Help me pick my cork floor!

jse107December 6, 2012

So we're committing to doing a cork floor--glue down tile--in our kitchen, powder room and front hallway. About 450 sq ft. It will border a white oak hardwood floor (naturally stained). We are ordering Crystal Keyline Country French door maple cabinets stained in Nutmeg. The counter will be Typhoon Bordeaux granite.

A few questions:
1) Which brand do you like: Duro-Design, Expanko, or Globus?

2) How do you tranistion between the cork and hardwood? I know there are transition strips, but we want it to be as unobstrusive as possible.

3) With the colors I'm using, which cork style would be best? (I can try to upload pics of samples later)

Algarve is one style (I can get in any brand):

Or, should we go more simple, and stick with a light or medium:

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Circus Peanut

I'm not up on the various brands (yet), but we're considering DIY cork as an alternative to expensive sheet Marmoleum, and one tip most flooring places seem to offer is that it's better to select a type that doesn't have the fiberboard (non-cork) core. Apparently this is the part that makes it vulnerable to swelling and damage from water absorption and thus not good for wet environments like kitchens. Pure cork is apparently superior?

This might be sheer floor-layers myth, but it does make sense at least on first reflection.

    Bookmark   December 6, 2012 at 12:11PM
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Hope you get many responses; I'm also looking at cork in kitchen but haven't decided on a manufacturer. I received several glue down tile samples from durodesign which is located in Canada. Some fellow gw'ers have installed and are happy with the product.

    Bookmark   December 6, 2012 at 12:37PM
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Also doing glue down tiles. I got a bunch of samples from Globus (though not as many as Deedles!) and like their variety. I haven't seen too much about which ones might be better. I was a bit surprised at how small the selection is compared to floating planks given that the glue down is better in kitchens and baths.

I'm very interested to see what info gets posted here, great question!

    Bookmark   December 6, 2012 at 12:54PM
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Circus Peanut

Just to throw this in as well: I'm probably going to dye or stain mine once they're in, since I want a vintage combo of colors to match the original 1910 linoleum. I plan on getting some cheap glue-down cork tiles from Lumber Liquidators and experimenting a bit first. Will report as things transpire, and am also eager to hear of others' glue-down experience.

    Bookmark   December 6, 2012 at 1:07PM
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Don't be afraid of the planks. We've done them twice now- sealer will keep the seams from buckling. We have concrete base, so we'd have needed a subfloor in order for glue down to be level. Not worth the effort.

We went with Am-Cork. They have some great colors- some pearly finishes to DIE for- We ended up speaking to the owners who raise great danes, and they have high gloss cork in their house (much braver than me!). We got the Tropical White- which is sort of a creamy beige. Put down 2 coats of Bona Kemi Traffic sealer on top. We used t-molding that matches my oak floor between- not my favorite, but it works well.

I had samples from all over- globus, icork, anyplace I could find. Am-Cork wasn't the cheapest, but I really liked their samples and I'm thrilled with the floor.

Here is a link that might be useful: Am-Cork

    Bookmark   December 6, 2012 at 3:23PM
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I have a different vendor, and mine will be click-down on plywood base.

I bought an underlayment that will make the cork the exact same depth as the hard wood it'll be meeting. I do NOT want a transition thing or bump at all. This worked with our bathroom tile into the hardwood in the bedrooms and I love it.

My cork is gorgeous. I wish I could remember who makes it, but it's olive colors, with tan and some burgundy. I love it.

    Bookmark   December 6, 2012 at 4:28PM
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@circuspeanut, it might be hard to change color after installed. Cork doesn't really absorb stain, so it's more like painting from what I understand. Haven't tried it personally, just going by info I got when I asked about the different colors at Globus. Most of the lighter or darker yellow to brown colors I saw looked more like a blend of different color cork, but the other colors seem to be part of the finish.

    Bookmark   December 6, 2012 at 4:52PM
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Here are some of the choices. The cabinet is not exactly what we're getting, but very close. Sorry the pics are so big, but I'm having trouble getting them to resize and stay that way when I post them!


    Bookmark   December 6, 2012 at 5:41PM
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I like the long piece next to the colors. It looks like it brings out some golden tones in the granite.

What color is the sample next to the whitish one?

    Bookmark   December 6, 2012 at 6:03PM
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Hardwood is 3/4 inch height, cork is much much less. No way to match it with gluedown. You'll have a transition and maybe a trip hazard. Generally it is recommended to float the flow in water areas as the adhesive is water-based. You'll end up with popping tiles way before the engineered floating floor (although higher cost) swells at all. You can probably match the height with patience with the floating floor. Also, the colored tiles will show every scratch as it's just a topical coating. So I'd try and get one as natural colored as possible. -Eve

    Bookmark   December 6, 2012 at 7:09PM
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@williamsem--The color next to the whitish one is actually a greenish olive color.

@eve72--From everything I've read, the floating floor is more easily ruined if it gets seriously wet due to the MDF. Because this will be in our kitchen and powder room, it seems that the glue-down would be better. This is the tough thing about cork flooring--it's hard to get straight answers about it's durability in the kitchen! Some companies say absolutely and others seem to say no way!

I am definitely leaning towards a more natural color--just because I know scratches will more easily show on a colored cork.

We are looking at options for the transition--if we go with the 1/2 inch cork from Expanko, it won't be too difficult to transition.

    Bookmark   December 6, 2012 at 8:33PM
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Cork WILL swell if it gets soaked, so will wood, laminates, everything else I can think of except tile (of course if you have a wood subfloor that would swell, too). My old plank floating cork absorbed so much water it was amazing. If you ever DO have a flood, chances are the flooring will need to come up no matter what you choose- the mold that could grown underneath would scare me.

We debated on going with tile this time around- after weeks, we finally realized neither of us wanted anything other than cork. It's so nice to walk on and save your back and knees. Our old floor was similar to the golden nugget(long piece) type showing in the 1st pic- it showed NO dirt. My new floor pattern is similar to the last pic. I love the look of the newer style.

The closer the color to natural cork, the less you'll see any sort of dings or scratches- no that you'll see many anyway, since it is self healing,

    Bookmark   December 7, 2012 at 5:42AM
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Floating plank floors, like the one mentioned above, will swell. Any floating floor with a fiberboard or particle board center (which is just about all of them from what I've been seeing) will swell. Doesn't matter what the top material is.

Everything I have read says solid cork tiles will not swell. Cork on it's own does not absorb much. Even the "stains" used to color them are not absorbed enough to color the cork, they mostly sit on top of the cork. There is some sort of naturally occurring waxy substance in cork. Cork is good for allergies because it doesn't harbor mold, because it doesn't hold water.

    Bookmark   December 7, 2012 at 10:32AM
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Yes, I have a lot of Globus samples. They are all beautiful! We're going with glue down for many of the reasons stated above.

For the transition... I came across a website that makes inlay floor designs, in wood and stone both. Some of the comments were from people that needed to transition between cork and wood floors and were able to pull color from both in the inlay transition piece. Those comments seemed to be happy ones, although I'm sure places of business aren't inclined to post unhappy comments, lol. If you search for inlay flooring you should find it or something else like it. Sorry, I didn't keep the website bookmarked.

    Bookmark   December 7, 2012 at 11:53AM
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I also would recommend glueing the tiles down, otherwise nothing will keep them in place.

    Bookmark   December 7, 2012 at 12:46PM
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