Cork floats
May 18, 2011 10:10 AM   Subscribe

Cork Flooring -- recommended brands and experiences?

We are going to install cork flooring in our new kitchen and may also install cork in a bedroom and office. From my research, it looks like well regarded brands include Wicanders, APC Cork, and (the only US manufactured product) US Floors, LLC. We would be installing locking planks (floating floor over concrete).

Any MeFis have any experience with any of these brands, or any other brand they'd recommend from personal experience? I'm interested in hearing about your specific experience with wear, appearance, etc. I hear about 50 year old houses with intact cork floors, and that's what I want, too, that level of quality -- what brand/product should I look at for that type of longevity and wear resistance?

Additionally, should we apply a finish or other protective layer over the cork to further prevent accidental water penetration into the underlayer of the cork plank? Any suggestions as to the best manner of installation?
posted by seventyfour to Home & Garden (8 answers total) 17 users marked this as a favorite
Count me in as a fan of cork flooring. Installed it during a kitchen renovation in 2004 and have had no problems whatsoever with the finish. It looks almost brand new, and that's with the heavy use in a kitchen, by adults, small kids and pets.

The only issue...and I'm not sure how to avoid....setting the refrigerator on the planks has slowly caused minor separation in the planks around it due to its weight. I don't mean a huge gap but a more visible gap than between planks without considerable weight near them.

I have no idea of the was bought at the now defunct Home Depot Expo back then. I did apply a couple of coats of sealant over the entire floor which has helped with water resistance.

You will enjoy your is more forgiving than hardwood or tile. I have dropped various items over the years with no fatalities. And easier on your back and feet when you're cooking. Good luck!
posted by Ginesthoi at 10:51 AM on May 18, 2011

Best answer: We installed cork last Summer, so can't testify as to long term wear. US Floors is the type we went with. I love the floors, they are warm, because it's insulative. We found that the color faded quickly in an area exposed to sun, even with coated glass.

Ours is a floating installation over concrete. We did not finish it, and so far no problems.
posted by annsunny at 12:50 PM on May 18, 2011

We have floating cork planks in our playroom. They look gorgeous, feel warm, clean easily, and mute sound. That being said, the planks have scratched and dented and chipped at the edges pretty significantly, and have separated along the seams in a few places. You really can't tell unless you're up close, because we chose a busy pattern. And, to be fair, our floor installer was terrible, and the room gets very heavy use. We used a brand that started with a Q, I think.
posted by Malla at 12:58 PM on May 18, 2011

I have a friend who installed a cork floor.

I dont' know if he used a cheap brand, or if it was installed wrong, or what - but it scratches easy, and now a few years later looks all beat up and worn.
posted by Flood at 1:01 PM on May 18, 2011

Cork on top of panels (click together) is a thin layer of cork on top of a ply/wood panel. In my sister's house, it has that loud, hollow sound. I'll probably do cork flooring in my kitchen and will use glue-down cork squares. Previously.
posted by theora55 at 2:20 PM on May 18, 2011

Response by poster: Thanks theora55, especially for the information re: the paneled cork (has anyone else had this experience?)

I know that there have been previous discussions of cork floors, all of which I reviewed prior to posting my question, but I am particularly interested in members' experience with particular brands, especially as peoples' experiences seem to vary so wildly with regard to durability.
posted by seventyfour at 3:13 PM on May 18, 2011

Best answer: I read this one home design blog a lot. Two Seattle architects taking on DIY renovation of literally their entire house. It's so freaking amazing how beautiful all their projects turn out. They just so happened to install cork flooring themselves.

Here's some posts of them deciding on cork, installing the cork flooring, and then the finished room.

The floor they chose...

"Flooring: Capri Cork 12″x12″ tiles in Mediterra Dark with OSMO hardwax oil finish(Ecohaus)"
posted by jay.eye.elle.elle. at 5:33 PM on May 18, 2011 [1 favorite]

We installed floating cork flooring in our upstairs hallway over a plywood subfloor. We're really happy with it -- it looks neat, feels nice, and is holding up well after more than a year despite the floor having a bit of a grade to it.

We did apply a layer of poly over the regular finish, largely to keep grit from visibly settling into the seams. I don't know if the product we got is suitable for kitchens, though.
posted by desuetude at 10:37 PM on May 18, 2011

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