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Cork flooring?


KarenSherwood
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Our 2 YO house is on a slab. All I have in the kitchen is ugly linoleum glued to said slab. (We did it on the cheap because we knew it was short-term.) We have a 'room' that's a continuous kitchen/dining/family room area. The dining area has a sliding door to the back porch/yard, so I want something that's easy to clean in that area. After much debate, I seem to have won my DH over to considering cork for the kitchen area and saltillo tile or a porcelain knockoff for the dining/family rooms.

I have a bad knee, so something comfortable for standing is imperative. I've used some industrial matting (UGly!) and some foam tiles for my work areas, but I'm not happy with either solution. Our house is Southwestern in design so I want something that will be in keeping with that theme.

I'd love to hear reports about clean-up, durability, comfort, etc.

Thanks!

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I heard good things about cork floors when I was researching them. I did put a cork floor in my master bath, which I love. It is 12x12 and I had them lay it on the diagonal. It is a wood product, so we are careful not to leave water laying on it, and I would be weary of putting it in a damp place, like a basement.

We have tossed the idea around of putting it in our living room instead of wood floors.

A few years ago when I was part of a team of kitchen designers they had a client with a 50 yr old cork floor in the kitchen and wanted to keep it, they loved it so much. I also remember a church somewhere in Chicago (I think) that had a 100 yr old cork floor-so it is durable.

The only thing I can suggest it to get someone who has worked with it and will know if it can be used where you want to use it. I think it is a great product.

Good Luck!

Jennifer

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I have cork in my kitchen and dining room. We used the 1' by 3' floating floor tiles that came pre-finished and then put an extra coat of urethane over them once they were installed. It's been almost 3 years now and I still love them. Clean up is easy. I use the swifter duster or a vacuum a couple times a week. To do heavier cleaning, I use the swifter wet cloths as you don't want to flood the floors and it works fine. I have a dog and try to keep her from playing on the cork to avoid scratches. But she likes to play and I notice the scratches just disappear after a bit of walking on them.

There are days I'm in the kitchen for 8 hours and I appreciate the resiliency of the cork. I looked at bamboo, but didn't like the gaps or want the hardness of the material. The other advantage of cork is that I don't think anything has broken that's hit the floor yet.

I'm very happy with it and would do it exactly the same way again.

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It sounds like we have quite a similar setup to yours. In the older (180 years) part of our house we have a kitchen that is continuous with a family room in a newer addition, on a slab. The kitchen is over basement and crawl space. When we redid the kitchen about 9 years ago, we wanted the floor to be continuous, not too thick, and made of something that could be laid over both wood subfloor and the concrete slab. We chose cork tile that consists of a sandwich of cork between some kind of backing and a thin layer of transparent vinyl over the top.

Pros: I love the way it looks and feels. It hides dirt. It's soft. It's durable.

Cons: Many of the tiles are coming up. They started coming up several years ago, but we haven't gotten around to replacing them. We may have to replace the whole floor. I think this is because moisture got it around the edges and expanded them. We had a flooring store install the tiles, but I think they were not familiar with the product and may not have done it right. Perhaps we should have put a layer of polyurethane over the tiles, as Pallee did, but they weren't supposed to need it with the vinyl layer. (The manufacturing technology may also have improved by now.) The bottom line is, cork, like wood, absorbs moisture and expands and contracts.

Cork does fade significantly in the sun. That doesn't bother me too much, but it will make any replacements we do noticeable.

In another house, we recently installed floating cork planks. (As I said, I love the way cork looks and feels.) They look good, but they haven't been in long enough for me to tell you much about how they last. I'm not sure how sensitive to moisture they will be either, but they are not in a kitchen. They are fairly thick, which worked fine in the rooms we put them in but would present problems in our kitchen/family room.

I'll try to take photos and post them tomorrow.

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