Help me decide whether to get cork floors in a rental property
August 26, 2010 9:01 PM   Subscribe

So what's the deal with cork floors?

I've read a few other AskMeFis about cork floors and have been curious to hear from any cork floor owners about what brands to get, any hassles they've had, and how the maintenance is. The fact that you're not supposed to use it with a mop scares me a little bit, as this is going to be in a rental property and if it needs more care it's something that I can't necessarily rely on the tenants to do. I was thinking about installing it in the kitchen and potentially the stairs and the bedroom instead of laminate or hardwood. Has anyone had cork floors for a couple years now that can provide any feedback?
posted by AmitinLA to Home & Garden (5 answers total) 9 users marked this as a favorite
Best answer: I have one in my kitchen. I have no idea what brand it is, as it was here when we bought the placeā€”but I'm sure it came from Lowe's. I can tell you it's pretty comfortable to stand on for long periods (I like to experiment in the kitchen, so I tend to spend a good bit of time in there.) It also stays warm in the winter, which my wife prefers over cold tile.
You *can* mop it if you want, it just tends to lose its luster faster.
I can also tell you that if you have pets, specifically dogs, they can really mar the hell out of a cork floor. There are some sections in mine that could use replacing for that very reason. However, that's pretty easy too since cork goes down and stays down with pressure only, no glue.
Honestly, I don't know how great a choice it would be for a rental. I would look at bamboo or laminate first, especially for bedrooms. Good luck!
posted by littlerobothead at 9:56 PM on August 26, 2010

Best answer: My parents had a cork floor in the kitchen and dining room of their house. They sealed it with 2-pack polyurethane, (which is high-gloss, moppable, and very durable) in 1982 when they first put it in, and sanded it back and resealed it in 2002. It still looks great.

It had a few marks on it - some from a heavy visitor who was wearing stilettoes, and a couple where very heavy things were dropped on it. These created dints or cracks in the cork. My dad just replaced these tiles when he did the reseal. Otherwise, there weren't even scuff marks from furniture, two kids and a dog.

So I think it probably comes down to how well you seal the floor.
posted by girlgenius at 11:05 PM on August 26, 2010

Best answer: We like ours but never got around to sealing it after the install 9 years ago. It's got a few wear marks on it but the veneer closely matches the underlayer and it's not too noticeable. Unfortunately the joints move with the seasons and tend to collect a lot of crap (I suppose a proper sealing job might solve this). They're glue down 2x4' tiles.

There's a thread at the Canadian Woodworking forum.
posted by bonobothegreat at 12:07 AM on August 27, 2010

Best answer: I have a cork floor in my kitchen which has been there since before I moved in in 2001. So I don't know what brand it is, but this floor is probably over 10 years old.

I live alone with no pets, but I've got to say this floor has worn spectacularly well (survived spills, mopping, flooding, etc) and is very comfortable underfoot. There's one place under the table where the colour is different because, being under the table, it hasn't been exposed to as much sun as the rest of the floor.

One of the reasons I love it is that I'm a total klutz and always dropping things-- but things dropped on a cork floor don't tend to break.
posted by Pallas Athena at 5:18 AM on August 27, 2010

Best answer: I installed cork flooring in a previous house, in the kitchen and dining areas. It was terrific. I suppose if you dropped a pot of hot pasta water on it, you'd have trouble. But it was comfortable to stand on, a lovely color, and didn't stain with normal use. We were a little nervous about it at first--I mean, cork??--but it was an excellent choice. Better than the tile we used elsewhere.

If you do it yourself, don't be sloppy about fitting it to walls and corners, as I was. Doing it right and tight is a bit fussy and laborious, but the extra care would have paid off. I saw those glaring errors six times a day and it drove me nuts with embarrassment.
posted by fivesavagepalms at 10:25 AM on August 27, 2010

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