Interior Flooring

How Much Does Cork Flooring Cost?

Cork flooring is easy to maintain, has superior insulating properties, and feels soft underfoot. Most cork flooring costs from $1,270 to $4,600, with the national average at $2,050.
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Cork Flooring Cost
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Highlights

  • The average cork flooring cost range is $1,270 to $4,600, though many homeowners spend around $2,050.
  • Several factors will affect the final project price, including the size, thickness, and type of flooring; the brand; where it’s installed in the home; labor fees; and any additional flooring repairs.
  • Homeowners often appreciate the health and environmental benefits cork floors offer, not to mention their durability and comfort.
  • Homeowners who have installed floors themselves may find success at cork floor installation. Nevertheless, there are nuances that pro installers understand to ensure a proper fit that keeps moisture from seeping into the subfloor.
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Cork flooring is a sustainable and versatile option for home flooring installations. It is crafted from a cork tree’s outer bark, which is carefully harvested without causing harm to the tree itself. For eco-conscious homeowners, this renewable harvesting process makes cork an environmentally friendly choice that looks great on their floors. Cork flooring comes in various forms from cork floor tiles to cork plank flooring and cork board sheets. The material is known for its natural resilience, providing a comfortable and soft surface underfoot. Many homeowners also appreciate its superior insulating abilities—for both temperature and sound—making it an excellent choice for various areas in the home.

How much does cork flooring cost? According to Angi, cork flooring prices range from $1,270 to $4,600, with many homeowners spending around $2,050 to install a cork floor. The average cork flooring cost per square foot runs from $5 to $19, including labor. The final price can vary depending on the quality and thickness of the cork material. Natural cork flooring is typically more expensive than cork flooring made from composite materials.

Installation methods can vary, with choices such as glue-down cork flooring or floating installations, and this will also affect the overall cost. When considering cork flooring, homeowners will want to take into account not only the cost of the materials and labor, but also maintenance requirements and the overall design style of the home.

Factors in Calculating Cork Flooring Cost

Cork Flooring Cost
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When homeowners begin to budget for cork flooring costs, it’s recommended that they consider everything that can influence the final price. The national average cost for cork flooring is $2,050, but this average can vary depending on the flooring type and size, flooring thickness, flooring brand, installation location, and local labor prices. Taking all of these factors into consideration can help homeowners calculate a more accurate estimate for their flooring installation project.

Flooring Type and Size

The type of cork flooring (cork floor tiles, cork plank flooring, or floating cork flooring) plays a part in the overall cost. Each type comes with its own set of installation requirements, materials, and manufacturing processes, all of which influence the price point.

The size of the cork flooring, both in terms of the individual pieces and the total square footage of the floor, contributes to the cost. It will be more expensive to install cork flooring in larger areas than in smaller spaces, and larger cork sizes will also cost more. Opting to install cork flooring with intricate designs, unique patterns, or specialty colors (such as white cork flooring) can also affect the homeowner’s overall cost.

“Cork flooring can be broken down to two main types or categories,” explains Sean O’Rourke, national director of merchandising at Floor Coverings International, a Norcross, Georgia-based flooring company. “There are solid and composite constructions; both types can be installed commercially or residentially.”

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Flooring Thickness

Cork flooring is available in various thicknesses to suit a homeowner’s preference for insulation or cushioning. Thickness options typically range from 4 millimeters to 12 millimeters, with a higher price point correlating to a thicker tile or plank. With a price of $7 to $10 per square foot, 12-millimeter-thick cork flooring is more durable and long lasting, which justifies the higher up-front cost for many homeowners. The most common choice is 4 millimeters thick at $3 to $6 per square foot, but some homeowners prefer their cork floors to be a thicker 8 millimeters at $5 to $8 per square foot.

Flooring Brand

There are several different brands homeowners can choose from when installing cork flooring. Depending on the brand, homeowners can expect to pay from $3 to $11 per square foot for cork flooring materials.

Cork Flooring BrandAverage Cost Per Square Foot (Materials Only)
AmCork$4.70 to $5.50
APC Cork$3.10 to $6
Cali Bamboo$4 to $6
CorksRibas USA$5.20 to $6.50
DuroDesign$4.65 to $6.30
Globus Cork$6 to $11
iCork Floor$3 to $4.10
Jelinek Cork$3.60 to $5.70
Kraus Flooring$4 to $8.70
US Floors Direct$7.50 to $8.70
WE Cork$3.70 to $8.30
Wicanders$5.50 to $7.90

Installation Location

Cork flooring can be installed in various rooms around the house to suit specific purposes. For instance, waterproof cork flooring is ideal for moisture-prone areas, such as the kitchen and bathroom. Sunrooms or areas with radiant floor heating may need specialized cork flooring materials to withstand the temperature changes. High-traffic areas, such as hallways or entryways, may benefit from thicker and more durable cork flooring. While thick cork flooring is more expensive, it lasts longer and stands up to daily wear and tear.

In addition to any specialty flooring needs, homeowners will also need to consider the ease of access to the installation site when budgeting for cork floor installation cost. Difficult-to-reach areas or spaces that need additional preparation are likely to have higher labor costs. Having a pro provide a cork floor cost comparison for different areas of the home can help homeowners budget for their flooring project.

Installation LocationAverage Cost per Square Foot (Materials and Labor)
Basement$8 to $10
Bathroom$6 to $7
Bedroom$7 to $9
Foyer$8 to $12
Hallways$8 to $12
Kitchen$6 to $10

Sealant

It’s common for cork kitchen flooring and cork bathroom flooring to have sealant applied to the surface of the material to protect it from staining and moisture. “Most cork flooring out of the box comes with a factory-applied urethane finish for stain and scratch resistance (similar to prefinished hardwood),” explains O’Rourke.The most popular type of sealant is polyurethane, but carnauba wax and acrylic can also be used. Some brands make cork planks with pre-applied sealant, which is more expensive than flooring that comes without any type of sealant. Applying sealant costs from $0.30 to $0.70 per square foot.

Labor

There are two different types of installation options for cork flooring, and each has its own labor rate. For floating floor installation, homeowners can expect to pay between $2 and $4 per square foot for labor, while glue-down cork flooring costs from $4 to $9 per square foot. Densely populated urban locations with a higher cost of living typically have more expensive labor costs than more rural areas. Additionally, the demand for skilled labor also has a hand in how much a homeowner will pay for labor.

Additional Costs and Considerations

When planning for the cost of cork flooring, homeowners may discover additional price factors and considerations that can alter the project total. These can include subfloor repairs, maintenance and repairs, existing floor removal, cork inlays, and radiant floor heating.

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Subfloor Repairs

Before installing the cork flooring material, the flooring contractor will need to level the subfloor to ensure an even installation. This process can cost from $3 to $5 per square foot. If the subfloor is in good condition without water damage or rot, the installation process is generally straightforward. If the subfloor needs repairs, this can increase the price of the flooring project by $2 to $10 per square foot. If the floor joists are damaged and need attention, contractors will typically charge $10 to $60 per square foot to repair them. Extensive repairs may require more time and expertise, which will increase the overall price. The cost to replace a subfloor typically ranges from $428 to $2,978.

Maintenance and Repairs

Cork floors can be mopped on a regular basis with vinegar and water or a pH-balanced cork cleaner. Keeping the floors in good condition helps them last longer. “Regular maintenance with an approved cleaner like Bona Hardwood Cleaner and annual coating or sealing with Bona Wood Refresh is advisable—particularly in commercial or high traffic areas,” explains O’Rourke.

Still, flooring professionals recommend that cork floors be sealed every 3 to 10 years, depending on the overall wear and tear of the material. Sealing costs range from $0.30 to $0.70 per square foot, and sealing will protect the cork floor from staining and water damage.

Common types of repairs for cork floors include fixing scratches, scrapes, and water damage. If the damage is extensive, the flooring may need to be refinished or replaced. Repairs typically cost homeowners between $60 and $120 per hour for labor alone. New flooring will cost between $3 and $12 per square foot.

Existing Flooring Removal

Before starting a cork flooring installation project, any existing flooring will need to be removed. The cost factors associated with removal include labor, disposal costs, and the type of material that’s being removed. The cost to remove flooring can run from $2 to $7 per square foot for tile and between $1 and $1.50 per square foot for carpet.

Cork Inlays

For homeowners who prefer decorative flooring designs, cork inlays are an excellent way to increase visual interest. From simple to more intricate border designs, inlays can be done with a different color of cork, wood, bamboo, or even linoleum tiles. As with most decorative flooring, homeowners will pay extra for the time and labor required to install it. Installers can add designs throughout an entire floor or they can concentrate on a small area as a focal point, which will come with a lower cost than for a whole room. For instance, a 3-foot-by-5-foot inlay can cost from $200 to $220.

Radiant Floor Heating

Adding radiant floor heating can increase the comfort of cork floors, but it’s an added convenience and comfort for homeowners interested in upgrading their heating system. Installing hot water radiant floor heating costs from $11 to $22.50 per square foot. Since the radiant heat can cause the flooring adhesive to loosen, a flooring professional will need to add extra adhesive to remedy this potential problem.

Cork Flooring Cost
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Types of Cork Flooring

Cork flooring is a versatile material that can be manufactured in various finishes, styles, grain patterns, and colors. Whether a homeowner chooses tiles, planks, or cork flooring rolls, the materials will have the same soundproofing and insulating characteristics. And while natural cork flooring offers a simple and timeless appeal, the popularity of printed, colored, cork-backed vinyl flooring, and striata designs has opened many aesthetic options for homeowners who want a little flair with their sustainable flooring choice.

Type of Cork FlooringAverage Cost per Square Foot (Materials Only)
Colored$7 to $8.50
Luxury vinyl$3 to $7
Natural$3 to $6
Printed$4 to $9.50
Striata$8 to $10.50
Tiles and planks$3 to $9
Waterproof$5 to $9

Colored

For homeowners who want bold flooring options, cork flooring colors are available in just about every hue. Colored cork floors cost from $7 to $8.50 per square foot and are a great way to mix and match color styles within a home.

Luxury Vinyl

Luxury vinyl cork flooring has an underlayer of premium cork that’s covered with a layer of vinyl that helps extend the life of the cork against stains and wear. Pricing for luxury vinyl cork ranges from $3 to $7 per square foot.

Natural

For fans of natural-looking cork, this eco-friendly flooring material runs from $3 to $6 per square foot. It’s worth noting that although it’s in a natural form, that doesn’t mean cork has to look plain. Manufacturers can create many style designs using the natural texture of cork. In fact, some eye-catching natural varieties of cork flooring can even mimic the look of hardwood or marble.

Printed

Printed cork flooring is available in a wide array of looks that include subtle patterns, bold designs, and even prints that resemble water, hardwood, or stone. It’s an easy way to dress up the flooring if a single color just isn’t interesting enough to match a homeowner’s interior design preference. Printed cork floors cost from $4 to $9.50 per square foot.

Striata

Natural striated cork flooring material has a look that resembles marble, which gives textures that add depth and dimension to the floor. Natural striata cork flooring costs from $8 to $8.50 per square foot. If the homeowner prefers a colored marble appearance, then the cost of colored striata flooring material ranges from $10 to $10.50 per square foot.

Tiles and Planks

Square cork tiles cost from $3 to $7 per square foot. These flooring tiles are available in 12-inch-by-12-inch squares or 12-inch-by-24-inch tiles. They’re glued to the subfloor, and the size of the tiles affects the overall design and look of the space.

Cork flooring planks come in varying thicknesses, with 10, 11, and 12 millimeters being the most common. Cork planks are installed via a locking system, which provides a sturdier flooring surface. Most homeowners pay between $4 to $9 per square foot for these planks.

Waterproof

Waterproof cork flooring is beneficial to have in areas where spills can happen or there is excess moisture. In kitchens and bathrooms, homeowners will want to use waterproof tiles or planks to prevent the material from swelling and crumbling. Waterproof cork flooring for a basement offers additional protection for damp and moisture-prone areas.

Benefits of Choosing Cork Flooring

Many homeowners may be unaware that cork flooring is a viable flooring option, not to mention the many benefits it offers. “Cork has all of [the] characteristics of hardwood flooring, and if you know how to maintain hardwood, you can expect a cork flooring to perform the same,” says O’Rourke. While there are pros and cons to cork flooring, many homeowners enjoy the versatility of cork floors. Installing cork flooring in a home has a range of advantages, which include health and environmental benefits, durability, comfort and warmth, versatility, and ease of repair.

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Health Benefits

Many people prefer not to install ceramic tiles since they are extremely hard and can be uncomfortable to stand on. In contrast, cork flooring provides a cushioned surface underfoot, offering a comfortable surface on which to stand for an extended period of time.

“Cork flooring is naturally hypoallergenic, mildew-resistant, and fire-resistant,” says O’Rourke. Cork has natural properties that make it hypoallergenic and resistant to common allergens such as dust, mold, pet dander, and mildew. This feature helps maintain indoor air quality by creating a healthier living environment for those who are prone to allergies or respiratory issues. Finally, compared with other flooring materials, cork flooring has low volatile organic compound (VOC) emissions, which means fewer harmful chemicals are released into the air after installation.

Environmental Benefits

Cork is harvested from the bark of cork trees, and the extraction process does not harm the trees if done properly. They naturally regenerate their bark, which makes cork a renewable resource. The production of cork flooring has a relatively low environmental impact compared with that of some other flooring materials. The manufacturing process consumes less energy and results in fewer greenhouse gas emissions, contributing to a smaller ecological footprint.

According to O’Rourke, “Cork is truly the most environmentally friendly type of flooring with the cork bark being harvested by hand every 7 to 9 years from specific oak trees (primarily from Spain and Portugal) that can live up to 100 years old.”

Cork flooring is recyclable, and the material can be repurposed at the end of its life cycle. It also has natural thermal insulation properties, helping to regulate indoor temperatures. This insulation reduces the need for excessive heating or cooling, contributing to energy efficiency.

Durability

Cork flooring is naturally resilient, meaning it has the ability to bounce back to its original shape after being compressed. This resilience makes cork durable against heavy foot traffic and weighty furniture, reducing the likelihood of lasting indentations. Veneer-topped cork includes a “wear layer” that protects it from scratches, scuffs, and other surface damage, such as a worn-out patina appearance.

Comfort and Warmth

One of the primary advantages of cork flooring is its natural cushioning effect. “Cork flooring is naturally comfortable to walk on because of its cell structure,” explains O’Rourke. The material’s cellular structure consists of millions of air-filled cells and creates a soft surface. This makes cork comfortable to walk on, reducing fatigue and strain on joints. In addition, it has excellent thermal insulation properties, helping to maintain a comfortable indoor temperature. In colder climates, cork flooring acts as a natural barrier against cold floors, providing warmth and comfort.

Versatility

Cork flooring comes in a variety of styles, colors, and patterns, allowing it to adapt to any interior design style. Whether a homeowner prefers a classic and natural look, a modern aesthetic, or unique floor patterns, cork can complement various styles. It’s suitable for installation in various rooms, from bedrooms and living rooms to kitchens and bathrooms. Cork’s natural versatility makes it a practical choice for creating a cohesive design throughout the entire home. The natural look of the material and its ability to take on different colors and finishes make it customizable for any design preference.

Ease of Repair

Cork flooring is often installed in individual tiles or planks. If one is damaged, it’s relatively easy to replace a single tile or plank without tearing out the entire floor. Minor damage, such as scratches or small dents, can often be addressed with cork filler or touch-up kits. Cork flooring typically has a wear layer added to the top that can be sanded down and refinished to address deeper scratches or significant surface wear. This process can rejuvenate the look of the floor and extend its lifespan.

Cork Flooring Cost
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Cork Flooring Installation: DIY vs. Hiring a Professional 

Homeowners who are weighing whether to attempt a DIY cork flooring installation or hire a professional will need to consider the pros and cons of each choice and take into account their personal skill sets. Installing cork flooring planks instead of glue-down tiles could be a more DIY-friendly project for those with previous flooring installation experience. However, installing cork flooring requires precision and attention to detail, making it a task better suited for a flooring professional.

“Cork flooring comes in an array of tile sizes and designs and are available in the “click-float” format that allows for an easy installation for most homeowners,” explains O’Rourke. “Professional installation is recommended for the glue-down tile and if the installation includes several rooms or hallways with door jambs. Floating cork flooring does require perimeter expansion at walls and under trim around door openings.”

Potential DIYers will also want to consider the cost of renting specialized tools and buying materials, adhesives, and finishes. Flooring contractors often have access to bulk materials at a discounted price, which can potentially offset their labor fees. Professionals can handle potential challenges to ensure a smooth cork flooring installation. They also know how to ensure the flooring adheres properly in certain circumstances, such as when installing radiant floors or when working in areas prone to moisture.

When intricate details or time constraints are involved, a pro can provide a seamless and durable cork floor installation. And perhaps most importantly, a contractor can ensure a damaged subfloor is repaired and leveled for the floor installation. For homeowners who want a flawless finish and installation that takes considerably less time than a DIY project, hiring one of the best flooring companies, such as LL Flooring, can provide a professional cork floor installation.

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How to Save Money on Cork Flooring Cost

Installing cork flooring has many benefits, but flooring installation costs can be a deterrent for some homeowners. With a bit of research and planning, homeowners can save on cork flooring costs.

  • Shop around. Homeowners will want to get at least three estimates from reputable flooring contractors in their area to find a price that works with their budget.
  • Look for sales. It’s recommended that homeowners keep an eye on sales or promotions to take advantage of discounted cork flooring.
  • Skip the delivery. If possible, homeowners can skip the delivery and pick up the flooring materials to save money on delivery charges.
  • Choose tiles instead of planks. Cork flooring tiles are less expensive to install than planks. To save money, homeowners can opt for tiles for more precise coverage and reduced waste.
  • Buy in bulk. Buying materials in bulk may lead to discounted rates.
  • DIY floor removal. Removing old flooring is an easy way for many homeowners to save on labor fees, if they have the time.

Questions to Ask About Cork Flooring Installation

Asking a flooring professional the right questions can help homeowners save money, avoid miscommunication, and gain a better understanding of the cork flooring installation process.

  • How much experience do you have with cork flooring installations?
  • Are you licensed and insured?
  • Can you provide references or examples of previous projects?
  • How will you handle unexpected problems?
  • What steps do you recommend for subfloor preparation before installing the floor?
  • Can you walk me through the installation process, including any potential issues?
  • How long will the installation take?
  • Are there any concerns I should be aware of for installing cork flooring in a bathroom, kitchen, or high-traffic area?
  • What is the recommended maintenance for cork flooring?
  • Do you recommend any specific cleaning products for the floor?
  • Do you offer any warranties for the cork flooring installation?
  • How will you handle cleanup?
  • What is your payment plan?
  • How can I leave a review of your work?

FAQs

Many homeowners who are considering cork flooring are often unsure of the cost and the overall installation process. They can use these answers to some frequently asked questions about cost comparisons, durability, maintenance, and where cork flooring works the best in a home.

Q. Is cork flooring cheaper than wood?

It’s common for homeowners to compare and contrast prices and benefits of various types of flooring before settling on a flooring material. Ranging in price from $5 to $19 per square foot, cork flooring is typically less expensive than the cost to install hardwood, which is $6 to $25 per square foot.

Q. What happens if cork flooring gets wet?

According to O’Rourke, “Spills can be problematic if not attended to quickly.” It’s recommended to clean up spills as soon as possible to avoid staining or damage to the floor. Quick action can prevent problems such as swelling or buckling, which can result in needed repair or replacement.

Q. Which is more expensive: cork or bamboo flooring?

Sustainable bamboo flooring costs $5 to $15 per square foot, including labor, which is comparable to the price of cork flooring.

Q. Do cork floors scratch easily?

Cork flooring can scratch easily relative to other flooring materials. That’s why cork is typically not recommended for homeowners who have pets. However, many scratches are easy to repair with DIY kits, and the wear layer can resist light scuffs. “Homeowners with pets should be cautioned that pet nails can pierce the surface of the flooring if not trimmed,” says O’Rourke.

Q. Is cork good for kitchens and bathrooms?

Cork can be used in many different ways around the house, from flooring to wall decor or hot pads. This unique material is an excellent option for kitchens and bathrooms, especially if the waterproof style is selected. It’s always recommended to seal cork floors in areas that experience moisture, such as kitchens, bathrooms, and basements, to avoid swelling and crumbling.

Q. How long will cork flooring last?

With proper maintenance, a cork floor can last 40 years or more, while a neglected cork floor may only last 15 to 20 years. To prolong the life of a cork floor, homeowners are advised to mop up spills immediately, clean the floor with approved cleansers, and avoid sliding heavy furniture across the floor.

Sources: Angi, HomeAdvisor, Fixr