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All About Cork Flooring
By HomeCentrl on Jul 17, 2012
Cork flooring is a product that we don't hear about often enough so I thought we would take a closer look and also ask someone that has one installed what they thought.
Donna Frasca, who you may also know from/as @Color4Charlotte has cork installed in her home and had the following to say about it- the good and the bad.
My home was brand new when I moved into it just five years ago 2007. The builders had just installed beige carpet and two days later, I had it removed. It’s a Lennar home and you didn’t have the option to discuss upgrades which was unfortunate. The hardwood installed was engineered Gunstock in the main living area and cork (Lisbon) installed in the bar.
I wanted something different and since it was a bar, the cork was the focal point and conversational piece in the room. With the weight of the bar stools and possible drinks spills, I wanted something safe, durable and easy to clean. Cork was the perfect fit.
- I didn’t want another hardwood option because there would be too many wood tones in the house. Even thought cork is officially a wood, it’s very different from the rest of the wood flooring in the home so it would coordinate perfectly. Carpeting of course was out since we just had it ripped out, tile was not even an option so there were very few choices left. Again, our bar is a theme room so keeping in with the look of the room, there were very few choices to consider. Cork it was!
There are many benefits with cork.
For one it’s visually unique and many people don’t even know what it is. Love the “What kind of flooring is that?” when guests come to the house. Cork is also a soft wood so it’s great to use in a room that you’ll be standing in for several hours at a clip. It was super easy to install and floats right over a concrete slab. There are microscopic seams so it really looks like your flooring is one piece even with the pattern. It comes is many colors, some are stained but most are natural wood tones. Cork is a green product and is just the outer bark area of the Cork Oak Tree so it doesn’t kill the tree once it’s harvested. You can get cork flooring in your local box stores to speciality flooring stores and of course even online. It’s a great insulator. Music and conversation are contained in the room and the floor is never cold. If it were to get scratched, it does have a memory much like if you sink your nail into a wine bottle cork, it bends back - to an extent. It’s super quiet when you walk on it - no clumping sounds. Cork would also be a great choice for an upper level of the home. It does have a light polyurethane finish so it’s super easy to clean if you do spill something on it unlike carpeting, it won’t soak in. No stains no odors. I spot clean and Swiffer -that’s it. I love the pattern you get in cork floor because it’s very forgiving to dust bunnies. My hardwood floor has to be cleaned daily because of the super shiny surface which shows footprints and dust VERY quickly.
Since it is a soft wood, large scratches from pets may be a problem. I don’t have dogs so that’s not a concern for my room. Keep in mind it is a wood so if you should leave a liquid on it, you’ll get the dreaded white water mark. Obviously cork would not be a choice for the bathroom. Just like any other wood flooring, it’s not impervious to UV light. It WILL fade if it’s exposed to direct sunlight over a long period of time. This actually happened to my floor before I hung proper window treatments up to protect it. It’s minimal but it still happened. Keep an eye on this! It cannot be sanded if damaged. Some manufactures will say it can be lightly sanded but I don’t recommend it at all. It’s too soft to withstand the procedure of sanding. I believe it will damage the surface, crumble or sand unevenly.
Cost. Like anything else, cork will vary in price depending on the color and style you choose. It’s very similar to a regular hardwood floating installation where you’ll need the transition strips, underlayment, quarter round (I used shoe molding because it was less expensive and I liked the look better than quarter round) and let the cork acclimate to the room temperature for 24 hours before installing.
Here’s how it looks in my Bar: A Step Back in Time
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