do your cork floors dent?

seaduckAugust 27, 2011

We have just installed new cork floors. They are Durocork, direct glue-down tiles over plywood subfloors. And they look great. We're very pleased.

DH is starting to obsess about denting them. As in: put a sheet of cardboard under the stepladder before standing on it. He recognizes that we're in that early stage keep-it-perfect mode. But still.

I know there are cork floors that have been around for 75 years. I never thought much about this...heard that cork is resilient and if you dent it, the floor will sort of spring back.

What's your experience? Do I need to lug around cardboard or plywood everytime I want to sit on a stool or stand on a stepladder? Do you have dents from furniture, ladders, anything really heavy?

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No dents from furniture yet but if you drop a D cell battery from counter height you are doomed! Don't ask me how I know that.

Enjoy your cork and make your first dent soon to get it out of the way.


    Bookmark   August 28, 2011 at 1:28AM
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Well, I dropped a paring knife the other day and it landed point down (and point in), but having removed it, I cannot see the problem.

Our cork floor is pretty new (March) but, WRT the ladder I'll note this: no dents yet under the legs of the kitchen chairs or tables, so there's that. And we're routinely yelling at one or another kid to stop tilting the chair up on two legs, but no damage yet.

    Bookmark   August 28, 2011 at 10:49AM
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It was pretty hard for us to dent the floor. We got some samples from the store and took them outside and laid them down on our concrete stoop and let them have it with some large canned goods. The larger cans (like the bigger cans of tomatoes you can get in the grocery) would leave a dent when dropped from counter height. If they hit along an edge you could find a dent. Not a huge deal. Just the faint shape of the rim of the can. That's how we tested prior to purchase. We let the samples really have it.


    Bookmark   August 28, 2011 at 11:49AM
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djg and doggone - do you have the thinner glue down tiles or the planks with underlayment attached?

    Bookmark   August 28, 2011 at 11:56AM
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I'll be careful with D batteries! But it seems strange that that would be worse than, say chair legs. If you had, say, a 200 pound person sitting in a chair (or a 100 pound kid tilting back!) that would be 50 pounds per leg. Tho the force obviously has something to do with that.

I'm curious about ae2ga's question, too. Tho' I'm not sure it would make a difference -- I think the thickness of the cork is similar.

    Bookmark   August 28, 2011 at 12:22PM
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Seaduck - I asked because I have samples of both, and it seems to me that the tiles were not as tough as the planks (I could cut and break the tiles but not the planks). But I'm looking at samples not a real installed floor which is different. I'm at least a year out form my renovation, so I'm soaking up as much information as possible and learning from others' experiences so that I can make good decisions when the time comes.

    Bookmark   August 28, 2011 at 12:41PM
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we have the Wicanders cork planks -- multiple layers, with a cork base, a cork veneer, and a protective top coat.

    Bookmark   August 28, 2011 at 1:12PM
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ae2ga -- This has probably occured to you, but since you're renovating, consider the implications of the extra thickness of the planks. Trace it around the room: will it affect doors/thresholds? Stairs? (Riser heights should all be the same -- if one is different, people will tend to trip or fall.) Any existing appliance/counter heights? Baseboard?

I don't worry about the durability of the tiles -- they have been around for decades in very high-traffic areas. I suspect the chief advantage of planks is that they are easier and faster to install. The tiles require really good prep or they will telegraph any globs, bumps, screwheads... You can minimize the effect of that with one of the 'busier' grain patterns.

In our case, we were replacing carpet (! yes..original to the house) which was pretty much the same thickness as the tiles. The planks would have been a nightmare -- doors and thresholds, existing cabs and appliances that we were keeping, a the look of viewing a 'raised' floor from the adjacent rooms.

    Bookmark   August 28, 2011 at 2:04PM
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Seaduck - good point. I think I'll be okay because I'll be replacing floors in the whole house; in fact, the entire house will be renovated with new electrical, plumbing, insulation, dry wall, floors, paint, etc. My electrical, plumbing, and insulation are circa 1968 - they've got to go - and the floors are atrocious.

Bathrooms will probably be tiled, but everything else - I'm thinking strand woven bamboo or cork (planks), leaning toward cork because it should be softer, has an excellent record of longevity, and it's so pretty. I am worried about cork under appliances and heavy furniture though.

    Bookmark   August 28, 2011 at 3:29PM
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djg1- can you give me an idea of cost per sq ft for the Wiccanders? Do you know how that might compare to the glue down?

    Bookmark   August 28, 2011 at 3:56PM
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We have QCork brand click floor/plank style. I think it really boils down to the percussive forces of the cans and D battery hitting the floor. I'm no physicist but the difference between static and dynamic forces seem to be at work here.

The good news is dents are nearly unnoticeable.

It's a win-win.


    Bookmark   August 28, 2011 at 4:03PM
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Seaduck, we have glue-down tiles -- no dents under table, chair, and stool legs (under which we have applied felt pads). Someone used a ladder in the kitchen that had lost its rubber pad under one leg, and that left a few dents as it was moved around the kitchen -- I don't see them unless I am looking for them. But that sharp metal leg would presumably have marked any floor, and is probably least noticeable on natural cork tiles. No dog toenail marks yet, might have to get a bigger dog.... I agree with doggonegardener: throw some D-cell batteries and cans around so you can get beyond that "new car" feeling.

    Bookmark   August 28, 2011 at 5:49PM
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I also have Wicanders planks (floating floor) in Tea. I love it!!!! I have a bad back and have had a full knee replacement. I have a very active cat and no scratches on the floor. Also no dents from furniture or dropping anything. Cork flooring has improved tremendously in the past few years. It's very durable.

    Bookmark   August 28, 2011 at 6:33PM
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Our glue down cork floors have been in for 3 years, and we have no dents. We have kitchen stools that are used often, and they haven't left any dents.

    Bookmark   August 29, 2011 at 12:53PM
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You've all been wonderful. I'm not going to worry about this...I just need to convince DH not to worry! This will help.

    Bookmark   August 29, 2011 at 7:16PM
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dianalo -- I'll have to look for the invoice (I found one statement in my email file, but it just had a total price for the flooring plus installation).

    Bookmark   August 30, 2011 at 8:47AM
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Thanks, Djg1. I'd appreciate any kind of idea of what to expect. If it spells out your sq footage and a total price, then we can figure the price per sq ft. I'd need it installed too, so might as well hear the full damage, lol....

    Bookmark   August 30, 2011 at 10:55AM
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I read that the cork tiles are better because they are thicker and resist damaging from water etc a bit better.
All must be sealed however, even if sealed at the factory.
The after-installation-sealing will take care of seams as a point of entry for water spills.

I really would like to have this installed to replace my kitchen flooring.

Is the installation over old flooring a problem?

    Bookmark   October 25, 2012 at 11:02AM
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We are gng with Globus Cork glue down tiles. While the click planks can be installed over some existing floors (but are not recommended for kitchens), the glue down tiles need a very well prepared absolutely flat subfloor and cannot be installed over old floors. I think they might be able to go over a stable flat floor if you put a new subfloor on top, but I'm not entirely sure.

Globus has a good amount of information on their website if you want to read up a little on install, it's not an area I have expertise in. They have also been very responsive to my email questions if you want to contact them.

    Bookmark   October 25, 2012 at 1:07PM
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Where can you order Wicanders? Any place to see it in person?

Differences between Wicanders and Globus?

    Bookmark   November 19, 2012 at 1:29PM
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Our cork dented badly from our kitchen chairs in less than a month. The chairs have smooth round plastic buttons on the bottom, about 3/4" in diameter. The heaviest person in our family weighs less than 130lb. But clearly that's enough to dent these floors which are WE Cork glue down tiles with greenshield on new plywood. We are tremendously disappointed. The cork dealer says I might be able to lift them out with an iron over a towel.

    Bookmark   November 25, 2013 at 5:21PM
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I am going with duro-design cork tiles. Glenm, did u apply a coating/poly/whatever over the tiles after being installed? I think with duro-design cork tiles, they say they put a couple of coats prior to sending out, but the customer must apply 4 coats after the install. Could that help/hurt with the dents?

    Bookmark   December 3, 2013 at 2:59PM
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We've had glue down cork tiles in our kitchen for over 8 years now. I've never seen anything like glenm has. When we move our fairly heavy island for cleaning (it is on legs kind of like a table) there are slight impressions. If I leave it in a different place, the impressions disappear after awhile. I've also had an orange punch spill under the highchair that I didn't notice for a day. It left a stain, but this also lifted after about a month (our cork has a cream coloured stain overtop, so the orange stain stood out).

    Bookmark   December 3, 2013 at 7:01PM
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We ended up with US Floor glue down tiles and also do not have denting like that. So far the only issues I've had are a bad dent where the oven cabinet was dropped on a corner (and they are heavy furnitureboard cabinets) that we replaced, and I noticed a dent where they dropped the dishwasher pulling it out to readjust that isn't very deep. Nothing from the table or chairs even after my father came for dinner, and he's pretty heavy.

    Bookmark   December 3, 2013 at 7:43PM
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In reply to Mags438, these tiles came pre-finished and the installer recommended against any additional coats of poly.

So, if no one else is getting dents like this, does that mean I have defective tiles? The installer is going to charge me to replace the worst tiles.

    Bookmark   December 5, 2013 at 9:11AM
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Our floor looks exactly like yours. We have forna cork (also called icork). At installation, they put on like 3 coats of poly.

I love the cork but it is soooo delicate. All the chairs around the kitchen table have done exactly what you have pictured.

Would I do it again? I don't know. The floor definitely has its benefits. But there are STILL marks on it from when a guest visited in August and was wearing heels. Not stilettos, mind you, just little kitten heels.

    Bookmark   December 5, 2013 at 4:07PM
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Glenm, I would prolly talk to manufacturer to find out source of problem, before paying to have tiles replaced.

    Bookmark   December 5, 2013 at 4:40PM
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Just an update: I called WeCork and they said they had never heard of this happening. They asked me to send photos which I emailed on Dec. 5. Still waiting to hear from them.

Meanwhile, talked to the distributor who told me to put rubber sleeves on the chair legs.

Two neighbors have cork floors in their kitchens with no dents.

    Bookmark   December 19, 2013 at 12:54PM
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Just because it's possible, are the tiles glued in right side up? Were the installers familiar with the product? If the finished side is down, that would be the side that is more durable with the protective wear layer.

    Bookmark   December 19, 2013 at 1:33PM
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I was thinking of putting cork under my wood floors but now I am worried that the heavy cabinets will dent the cork and cause problems so I am following this post. Thank you everyone for sharing.

    Bookmark   December 19, 2013 at 7:35PM
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