Wednesday, January 25, 2012

Our cork floors!

Our son is still sick. It's exhausting for all of us. He isn't sleeping well in his bed, so I've been driving him back and forth to the house so he can sleep in his car seat. He falls asleep almost immediately, and dozes through my runs into the house to check on things.

Last night, Niels and I made a night run to the house so he could see his newly painted office and our appliances, and I got to see the start of our cork floors!

If you've been following along, you know that cork floors was something I've wanted since our dreaming stage. The number one reason I wanted cork is for its sound-proofing quality. We had hardwood in our old house and it was so loud. It made it really hard for us to have friends over (especially the under ten crowd) because the reverberating noise would set my headache on overdrive. In building our forever house, I wanted to have a home where my son could have friends over and be boys without constantly having to shush them. I wanted to have a home where we could have friends over and I could last more than a few hours before having to leave hubby to host without me. Most of all, I wanted to increase the number of good days I have and improve the quality of all of my days.

In addition to being quiet, cork floors are softer than hardwood, which is great for aging knees and backs. Another great choice for a home where we intend to age in place. It's also great for preventing broken dishes if and when they are dropped on the floor. Cork is warmer to the touch that other flooring choices due to its cellular makeup, which is great for bare and stocking footed feet. (No shoes in our house!). From a green perspective, cork is a renewable resource (the cork tree, which does not have to be cut down to harvest its cork), and it contains a anti-microbial substance called suberin. Cork also is resistant to mold, mildew and pests.

To be fair, because cork is soft, it can be scratched, so you have to be careful about dragging furniture--we will be putting felt pads on the bottom of our dining room chairs--and a dance party in stiletto heels is probably not the best idea. We do plan to have another dog, and like with hardwood floors, as long as their nails are trimmed, gouging is not a concern.

Some people are afraid of cork because they think it shouldn't be used in wet rooms like bathrooms or kitchens because it would be ruined if the dishwasher exploded or something. The truth is, any floor is likely to need to be replaced if something big like that happens, so that's not a reason for us to avoid cork. In fact, if money were not object, I would have put cork everywhere we cut back and put carpet. Hopefully, over the years, we will be able to upgrade to cork as our carpet wears out.

We bought our cork from Northport Flooring America in Akron. We met with a lot of flooring places, but we were really pleased with the prices Harold gave us, as well as suggestions for getting the look we wanted for a price that fit our allowance. We were also very pleased that they were familiar and experienced in laying cork floors.

To lay the floor, first the subfloor was sanded, swept and vacuumed. This is what happened yesterday. Then, they used this sheeting on top of the subfloor and under the cork planks:

The bottom side of the cork plank looks like what most people think of when they think of cork: cork boards. This provides a second layer of cushion.
The part of the plank that you see actually comes in a ton of different styles and colors. Ours is called Marcas Areia from US Floors and has a grayish wash over it.

We chose floating floors over glue down so we don't have to worry about any fumes or off-gassing.

I just love the way it's turning out.

When I visited the house this morning, the dining room was almost done. The rest of the kitchen and pantry should be done tonight. 

Charis will be having an open house before we move in. We're happy to show visitors the beauty of cork floors. We're also very grateful that Charis will be putting extra layers of protection over the floors before we move in! 

We went back tonight and took more pictures of the progress. The dinette is done, and the kitchen is mostly done.

***update #2***
We have been moved-in for two months now and we could not be happier with these floors. They are soft and quiet and so much easier to keep clean than our old hardwoods. It's fun to have something different, and everyone who comes over wonders why more people don't use cork floors. We look forward to eventually having cork floors throughout our first floor.

***update #3***
We have now been in the dream house for two and half years and we still love the cork floors. Our carpet is starting to show some wear. (Our son was three and stayed home with me all day when we moved in). In a few years, the carpet will come out and cork will not only replace it on the first floor, but likely the upstairs, too!

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  1. your cork floors are really pretty! thanks for sharing all the pictures. :)

  2. Looks beautiful! Maria from "Colour Me Happy" could learn a thing or two about cork flooring. I have been in a couple of homes where they have had cork flooring in their home, and I'm not even a designer. I know the home owners who do use it say they love it!

  3. I myself love cork flooring. In fact, it is one of my dream floor when I will have my dream house. Anyway, thank you for sharing your post. It triggers more my attention to have that cork floors soon in my house.

  4. we are pretty much considering cork for our kitchen/living area; we have young kids but we also have parties with stilettos once in a while too! i guess you can't have it all! still wanting to go with the cork though, despite the parties. it's hard to decide on color and glue down vs floating and also sealing vs not. did u seal yours? i heard they "dent" more if sealed.

  5. We did not seal ours and ours is floating. We have had no issues with not having it sealed. We drop things all the time (including liquids) but haven't had a problem since we moved-in 10 months ago.

  6. Would you share what brand and style of cork floor this is? We're looking at doing cork throughout most of our house.

    1. Yes, we have Almada Marcas Areia planks from US Floors.

      We love them and have plans to replace the carpet in a few rooms with more of it when the carpet wears out.

  7. Hi there, we're thinking to install floating cork flooring in our open plan kitchen/dining/living area, but we're a little worried about durability. Did you have your floor coated or varnished after it was layed? Also how is it holding up after a few years of wear? Thanks for your post and all of your photo!

  8. I am thinking about putting cork floors in our house and would love to hear how your floors are at the 2 year mark.

  9. In redoing our kitchen-family-dining room, we decided on cork floors. My parents had cork in the 50's and 60's and loved them. The biggest decision is color, and there are many to choose from. I will post photos as the floor goes in, probably in a month or so. We are just getting started with the demolition and basic new electrical/plumbing work. Thanks for your explanations and photos. I enjoyed knowing how much you like them. Gloria


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