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Cork flooring in kitchen

by John Sinatra last modified Feb 08, 2006 07:27 AM
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Cork flooring in kitchen

Posted by John Sinatra at January 25. 2006

I am remodeling our kitchen with cherry slab cabinets and was contmplating using cork flooring. Has anyone used this for the kitchen/dining area? If so, how has it stood up to the traffic? There are beautiful hardwoods throughout the rest of the house but after ripping up the tile that was laid in the area the repair would be too vast and to lay hardwoods atop them would raise the floor too high for the new cabinets to fit. Any suggestions would be helpful. Thanks!

Re: Cork flooring in kitchen

Posted by Jeffrey Rous at January 25. 2006

I think you may be missing a comma or something. No matter, in any case, what is the current sub-floor and how thick can the finish floor be?

Re: Cork flooring in kitchen

Posted by Renee Adelmann at January 25. 2006

Cork is not usually used in the kitchen because it does not with-stand the wear and tear as well as a tile or vinyl. Just as a caveat, cork lightens after time when the sun shines through the window. I do think it sounds nice with the cherry cabinets though. You should weigh he pros and cons. I would suggest travertine or limestone.

 
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Re: Cork flooring in kitchen

Posted by Julie Brown at January 26. 2006

I put a floating cork floor in my last kitchen. It did real well, even under the dogs' water bowl and during the transition from elderly, incontinent dogs to young, incontinent dogs. The dogs liked to sleep on it too, which was kind of a kitchen hazard.

Re: Cork flooring in kitchen

Posted by Dace Krasts at January 26. 2006

We went with Expanko's cork/rubber tile (XCR3) in the kitchen. It stands up against us, two cats, and a very, very large dog (100lbs) that herds the cats through the kitchen. From time to time, the floor gets a couple scuffs here and there. They go away with the same floor cleaner/polish I use on the hardwoods.

We bought the tiles from the environmental home center. Certain colors are more difficult to get a hold of than others, simply due to manufacturing. They can't make it fast enough! The stuff they do make generally goes to commercial jobs, not residential.

Re: Cork flooring in kitchen

Posted by Vikas Wadhwa at January 26. 2006

Expanko is kind of expensive. I used cork planks - throughout the whole place, you can see them in the 2 blog entries below:

[url href=http://livemodern.com/Members/vik1109/blog/011606]Cork Pics 1[/url]
[url href=http://livemodern.com/Members/vik1109/blog/122805]Cork Pics 2[/url]

the pics in the second link are right after the install, so there is still some dirt, etc..

I also have 250 sq. ft left over - might be just enough for your kitchen if you're interested in buying it - for a discount ofcourse to what I paid...(i'm in chicago)

Re: Cork flooring in kitchen

Posted by Jeffrey Rous at January 26. 2006

I have seen MCM houses with cork in living areas where it looks as good today as when it was put in 40 years ago. I HAVE heard that solid cork tiles handle water better than the planks, but I would not hesitate using them in a kitchen -- just make sure you put a coat of poly over them every few years or so. A major plumbing leak might cause you some problems, but that will be true no matter what you put down if the subfloor is wood. If you do put down the solid corks, they are usually 3/16 thick, but should be installed over 1/4 underlayment to make sure the subfloor is perfect. Still the total thickness will be 1/2.

Have you considered linoleum? The sheet stuff also needs an underlayment and I have been quoted $6/sqft installed. Some of the Marmoleum colors would provide the same feel and aesthetics as cork.

Re: Cork flooring in kitchen

Posted by Fran Loosen at January 27. 2006

Those pics are gorgeous! I'd do cork in the kitchen as long as it's sealed well. The only other thing to be aware of is that it will dent if you use chairs with pointy legs. We went to a kitchen design place and the chairs they were using had a point (instead of a larger square surface) and you could see where they had been sitting, and sitting with weight on them. Cork will pop out over time, but the people there said that was the only thing they were bummed about.

Another option we thought of was doing wood or tile and doing a strip of cork in the work area of the kitchen (stove side of the island where the sink is, etc). Tile kills my legs and I can't stand it after a couple of hours.

Re: Cork flooring in kitchen

Posted by Vikas Wadhwa at January 27. 2006

you are right, that cork will dent with substantial weight. For example, there are some dents already where my bed is, but if you use your space normally - for example if you sell your house, and most likely someone will have the same furniture configuration, so they will be on those same dented spots, then you're okay...

also, you can buy furniture with square or round legs, and add additional cork or felt padding underneath their legs to minimize and eliminate the denting effect...

but given that it's unique, softer on your feet than wood / tile, naturally anti-microbial or anti-bacterial (not sure which), i think it's a great flooring alternative to use...

Re: Cork flooring in kitchen

Posted by John Sinatra at January 27. 2006

I would be very interested in your leftover cork. Please let me know how much plus shipping cost to zip code 30606. Thanks!

Re: Cork flooring in kitchen

Posted by Vikas Wadhwa at January 27. 2006

you could buy this cork new from www.blackriverfloors.com for $3.60 / sf + shipping costs..it's model LC-11 (i ordered 1200 sq. ft. from them, and it cost me $500 for shipping to chicago - they are in wisconsin, so my guess is that was cheap). i would sell for $2.60 / sf + shipping. I can check the exact sq. ft. i have next sunday (should be 225-250 sq. ft) - i'm going out of town for the week...but can find out shipping costs when i get back...how much sq. ft. do you need for the job?

Re: Cork flooring in kitchen

Posted by JB at January 27. 2006

Just another chime in...
Cork is fantastic and is very rugged.
We've used cork flooring in a lot of kitchens that get worn very hard. It holds up as well as any floor- icluding stone- if not better. It's not slippery, it's easy to clean, it's easy on your back and forgiving on things that are dropped.
Anything cam get damaged somehow some way but i would heartily reccomend it.
At my last office the entry from the parking lot had cork floors- after five years of new england winter salt and sand getting ground into it by 20+ architects it still looked as good as the day installed.

It's really great and really reasonable- also versatile in terms of colors, [atterns, textures. Some even say it's environmentally green (but certainly not all manufacturers). We've gotten ours from a canadian company that includes the adhesive and sealer for the job that includes freight for ~$6/sqft. Not too shabby.

Re: Cork flooring in kitchen

Posted by John Sinatra at January 31. 2006

I am trying to avoid having to place quarter-round moulding along the bases. Is it possible to precision cut cork and butt it up against the cabinets? I know this sounds absird but I am trying to maintain a clean line along the cabinet bases.

Re: Cork flooring in kitchen

Posted by Jeffrey Rous at January 31. 2006

Yes, I agree that minimizing use of 1/4 round is pretty important.

In our kitchen, we were going to put in 3/4 hardwood floors where sheet vinyl had been. So I pulled up the cabinets and set them on a 3/4 plywood base that was about 1/4 smaller than the base of the cabinets (the sink cabinet was really the only tough one). Then the floor-guy just fit the hardwoods under the cabinets into the 1/4 space. I then used 1/4 oak veneer plywood cut into 4 strips (finished to match the cabinets) to add another layer to the toekick. This covered up any remaining seam. As long as you only have to deal with the seam under the toekick, adding a layer to the toekick might work. Cabinet sides might be more trouble.

My neightbor had a situation where a previous owner put in a ceramic floor without raising the cabinets. This was fine until they had a dishwasher problem and then they couldn't get the dishwasher out to repair it without pulling up the countertop and lifting the dishwasher over the floor. It was a mess.

Re: Cork flooring in kitchen

Posted by John Sinatra at January 31. 2006

Another layer to the toekick is a great idea. I have ordered recessed toekicks on the cabinet sides so I shouldn't have any problem implementing this idea. Thank you so much for the insight.

Re: Cork flooring in kitchen

Posted by Vikas Wadhwa at February 04. 2006

jb,

i just sent you a message. i need to your contact info to get a shipping quote - can't do it just with a zip code. i'll be using uship.com

Re: Cork flooring in kitchen

Posted by Sara R. Sage at February 07. 2006

We installed cork flooring in our kitchen just six months ago and it already needs replacing. We had a small leak in the kitchen and the cork planks curled and popped out of the grooves, it got worse with the regular kitchen water. I can't be sure, but it seems that the water intrusion came mainly through the seams, rather than the surface of the cork planks. When we replace the cork flooring (with the leftovers) we will use glue in the seams and put a coat of poly over it. I hope it will hold up better this time!

Re: Cork flooring in kitchen

Posted by JB at February 08. 2006

To be clear on the cork- there is the kind that comes glued to laminate planks that is tg. The really great stuff are just cork tiles. they are like linoleum and glue directly to the subfloor. After installation they are sealed- which seals up the joints to prevent any water penetration.
Brands like Duro Cork will always wear better than the click lock systems.

http://www.duro-design.com/index.html

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