Matte from US Floors. Take a look at several samples together because one of the lines has a beveled edge to it which adds to the pattern on the floor. Fairly easy install with the block from US Floor.

Haven't noticed any scratches or dings with the floor. It is one of the decisions that we are very happy about.

For OP... I second the comments about your kitchen ergonomics and like to add a raised dw to the list too. We did that and it has made my life so much easier along with the shallow sinks and sink grates. True, it makes designing your layout interesting but I am so glad we did.

    Bookmark   July 24, 2010 at 1:08PM
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In a similar situation w/arthritis in lower back - we've chosen marmoleum with a 3mm cork underlayment. This will go on top of my concrete slab foundation.

    Bookmark   July 25, 2010 at 12:58AM
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cork cork cork

it is wonderful.
stands up really well to wear.
it was the first thing put down in the kitchen ( cabinets etc went on top) and then covered with cardboard while everything else went on. Of course the edges were left to the elements.

(the kind I got -- durodesign * needs to be sealed after. (they include the sealer)
A few days before the sealer was to go on I scrubbed twice with warm soapy water and rinsed well.
Came out as clean and lovely all over.
Actually the water just wiped right off.
Duh! cork doesn't absorb which is why they use it for wine bottles
Really easy to look after including cleaning up from the cats who have to "catch" their dinner from the plates and drop it onto the floor before eating.

apparently the art gallery of ontario has cork floors and those must get quite exposed to snow and salt in the winter

Here is a link that might be useful: cork floors

    Bookmark   July 26, 2010 at 11:53PM
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A little off-topic, but also think about your refrigerator. If you don't have ice on the door but go into the ice bin frequently, remember that freezer-below styles require you to pull out a (possibly heavy) drawer, then pull out another basket where ice cubes live. I am closing in on Medicare, use ice all day long and could never stoop long enough to get ice out comfortably.

Another thought for your back: Think about where you will be doing most of your food prep. Then talk with your contractor about floor-level pull-out drawers there. The shop can make or alter the drawer to add a sturdy'lid' you will use to prop one foot on as you work. This will reduce the strain in your lower back. An old trick I learned in surgery... we rested one foot on the table base while standing on tile floors for lengthy cases. Ahhh.

    Bookmark   July 27, 2010 at 4:06AM
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