Cork Flooring Experiences

jse107November 21, 2012

Strongly thinking about putting cork flooring in the kitchen. The flooring is the only "big" thing left to decide on.

If you've been living with cork floors, please tell me about your experiences! (I've looked up previous threads, but some are very old or not updated after installation.) We have two kids and a large yellow lab.

Tiles or floating?

Which brands to look at or stay away from?

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I don't have cork flooring, so I cannot speak from experience, but I have been trying to pick flooring for our kitchen remodel and have been doing the rounds with flooring stores and installers. All of them have recommended against cork in the kitchen - since I am looking for a floor that wears well with heavy use and where there will be a lot of water and liquids around (kids....). There may be brands and installation methods that work better than others however. We had cork flooring in our family room growing up and it wore extremely well with all kinds of wear and tear - including water coming inside from the pool.

    Bookmark   November 21, 2012 at 10:22AM
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I don't have any cork flooring either, but my neighbors do. It's a floating floor and is about 11 years old, so maybe the technology has improved since then. It was a quality floor and absolutely gorgeous to look at. Within the first year I noticed warping and bowing, plus it faded badly where the morning sun hit it. They have no children, but plenty of cats. It's too bad, because it was truly beautiful when it was installed.

    Bookmark   November 21, 2012 at 1:17PM
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I think Rhome was going to put cork down in the kitchen and I plan to as well. We're going with glued down tiles.

Rhome? Wasn't that you or am I mixed up?

    Bookmark   November 21, 2012 at 2:58PM
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I plan on using cork. For the kitchen most places I have seen recommend the glue down tiles. The floating planks, like any other floating system, has particle board in the center, which is what swells when wet. The glue down tiles do not swell since they do not absorb liquid.

    Bookmark   November 21, 2012 at 9:26PM
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I have had cork in my kitchen, living and dining room for 5 years and in my family room for 8 years. It wears very well and water has never caused a problem. The kitchen door is also the main entrance door to my home, so lots of traffic. Glue-down, NOT floating.

The only thing that has caused any damage is cat claws.

    Bookmark   November 21, 2012 at 9:53PM
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In my last kitchen, we had a dark brown, floating cork floor. pros: very comfortable, hid the dirt, but also easy to clean. Cons: definite fading where the sun shone for extended time period. But, still loved the floor, despite the fading, and we also got lots of comments from visitors about how great the floor looked and felt.

    Bookmark   November 21, 2012 at 10:30PM
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Mine may be one of the old threads you've looked up already, but it is about 9 or 10 years old now and still going strong. Ours is glue down tile done by a very professional company that only does hardwood and cork installation. We got ours with a white wash stain finish and that has become slightly marked over the years, but I don't mind that look. We've refinished the coating once ourselves (was quite easy) and are looking at having the original installers come do it again next year. They would patch the spots where the white stain has worn away (we have some ikea stools that marked the floor) and then do a new clear coat over top.

I adore the look and feel of our cork. I remember my oldest DD learning to walk on it (hmmm, in which case it must be 12 years old) and falling over and thinking if we had gone with ceramic, I would have worried, but the cork is so warm and soft, she was fine.

    Bookmark   November 22, 2012 at 8:43AM
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Happy Thanksgiving to all!!!

I was considering doing a cork floor in the kitchen also, but we have a cat and Alice and Deedles both say cats'claws damage the floor. Those of you who are happy with your cork you have cats who still have their claws and do they damage the floor at all?

Thanks in advance for your answer.

Toine in CT

    Bookmark   November 22, 2012 at 10:30AM
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We put Apollo Brown floating planks from ifloor in our last kitchen. Loved the feel and the look but it did not hold up with 3 kids and heavy use in a kitchen and eating area.

    Bookmark   November 23, 2012 at 9:21AM
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I had them in our last house. We had a floating floor from US Floors. It was great, very warm under foot. When we moved and rolled up the rug in the family room, I could see where the floor faded. But the odd thing was, under the rug was lighter, not the reverse. So, I guess it actually darkened with sun exposure.

It was very easy to care for, just swept and used a spray cleaner with a microfiber mop. The planks were completely sealed at the factory, so there was no worry about water damage. I know some people used to suggest to put some sort of sealer over the whole thing once installed, but since it was a floating floor, I think you would risk having the sealer crack when the floor moved.

I did love it. We had 2 dogs and daughter would bring 2 big dogs home with her, never saw any problem from them. However, one time my ds dragged a heavy storage ottoman across it and it scratched the floor. A stain stick did the trick.

I did live on edge though that someone with high heels would come in and ruin the floor. The cork does heal itself, but still......I did worry a little.

    Bookmark   November 23, 2012 at 11:02AM
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My (2nd) cork floor was installed Wednesday. I love it even more than the 1st. Went with AmCork floating planks in Tropical White. Even did floating planks both times.

I really wish everyone would stop being so afraid of cork and think wood is the be all and end all. Both have similarities- both will swell if they get too wet or IF you don't seal them. We didn't want to do glue down because we'd have had to do a subfloor over the concrete to match up floor levels with the hardwood in the adjoining room, plus we've dealt with it (plank) before.

If you wonder why we're on our 2nd floor- we had a water leak in Sept. BIG water leak under the sink (r/o unit water line that went to the sink let go). Water ran at least 16-18 hours. We only lost 1 sink cabinet, kick plates, kitchen floor and 1 bedroom (water ran under bathtub in the adjoining bathroom) and got the back corner of the bedroom carpet and a small amount of drywall the restoration company removed to "dry out" the inside of the walls. It DIDN'T even touch my hardwood floor that covers the rest of the greatroom. That plank cork floor saved 90% of the house. It was over 10 years old, took a beating on a regular basis. Never showed dirt, mopped with a Scooba, bucket and mop, or with a swiffer wet cloth. It was abused, never resealed after inital install (but it should have been!!!). DH used a old crummy stool with metal legs that "should" have had the rubber boots on them, but were worn off. I have 3 dogs- one with a beard that can hold more water than my sink, one that likes to clean her toys by dropping them in the water bowl and is known to "wash her feet" by digging in the bowl and splashing water everywhere. And guess what- I never ran around cleaning up after them. Yes I let the water dry on the floor. OMG! The horror.

We did think about other flooring options. Even brought home samples. Finally decided we both still loved cork over every other floor we have/had (hardwood, Amtico, Pergo & tile- nobody (DH) will let me try those rubber floors...). It got 2 coats of sealer on it for the joints. Bona Kemi Naturale, it's a super matte finish.

Oh and FWIW, cork is self healing, wonderful to walk on with bad knees and bad backs and won't break everything that drops on it. As for the sealer cracking? It'll do the same on wood. Wood expands and contracts with heat and humidity- that's why they always want it to acclimate to your home for several days before installation. Sealer gets into the cracks and seals the edges. I wasn't brave enough for a gloss finish, but the owner of AmCork told us they raise Great Danes and they have no scratches on theirs. And they have some GORGEOUS pearl finishes with high gloss.

Now all I need to do is get rid of that darn stool. Even redid the cabinets and elimintated the bar- the crazy man I'm married to is now sitting in front of the microwave drawer...

    Bookmark   November 24, 2012 at 7:52AM
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We have floating planks in our new kitchen. We had ruled out tile due to comfort (I cook a lot and didn't want to stand on hard tile, plus we wanted something warmer).

We ended up with Wicander floating planks. Granted it has only been a couple of months but we LOVE our floor. It has a 25 year warranty and factory finish with multiple layers of topcoat. It's so beautiful, warm and comfortable to stand on.

Sure, we need to be careful when dragging furniture,etc. but the extra care we take is nothing more than we do with our hardwoods elsewhere throughout the house.

My cork floor is one of my favorite parts of the kitchen.

    Bookmark   November 24, 2012 at 8:11AM
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Love my cork floor! Very attractive and a dream on the feet! I have two clumsy Labradors and after a few scratches, they are now getting taken for nail clippings and filings on a regular basis! Problem sorted!

    Bookmark   November 24, 2012 at 8:30AM
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To add to my post (potterstreet's reminded me) we have a 60 pound lab as well as many visiting/dogsitting doggy friends and have no issue with scratches,etc.

    Bookmark   November 24, 2012 at 8:34AM
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Bumping this back up a bit with a new question! I got samples from DuroDesign (they are fabulous), but I have found that even firmly running my fingernails across the cork will leave indents. I really, really want to love the cork, but I'm feeling hesitent with the kids an big lab! Pics anyone!?!

    Bookmark   December 4, 2012 at 1:51PM
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We got ours from DuroDesign as well & agree; they ARE fab!
Actually, 2 floors.
The glue-down tiles that were installed first over the plywood sub-floor telegraphed every imperfection of that sub-floor (obviously poorly prepped). It wasn't apparent when the tiles were laid, but as soon as the first poly coat was applied it looked horrid! Every attempted fix made it worse. The sub doing the installation finally had to bite the bullet & I re-ordered the same floor on planks (slightly more expensive).
I am so pleased with this floor. It's been in our *new* kitchen & family room (kind of a small *great* room) for 2 years now.
We're empty-nesters, who entertain a lot. We have a medium lab who gets her nails trimmed, but we seem to always have baby-sitting duties for our neighbors' or kids' critters that have no manners, & we have had no issues. We also have counter seating with stools that are sliding around continually.
The finish we chose was Edipo in whiskey brown. Our GC said it looked pre-distressed. It must really mask the digs & scratches, 'cause I still think it looks great.

    Bookmark   December 4, 2012 at 2:53PM
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Grew up in a house with cork on the complete first floor, baths kitchen and all. What a wonderful, warm, forgiving, material for floors! Spent 23 years there, and my folks went on to enjoy that floor for 30 or so more! It was glue down, 6''x12" tiles run in a commercial herringbone pattern. Medium tobbaco brown of sorts, don't know if they even make such a product anymore. This was put down in the mid '50s.

    Bookmark   December 4, 2012 at 6:40PM
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I had an apartment once that had cork floors in the kitchen from the 1920s. They were great.

We put cork tiles in our craft room. I love them but just noticed the other day they have faded badly from the sun ( less than 2 yrs old). Our wood floors haven't...

    Bookmark   December 4, 2012 at 8:24PM
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