Cork Floors

Parent Q&A

  • This topic has been written about a few times - but a long while ago. Many of the earlier recommendations on vendors/stores are now out of business..

    Wondering if anyone has had more recent experiences installing Cork or Linoleum flooring options ? Also need recommendations for stores and good installers for these floors.

    We are new to homeownership and have NO experience in anything home-related, just learning as we go along :) In search of an affordable, healthy and eco-friendly flooring option for the casual bedrooms/hallway areas which is water-resistant for regular cleaning.

    Thank you in advance!!

    I have been a home owner for several years and still feel like I know nothing about anything home related. I have just started a once-every-10-years home refresh, and chose to work with a local contractor whom I watched renovate a house in my neighborhood. He recommended the Floor Store. I am in the middle of having Coretec Stone (cork underlay) installed in my kitchen. The previous flooring was rollout vinyl, which seemed to hold up OK for about 10 years, but it has now been 20 years and it was in overall bad shape.

    We have renovated homes using both true linoleum as well as cork and I would be happy to talk about the differences but maybe you should just give me a call.

    We have renovated homes using both true linoleum as well as cork and I would be happy to talk about the differences but maybe you should just give me a call.

    In the meantime, the very best resource if you want a healthy homeAnd you want to be able to access people who are truly knowledgeable about what they’re selling, and there’s no toxic chemicals for children and adults who live in the homes to deal with offgassing, I would absolutely recommend EcoHome in Berkeley on San Pablo. I would veer away from the floor store myself.

    I can't speak to linoleum flooring, but we recently installed cork flooring in our new-addition bedroom and LOVE it. We get so many compliments about how pretty it is, it's soft and comfortable on my middle-age feet, and it doesn't get cold like other flooring does (which is nice since our bedroom is basically in the basement). We got it from Flooring Alternatives on San Pablo in Berkeley, and I cannot recommend them highly enough. They only do eco-friendly flooring. Talk to Mari--she was great to work with. 

Archived Q&A and Reviews

Questions Related Pages

2008 - 2013 Recommendations

Cork and bamboo flooring with kids & pets?

April 2011

I know there are discussions in the archives about flooring, but I'd love to hear from folks who have been living with bamboo or cork floors for some years and how satisfied they are. We are purchasing a foreclosure and need to install new floors and are considering these two types. We have two small children and would like to get a dog and/or cat which would spend at least some time indoors. Thanks! Rose

Hi. We got a cork kitchen floor about 6 years ago and I think it still looks great. I was kind of nervous about it at the time because we have three boys (no pets) and every one is always tracking in water from the hot tub. There are a few 'dents' in the cork where our kitchen tables legs hit...its a heavy table so when we move it a little, it does leave small dents. But no real visible scratches or warping or anything.

But generally I can't believe how good the floor still looks. We picked the pattern that is like centimeter thick 'strips' of cork and it has a very speckled or mottled look. this has been great because it covers literally ALL dirt. And its so speckled already that any dents are sort of covered up. I was also worried that the seams between the tiles would be visible and I think because we picked the pattern that already had 'strips' of cork in it, the seams are not really visible.

We bought the cork (floating 'tiles) from Eco home improvement and the guy who installed it said that we could preserve it more if we put a layer of polypropylene over the top. We didn't do that just b/c we were lazy, but even still, the floor looks good. very pleasantly surprised by my cork kitchen

My wife and I put in a floating cork floor in our kitchen six or seven years ago. It is great and has lasted well.

We used the 'burl' style floor, and it is great--really hides dirt. We've had a baby since then, and he loved to play in the pot lids when he was young, so at the right angle, you can see a lot of dents in the floor in that section. But generally, it is very forgiving, especially with potential dents from chairs or dropping knives.

The install we did went pretty well, but we thought we'd need to put on a sealer afterwards (after all, there is water in the kitchen). Putting on the sealer was not easy-- hard to get it not streaky and even. In hindsight, we should have either had a professional put on the sealer, or skipped it altogether, since I believe the panels were sealed anyway. Have not had an issue though with water getting into the seams. We are happy with the product. Bryan

We installed both in our home and I would have to say I would never again install Bamboo flooring! it is hard to keep looking good, scratches and gouges cannot be fixed and it does not wear well. it is a real bugger to clean, we ended up using a floor steamer as nothing else we tried worked.

Cork on the other hand is easy on the legs, easy to clean, looks good, very low maintenance. Also, imo, more affordable than the bamboo which ended up being very expensive. no more bamboo for me

We've had bamboo floors for about 7-8 years (with 2 kids/2 cats over that time), and I like them. They do show some scratches/dents, but they're the first wooden floors I've lived with, so I don't know if it's more or less than other types of wood. I don't find the wear unattractive, and honestly, we live pretty hard on them - there are lots of toy trucks, scooters, etc. at our house. The only thing I'd change if I had it to do over again is to get the darker 'carbonized' color rather than the light 'natural' color, as the light color shows dirt. Overall, I'd buy bamboo again in a heartbeat. JP
First be aware that not all cork or all bamboo flooring is the same. Quality, thickness, and sources vary a lot. When comparing people's experiences, you really need to know the details.

We've had (and loved) our cork flooring in the kitchen for five years now. We chose to use Expanko glue-down tiles based on their thickness (thicker than many) color choice (all natural-looking shades of brown which is done by heating, which penetrates, not dying which is more likely to fade), and good installation guidelines (MAKE SURE YOUR INSTALLER FOLLOWS THEM!). We also had several finish coats put on, as advised by the manufacturer.

It is very soft underfoot, nothing (well, almost nothing) ever breaks when dropped on it, and it looks good even with infrequent cleaning (advantage? - you decide!) We don't have any pets, so I can't speak to how it would hold up to claws, but it's the most walked-on floor in our house and looks good, I think. I'd be happy to let you look at ours if you're interested (in Albany). rk

2004 - 2007 Recommendations

What's your experience with cork flooring?

Feb 2007

We are considering cork flooring (floating panels w/20 yr. warranty) in our kitchen and dining room. Anyone have any experience with heavy furniture (dining tables, hutches, etc.) and if a noticeable impression gets made by the furniture? We'd be moving the table around to accommodate larger groups from time to time so were concerned about any denting. Also, what's your experience with sun-fading in direct sunlight? The rep. recommended unstained (lighter) cork vs. dark-stained but the gardenweb forums have both recommended. Confused about cork! Tracy

Hi- I recently put cork floors in my piano studio (I chose cork for acoustic reasons - hardwood or tile would have been too reverberant.) Much to my surprise, rolling around the 600 pound Steinway grand piano does not dent or even scratch the floor, although it feels resilient under foot.

I don't know yet about sun fade.

I'm very happy with my floor. The only thing I would do differently is to have put several additional coats of sealer on after installation for a more uniform sheen. Rebecca

Hi, We got cork floor tiles about four years ago. We got ones that were stained a dark mahogany, and they have faded dramatically. I loved how they looked when first installed but now they are all different colors, depending on how much sun they've gotten. So I'd recommend going with a lighter color if the floor will get any sunlight. We haven't had problems with furniture denting the cork, but what has been a problem is that the cork can get nicked by sharp objects and then there's no way to repair it. (It can't be sanded like wood floors.) The varnish we initially used was ''residential grade'' (which we bought from the cork vendor, and they told us would work fine). But the floor was constantly getting gouged. So then we put on a layer of ''commercial grade'' varnish and that mostly fixed the problem--but we still do occasionally nick it.

I do like my cork floors and they're great for little kids, but if I had it to do again I would have used a much stronger varnish to start with and a light color--or just done wood or bamboo. cork house mama

Cork floor in kitchen?

May 2006

I am looking for feedback from anyone with a cork floor in their kitchen, or experience with cork floors and marmoleum floors. I'm replacing my kitchen floors and not interested in tile or hardwood. I want a natural, green alternative but i wonder how easy it is to keep a cork floor nice. Are they easily moppable? I like marmoleum but i've heard it scuffs easily and it's definitely not cheap. Any feedback would be greatly appreciated. Thanks all. Leslie

We recently used cork (glue-down tiles) in our kitchen remodel, and so far, I love it. It's not old enough to comment on its durability, but you are welcome to contact me for more info, or to see it. rk

Considering cork floor for great room

Jan 2005

Does anyone have a cork floor or has anyone ever installed one? We are looking to redo the floor in our great room, which has a radiant heating system, and we heard that cork might be a good option for this. However, we've never seen a cork floor in person and we're not sure how it will look, how durable it would be etc. Any advice would be appreciated. Is bamboo a good option for radiant heat? Chris

We don't have cork floors yet, but plan to soon. We're planning on using the stick-down tiles, not the click-interlocking floating panels (to keep the floor level even with adjacent rooms). I've done some research and found, among other things: Warranties range from 5 to 10 years. Some are thicker than others. If you're using patterned or colored tiles, note that some companies just apply a thin top layer of the pattern, others have the cork color all the way through (so it will still look patterned.colored after the surface is worn, and you can refinish it). Of course the latter is a little more expensive. Anderson Flooring (on Broadway in oakland) has a pretty big selection on display from a variety of brands. They only loan samples for one day, but they willingly sent me some samples to keep. Check out You can find lots of people's personal experiences with various products. If you search cork flooring, you'll get lots of info. Good luck! R.K.

Considering cork floor in kitchen

Dec 2004

I am remodeling a ktichen and want to replace my tile floor. I am considering bamboo but am also looking at cork. I found info about bamboo in the archives but nothing about cork flooring. Does anyone have any experience/suggestions/warning about cork flooring in a kitchen? Including who installed it? Thanks, Rachel

We're considering installing cork flooring in our kitchen. Does anyone have any pros/cons to share, from their experience and/or any installers to recommend? Thanks! marybeth
Hi. We have cork floors in a home office. They are very soft on your feet and warm; and they look great; and like bamboo, are a renewable resource. The only consideration is the softness also means they could be gouged by falling pots, etc. We have several small gauges from moving furniture around after less than a year of use. (actually furniture is probably more gauging than falling pots- but you'd have to be super careful if you do any remodelling later- demo. work or moving a stove in or out.) Otherwise I'd highly recommend it. We bought ours on clearance at floor dimensions in El Sobrante- their installer was very expensive so we hired someone else who did well with the cork but horribly with a linoleum floor so I am reluctant to recommend him. (I also like the way bamboo looks but my contractor friend was concerned about the amount of glue used holding the reeds together especially in the thin reed patterns- his feeling was they wouldn't hold up over a long period of time- i.e. not a solid plank like wood.) Chris
Nov 2004

We're remodelling our kitchen and seriously considering cork floors for their durability, sustainability, etc. I'd love to hear from others who have installed cork floors -- what do you like about them? what don't you like about them? And has anyone bought flooring from Flooring Alternatives over on Gilman? Thanks, Remodeller

We just installed cork tiles in our kitchen, sunroom, and bathroom, and we LOVE it. We did cork tiles from Duro Design in Quebec rather than the newer kind that snap together. That meant that we had to do the urethane coating after installation (I believe that the newer kind is pre-coated). I'm not sure how the two kinds compare in terms of durability, but I've been amazed at how water resistant and durable the flooring is. It's also so easy to clean--just a damp mop. And because the surface is so smooth, sweeping is really easy and you don't feel like stuff is getting stuck in grout or whatever. While I can't vouch for its long-term durability, based on our experience so far, I'd definitely recommend going with cork. Genevieve
April 2004

We are considering cork flooring for our kitchen remodel. I'd like to know how well it holds up, compare prefinished (acrylic) with finish-in-place, and get some info on suppliers and installers. When you reply, please indicate how long you have had cork floors, and which room it is in. Thanks. R.K.

We have had cork flooring in our kitchen for about three years. We got it prefinished and then put a topcoat on it after a dishwasher accident that caused some water damage.

People give us lots of complements on it, but I'm not sure we'd select it again. I love the softness underfoot and it stands up well to foot traffic, but we have had two dishwasher accidents which caused extensive damage to the floor (to the tune of $1000+). Although the promoters say it stands up to water comparably to a wood floor, I haven't found that to be true. If water gets under the panels, it causes damage from the bottom up, which is a very different dynamic than wood floors.

If you are careful and are sure that no appliances will fail, go for it. If we had a different dishwasher (mind you, this is a new bosch that's malfunctioned twice!!), I might be writing a very different recommendation here. Laurie

We put down cork flooring in our kitchen. It was hard to find any information and some people adivsed against it, but we love it. It's great to know that we used a sustainable resource; it's comfortable to walk on; it serves as a good acoustic barrier to our downstairs; it was easy to install (we used the click together kind, and we did it ourselves). We ordered it online. I searched many websites until I found the dark color I wanted. I think that a light color might show stains. And, water left a mark until we used a sealer. Email me if you'd like more information. Stefanie