Cork Flooring

Cork flooring has been part of the construction scene for over 100 years, and is making a comeback. It has a very different look and feel from ceramic tiles, hardwood, stone, or carpeting, and is worth looking into for your next floor.

Uncorking the Joys of Cork Flooring

Cork isn’t just for wine bottles any more! Cork makes a great foor too. Cork has been used in a variety of ways for thousands of years, and flooring has been on the list of cork uses since the late 1800s.

Related Reading:  Check out our best reviews and comparisons of floor tiles made from cork!  Including buyer’s guide!

Cork is the outer bark layer of the cork oak tree. Cork consists of a tight web of up to 40 million cells per cubic centimeter, cells that retain gas and give cork its unique character. These trees are found growing in Mediterranean climates like Portugal, Spain, southern France, Italy, and the Maghreb region of north-western Africa. Cork is considered environmentally friendly and sustainable; not only does cork regrow, but also it is readily recycled and biodegradable.
Cork floor qualities include:

  • cushiony and comfortable to walk on
  • impermeability
  • light weight
  • insulating
  • resilient and elastic; re-expands quickly after compression
  • muffles sound
  • warm to the touch
  • resistant to insects and fires
  • non-allergenic and no offgassing


Cork flooring’s possible drawbacks are:

    • seems fragile
    • too soft to make it a good flooring
    • flaky
    • expensive

Cork flooring’s two styles are tiles and planks, and it comes in a range of natural colors. Tiles are glued down and planks are generally floated. Cork tiles are solid cork, about 1/4″ think and are usually 12″x12″ or 12″x24″, with a veneer of decorative cork on top. Cork planks are a sandwich, the layers being cork, a solid center core, cork, and a decorative cork veneer. The solid core is typically made of a fiberboard like HDF (high density fiberboard). The plank dimensions are about 1/2-5/8″ thick, and a nominal 1 foot wide by 3 feet long. Tiles are typically glued directly to the subfloor or concrete slab, while planks are clicked or glued together but floating on the subfloor.
The hardness of cork is rarely discussed because it is so different from wood and laminate flooring materials. Its Janka rating is 200, but that doesn’t accurately reflect its durability. Its softness seemed like a problem when I dropped a wood sample on it, and the corner of the sample cut into the flooring. I went to show our flooring installer the cut a few months later and couldn’t find it; the wound had “healed” without a trace.
Cork has been around for thousands of years. It has been used for floats for fishing nets, stoppers for wine and olive oil bottles, sandals, insulation on boats, and even roofing in northern Africa. As a flooring material, it has been used for over a hundred years in buildings like churches, private homes, courthouses, health clinics, libraries and banks. Cork flooring has recently made a comeback, and it’s being used in a wide range of buildings, including restaurants, bars, showrooms, as well as private homes.
From personal experience, I see the cons of cork flooring being in the new approaches to finishing the product. The floating cork floor we put in our house has a finish that streaks when damp mopped, has attained a dull finish, and scratches easily. The finish hasn’t kept the cork bits from flaking out of the tile, even in low-traffic areas. I frankly blame that on the finish rather than the concept of cork flooring. I haven’t tested this yet, but I wonder if a urethane finish would not only improve the existing finish, but also seal the seams that don’t seem to bet as impervious to moisture as advertised.
Cork flooring has the most abundant list of benefits I have ever seen or experienced. It is such a delight to walk on, adding a spring to your step, and it muffles sounds, like carpeting does. Its hard surface keeps allergens from hiding, so cleaning is easy and reduces allergy problems. It is beautiful to look at, partially because of its lack of grain and directional growth. Because of its insulation quality, cork mutes sound transfer between floors, and maintains a reasonable temperature range. If you are striving for a “green home”, take note because it qualifies for points under LEED (Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design, a green building rating system developed in the U.S. by the Green Building Council); that’s a huge statement of support for the sustainable aspects of cork.
If you are looking for an elegant flooring that is durable, comfortable, easy to maintain, and has a unique look to it, then cork is the right choice for you. When you choose a cork floor, you are choosing to have a floor that will last several lifetimes. What a great choice!

52 thoughts on “Cork Flooring

  1. Hello! Cork Flooring is very interesting to me. But, I am thinking of putting it in my kitchen…will it be durable enough? How is it to be cleaned? I have a dog and a young son. Is it appropriate for them?
    Thanks for any information you can provide.
    All the best,
    Jen

  2. Cork flooring is very durable. It’s been used for flooring for over a hundred years in public buildings, and still holding up well to traffic found in them.
    Part of the question should be which type of cork flooring to use: floating or glue-down tiles. If you need the depth of flooring product provided by a floating floor, then that’s the route to go. If you can go with a thinner tile, then I’d go with the glue-down tiles.
    Cork can be sealed with polyurethane (though test a tile to make sure the product you buy will seal nicely) to keep it more resistant to the kind of traffic you have at your home.
    I cleaned my cork floors with vinegar water (1 cup of distilled white vinegar to a gallon of water). It’s inexpensive, environmentally safe, and effective.
    Shop around for the best product you can find. Companies do provide samples to help you determine which cork flooring product will satisfy your needs most.
    Good luck!

  3. I don’t know about the salty environment, but the humidity should make it very happy. Do be sure to acclimate the cork outside of its packaging for a week or two before installing.
    I’ve never lived in a salty and sandy environment, but I would think you’d want to put a good polyurethane finish on after cork installation so that it’s nicely sealed from the sand and salt.

  4. Would like to take out carpet and refinish our floors in Colorado Springs house with wood floors. Due to relative cold weather am concerned about floors being too cold. Have been looking into cork floors but we have small children (high traffic) and antique furniture (heavy with wheels or thin legs). Will the low Janka rating of cork stand up to the weight of the heavy antique furniture? Colorado Springs has extremely arid/dry air, will the dry climate increase the flaking of the cork rendering it a poor choice for that area? If so what would you recomend instead? Also redoing floor in master bath (currently carpeted as it connects to the master bedroom without wall or door). Any suggestions there? Thank you!
    Lynn

  5. This question was originally posted on the Bamboo Flooring article. I answered it for bamboo there, and am now addressing it here, since cork is specifically what was asked about.
    I chose cork flooring for my new home several years ago. Living in Colorado turned out to be an issue for the floor, but mostly because we didn’t acclimate it properly prior to installation. To compound our problems we had a defective batch of cork so it wouldn’t lie flat or click properly.
    Note: Be sure to choose a product that has a warranty and guarantee from the manufacturer (and make sure you agree with the concept of their terms).
    Lessons from my cork floor experience are:

    • buy cork tiles, not floating floor planks
    • acclimate the cork so it dries to match your home’s particular climate — that could take several weeks of the cork being out of the packaging it’s shipped in
    • choose unfinished cork and coat it with a water-based polyurethane after installation
    • use Bostik’s Best flexible urethane adhesive to glue the cork tiles down with, even with in-floor radiant heat

    Cork may not have a high Janka rating, but that’s also part of its charm. It is durable yet soft under foot. Any heavy furniture should have “coasters” under the feet to help distribute the furniture’s weight — and that’s true whether it’s on carpet, wood, concrete or cork.
    Cork is a natural insulator, but it will feel cooler to your feet than carpet does. But I think that’s what area rugs are for. Cork is easy to clean and maintain, easier than carpet for sure. The insulation quality of the cork also helps dampen noises and sounds in the house; I really miss that aspect of my cork floor.
    I had cork throughout my home and loved the look and feel of it. If I had known then what I do now I’d probably still have cork flooring. I love my bamboo floors, but miss the cork just the same.

  6. We are going to install a floating cork floor in our dining room (12 X 36″ planks), but one wall has a stone fireplace with a stone seat. The cork will butt up against the stone seat. Do you have any suggestions on how to cover the joint b/w the cork and the stone (which is not straight)? We have to leave 1/4″ expansion joint. Thanks for any suggestions.
    Mary

  7. Hi Mary,
    Geez, that’s a tough one! Normally, you’d use some sort of floor trim – what are you planning on using around the rest of the room? Perhaps you could use a really decorative floor trim there, so that it looks like you really intentionally wanted it there, rather than as an afterthought. There is beautiful wood trim impressed and carved with all sorts of wonderful themes and you can stain it yourself so that you get a color you want.
    Anybody else out there have any thoughts/comments?

  8. We had cork flooring abutting a tile floor-level hearth and framed the tiles with wood. Then the cork was cut to meet the wood “frame” — without the 1/4″ gap. We filled the joint initially with caulk, but that cracked as the floor shifted slightly as people walked across the room. We re-caulked with sanded caulk and have had great success.
    If you length is greater than ours you could consider putting a wood trip along the stone — the wood could be routed to follow the texture and line of the stone. The cork could then abut the wood. If your floor contractor is really good the cork could be cut to flow with the stone line and then put sanded caulk in the joint between the two.
    I just hope you don’t have Natural Cork’s cork flooring.

  9. We’re about to remodel our entire main floor and we’d love to use cork flooring from the kitchen through the dining area and to the edge of the carpeted entrance into the family room. We have opted to forego a formal dining room, and instead we’ll have a 5-6 seat kitchen peninsula for casual family dining, and an over-sized rectangular table between the kitchen and family room for entertaining, which can range from a gourmet dinner party to a family gathering with my siblings and their kids.
    I’ve been doing a lot of online research and I’m completely convinced of cork’s benefits, especially in durability and self-healing, and it seems that cork does well in high-traffic areas; but what about high-SITTING areas? Can it really bounce back from a 200-lb man sitting at the table for a two-hour wine-tasting dinner? And can that 200-lb man, or even a 60-lb child, slide his chair back with ease, or will he have to lift it up to push back from the table? That may be our most crucial concern — is cork “user-friendly” or will it frustrate us? Do different sealants affect the “slide-ability?” And maybe all of these questions are moot because I’m making too much of a comparison between cork flooring and the stickiness I equate with wine bottle corks.
    If cork doesn’t seem like the right surface for us in the dining area, then we won’t use it in the kitchen either, because we want one flooring material to flow through the entire area.
    I apologize for the length of my post; I really, really want a cork floor, but I really, really want to make the best choice for the way we use our space. Thanks for any insight you can give me.

  10. Hi Jen,
    Your ideas sound wonderful! As far as your concerns about high-traffic (or sitting!) areas, it does well in all areas, using the right precautions.
    * Felt pads under chairs and some furniture is important.
    * Furniture casters should be placed under heavy furniture — piano,
    dresser — and furniture with hard or pointed “feet” — antique
    sewing machine case.
    And put several coats of water-based polyurethane — Diamond Coat Varathane PolyurethaneVarathane
    Diamond Coat Polyurethane
    , formulated for floors on top of the
    cork before baseboards are installed.
    And yes, it really can bounce back from a 200-lb man sitting at the table for a two-hour wine-tasting dinner. ;~) Sliding chairs out from sitting at the table works fine, assuming the various precautions (above) have been taken.
    Have no fear, Wine corks are not compressed as tightly and don’t have protective coatings on them. My sister used to “skate” around the house in her socks, something we can’t do as well with our bamboo or oak.
    I’d suggest glue-down cork and use Bostik’s Best adhesive. It’ll be great! Hope the info helps.

  11. We recently had cork flooring installed in our kitchen/entrance hallway and had the cork in our basement for about 8 months (still in boxes covered in plastic). I’m concerned that it might not be acclimated because we didn’t open the boxes. Should I worry because it was in our house so long before installation. Also, our floor wasn’t completely level and there is a noticeable hump near the fridge. Will this eventually crack the planks that aren’t level. The planks were placed over the old floor but they removed the old flooring in the higher area. Lastly, the installers took out the cork three times because 1) they cut wires on our security system, 2) didn’t realize it extended to the front hallway and 3) worked on reducing the hump a second time. Does anyone know if there’s a limit to how many times the planks can be taken apart and reinserted. Does this weaken the joing? I’ve never posted before so apologize if I’m asking too many questions in one e-mail. Thanks.
    Lucy

  12. Hi Lucy,
    No problem with asking so many questions – that’s what this site is here for! I’ll try to answer them in order.
    The flooring should have been taken out of the boxes to acclimate, or at least had the plastic opened up. You should be ok though, since the floor was laid and taken back up if I’m understanding you correctly.
    I think the hump in the floor needs to be addresses. Any new floor you put down needs to be installed on a level floor or else there’s probably going to be some sort of issue arise down the road. See if your installer can put down a leveling agent of some kind.
    Taking the planks apart a few times, hopefully won’t hurt the joints. It’s really hard to say since I can’t actually see it. Most interlock flooring products are pretty sturdy. I’d check to see if there’s any noticeable wear on the interlocking parts. If they’re showing wear then I’d insist on the installers having to bear the expense of more new flooring to ensure that this isn’t a problem. I’d also insist that the floor be level. This part might cost you more, depending upon if the installers knew that they’d be dealing with the hump. If the installers are the ones that removed the old flooring, then they knew well enough that it’d have to be level before putting down new flooring. If I’ve confused, let me know. ;~)

  13. Thanks very much for the information. I don’t think any joints were damaged although they may not have left the space on the sides to adjust for expansion of the floor. We’ll take the ‘hump’ issue up with our installers. We love the cork and wouldn’t go back to anything else in our kitchen.
    Lucy

  14. Hi Lucy,
    Glad you like the cork – it’s pretty nice stuff isn’t it?!
    Take a peek to see if the installers left an expansion gap, if not, that’s something else you’ll need to take up with them when you call them about the hump issue.
    Good luck!

  15. I’m back for another question. The guys came and put a leveler on the laminate (first they primed it the night before) and then a couple of days later they came and feathered it out and then layed (yet again) the cork. The hump has definitely improved but there are some soft spots so I feel we traded one problem for others. There was a soft spot in a high traffic area near the sink and the installer put a couple of small nails in and then puttied them. Is it possible for cork to crack over the years with these soft spots or because it’s a soft flooring will it just flex with traffic.
    We noticed also that one of our cats had scratched the surface which is strange as she’s been sliding on it for a couple of months now as she chases her ball and we also noticed a little scuff probably due to moving the fridge back to its spot. Can those areas be buffed by steel wool for example or do we have to live with these imperfections so soon after installation. Maybe with cats we just have to give up on it being pristine although it has numerous coats of topcoat (verathane/urathane ?) so thought it would hold up better. Thanks so much for your time.
    Lucy

  16. Hi Lucy,
    It’s hard to tell how your floor will react over time – this is a new type of product and it’s going to take time before people hear about all it’s little quirks. I would think that it’ll be ok though (referring to the soft spot).
    As far as the scuff/scratches and getting them out, I’m not sure how to go about advising you. Did the installer apply the top coats or was it already this way from the factory? You are correct in assuming that they can probably be buffed out, but without knowing what kind of urethane they’re finished with you won’t know which type to use – you need to know or else you can really ruin your finish.

  17. Thank you for you comments. The floor was already finished when we bought it and is supposed to be industrial strength. I’ll contact Wicanders directly to see if they can tell me what they used and if I can buff and then reapply.
    Lucy

  18. Hi, we walked into our Chicago home last night and we greeted with a burst pipe and a flooded basement. The new pergo-type flooring in the basement is warped and needs to be replaced and as I become more eco-friendly about renovations and I am interested in replacing the ‘wood’ with cork tiles. Can we use them in the basement that is possibly prone to flooding? If the flooding happens again can we pull them up and save them? We have a sub-floor that may have to be replaced but they won’t be put on the concrete. Thoughts?

  19. Cork tiles are wonderful, but I would be hesitant to use it in a basement that is prone to flooding. Does your basement flood when you have lots of rain too? I’m really having mixed thoughts about this because you haven’t clarified what “prone to flooding” really means. If you’re implying that it would only get flooded if you have a pipe burst, then by all means you may as well put down the cork tiles. Chances are, any flooring you put down is going to get ruined if you have a pipe burst again. I don’t know if they’ll be reusable even if you take them up and let them dry out.
    You might want to look at the section of moisture proofing and read the articles about some of the different sub-floor systems available. I don’t know if even these would work though as you didn’t mention how high the water gets.

  20. we are finishing our basement and am thinking of putting in cork (floating). we are going to have a large back bar, pool table, ping pong table and it will basically be used by our teenagers and their friends. do you think cork is a good choice, or do you recommend another flooring. we love the fact that it is “green”, warm, and absorbs sound, but am concerned about scratches. we also have a 70 lb dog that loves to run and play. we would love to hear what you think.
    thanks,
    diane

  21. Hi,
    I want to lay down a floating cork floor in my kitchen. I have a large heavy oak table that i am afraid it will dent or rip the cork. Is there a way to protect the floor? The table has small disk at the bottom of the legs. Being so small it does not disperse the weight properly. Would it be possible to cut cork disks larger to disperse weight evenly? Any suggestions?
    Thanks
    al

  22. Hi Al,
    I’m not sure what you mean by your last sentence. I would suggest removing the small floor protectors from the table legs and replacing it with larger ones so the weight is dispersed better.
    Are you planning to seal your cork flooring? If so, I’d recommend Diamond Coat Varathane Polyurethane — it will protect your flooring better because it will actually make the surface harder.

  23. We had cork tiles professionally installed last year in the basement (the “click” type, no glue, with a plastic, water-proof sheet beneath the tiles). A pipe burst about a week ago and leaked into the basement. We mopped and dried where the water leaked, but the tiles obviously got water underneath them because they buckled at the edges. I have had a fan going for about 4 days, but the tiles are still a bit buckled around the edges. Should I continue to fan and hope for the best, or should I lay books down around the edges to try to weight them down. I worry about trapping moisture in the tiles if they are not completely dried out, but also wonder if they should be weighted AS they dry? We live in Utah, so it is rather arid.

  24. I am thinking of getting cork floors installed in my home, but I have quite a few cats and am worried that they will scratch the flooring. My cats have not been declawed and have been known to claw at the carpeting that is currently on the floors. Can cork flooring withstand cats?

  25. Hi Roman, Please see my reply to Suzanne. I really don’t think there is much you can do at this point due to the fragility of the cork. I would have a professional evaluate it but I’m afraid replacement is probably going to be the best option.

  26. Thanks for your comment. We have moved the leaky pipe away from the building and replaced the water main, so hopefully there will be no more flooding. The tiles seem to have dried out, and the bowing has lessened somewhat. Just for the heck of it, I am going to try to weight down the bowed edges. I’ll tell you if I have success in doing that — before I call in the expensive professionals. I really appreciate your site and the advice you give to all of these individuals!

  27. Help! I’m moving into a beautiful rental apartment which has cork floors. They are 75 years old and the landlord doesn’t want to replace them or repair them in any way. They are very dirty.
    My question is: Can they be professionally refinished. I will absorb the cost for this, but who can I contact to do this and what is the process? Can they be sanded, stained and polyeurathaned?
    Please help me out. I love the apartment and want to move in, but don’t know if there’s any way I can salvage the floors.
    Thanks
    Paul

  28. Paul,
    Modern cork flooring can be refinished by gently sanding between polyurethane coats as the cork is normally quite thin. I would highly recommend you speak with a professional contractor who specializes in restoring vintage flooring.

  29. I have been entertaining the idea of installing floating cork flooring in my family room. I have two misgivings though. One is that the cork would butt up against bamboo flooring, and I’m concerned that it would look odd. My other concern is that the bamboo is 5/8″ thick and the cork flooring seems to be 1/2″ thick. Do you know of any cork that has a thickness of 5/8 inch? Have you seen bamboo and cork used ajacent to each other?
    Thanks for any help and info,
    Mary

  30. Mary,
    In regards to your first concern. I’ve had both cork and bamboo separately. I see no problem mixing the two as both being natural products, go well together. I would suggest getting samples and setting them next to each other in your home with your decor and your lighting as it will make a difference in how the flooring is portrayed.
    Every manufacturer has a different thickness of their flooring. Rather then choosing the company in the style you like you can shop the same manufacturer as your previous floor. If the floor is a must-have you can put down a cork underlayment about 1/8”to help with raising the floor. I have several articles in my archives regarding cork.

  31. Hi !
    We are thinking of installing cork flooring at our summer cottage. For many months of the year the heat is off and the house is below freezing. Can you advise how this will affect the cork? Should we look to a different flooring? Anything you can recommend other than carpet or hardwood? Thank you.

  32. Murray,
    I don’t know how cork will respond to your specific situation although hardwoods can be stressed by the intense temperatures. They generally hold up fine, based on my experience with my cabin. If in doubt linoleum could be an alternative to consider — beautiful colors,easy care, and fun patterned designs.

  33. We installed a floating cork floor a few years ago and initially the look was great. Even though our house is situated such that it doesnt receive a lot of direct sun, the cork has faded irregularly and forget about areas that were covered by things such as an area rug or a well placed plant…permanent fade marks around the items. Shortly after our floor was installed we had a leak in the kitchen area that affected the surrounding areas. Even though the water was quickly removed and the flooring dried, we still had to take up the entire floor and have it relaid (one of the features touted by the manufaturer was that the floor could be relaid up to four times) over time, the tiles in some areas have gaps that cannot seem to be repaired. Now I am faced with either replacing the entire floor (very costly) or working with what I have. Do you know if anyone has reused these floating cork tiles and refashioned them into tiles that can be set into a proper adhesive and then grouted? Also what is your take on just filling the gaps and then using a paper bag technique to create a faux leather look until such time as I have the resources available to redo to floor entirely.

  34. Tigg,
    I am not familiar with reusing water damaged cork in that setting. Although you may find my Cork Articles informational as you research.
    Your dilemma leaves me with lots of questions. I don’t know what kind of cork you have so I can’t address your issues specifically. You may want to buy a different color
    cork flooring and make it a border around the “old” cork so that when you reinstall your cork floor — if you go that route — you’ll have enough good pieces to work
    with. Thanks Tigg for stopping by!

  35. Hi!
    I just purchased a condo and all 2 and 3 floor units are not allowed to have anything but carpet in them. I am trying to do 2 things. 1) prove that cork is not the same as harwood and 2) find information regarding the soundproofing of cork. I have been told that only carpet can offer the soundproofing the board will find acceptable, but I am sure there are insulation products out their that will work as a sound barrier. Do you have any recommendations as to where to start looking for information?
    Help!!
    Thanks
    Jenn

  36. Hi Jenn,
    When I had cork floors I couldn’t hear anything upstairs, be it conversations or footsteps. Now that I have bamboo I can hear bits of both.
    If a floating cork floor is used there are 2 layers of cork to muffle sounds, plus the inner layer of HDF or some such material. And if you really want to add even more soundproofing a cork underlayment could be added.
    That combo would probably be more soundproof than any carpet & padding. Then if runners & area rugs are used, & it’s a shoe-free house the condo will be very quiet & healthy.
    One point to make: check appliance height to make sure problems aren’t created – but then it’s rare to have carpet in appliance areas, so the cork underlayment wouldn’t be needed; I’m esp thinking of dishwasher.

  37. Hi,
    I have some cork flooring in my kitchen. I hear that cork has to breathe. There are some thoughts on discoloring also. What type of area rug would you suggest to go on top of cork laminate floor? Also i have gouged the surface 1/8th inch. Is there a way to fix or seal this? Thanks.

  38. Al,
    I am not aware that cork has to breathe, but I am sure that it is possible to become stained or damaged as any other floor. For an area rug, I would choose one that does not have a rubber backing that could stick to the laminate. You should be able to find a correct sealer for nicks and scratches in cork laminate flooring. Then just follow the directions on the product.

  39. We are moving into an apartment with cork flooring. The problem is that we have a lot of antique furniture mounted on small wheels that will dent and/or scratch the cork. Also, I fall down a lot and I think the cork would not be as soft as carpet!( duh!) Can carpeting be installed over a cork flooring?

  40. Hi, my question involves the installation of cork flooring in a heavily used family room (room also used as an informal dining room most days) by a very casual (but very busy) floor-dwelling, homeschooling family. However, we also are a very animal-rich family, and deal regularly with large dogs, multiple cats, multiple aquariums, and of course the occasional “accidents”, messes and spills that involve any number of those animals (or kids!) and the floor below their feet. The family room is on the lowest part of the main floor (gets very cold in Michigan’s winters!!) and has a cement slab base with multiple levels of plywood and insulation. On one side of the family room is a small cement-slab entry in front of the back door. On the other side of the family room is a cement slab hallway leading to the front door. We will most likely just drop down some vinyl tiles or something in the hallway & entry way. The main issue is this – I desperately do not want to put carpet back in this family room (what a nightmare with our family/lifestyle) but my husband and kids, understandably aren’t real keen on any type of “hard” flooring (tile, vinyl, etc). We have moved out of our home for a couple weeks to have the rest of the house’s hardwood floors refinished, but now need to make a final decision on the family room floor, as well as the upstairs bathroom floor. As much as I don’t want carpet, I really REALLY don’t want to have to move our chaos back out a year or so from now to replace a flooring that didn’t hold up. I’ve seen so much conflicting information on cork flooring in regards to water, kids, pets/nails, stains, scratches, etc. but most negatives seem to directly relate to the engineered planks, a lack of proper sealant, and/or improper installation in the first place. I’d love to know what you think the true reliability of cork flooring is (assuming it’s installed properly and sealed extremely well). Would installing pure cork tiles (or even the eng.cork planks) be a set-up for failure? Should I resign myself once again to installing (*gulp*) carpet..?

  41. I should also add that aside from the noise-suppression, floor temperature on bare feet, and ease of cleaning benefits, the health & air quality benefits, positive environmental impact, and pest resistance are all hugely important to me personally. We aren’t picky with appearances at all (could care less if you can SEE scratches, faded sections or whatever), the only concern for our family in particular is how it will actually hold up to a high-contact lifestyle. Scratches are fine, but if the scratches turn into gashes which turn into gaping holes that absorb water and such, well obviously that’s going to be a problem! I guess I’m looking strictly for a durability report, not a “how well the color holds up” kind of report. Hope that helps.

  42. Ann,
    My personal experience with cork flooring is in the article above, I did have some problems with scratches going into the cork, but believe it was related to the sealer. I would be sure that if you decide to use it, that it is well sealed.
    But, any hard floor will be easier to maintain and clean than carpet, with all the activity described.

  43. We moved into our condo which has cork flooring pretty much throughout. In our kitchen, we bought a 2′ x 8′ black rubber mat to put along the standing/cooking area in front of the stove, etc. Well, what happened is the cork is now seriously discolored (actually it’s a pretty cool color, just obviously different from the existing cork). So my question is this: I want to take the cork out of the kitchen and put down tile but we have the floating planks. I will need to cut the floor at the entrance to the kitchen to start installing tile. Will that work? I don’t want to cut and have them loose, etc.

  44. Bobbie,
    Yes, cutting the cork at the entrance should work. There are “T” strips/joints used to join two surfaces that will keep the raw edge of the cork from getting nicked. You can use wood or metal.
    One more thing to mention – rubber backed mats can cause discoloration in tile also. It is always good to check with the manufacturer of the flooring when choosing a rug to use.

  45. Hi Flooring Lady, We recently installed cork almost throughout our house. We love it!! I have a question – we are putting an area run underr our dining room table that has jute backing (the scratchy backside of the carpet). My question is, should we use a non slip carpet gripper (looks kind of like rubber shelf liner with holes in it). We don’t want to mess up our beautiful cork!
    Thanks, K.P.

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