Monday, August 29, 2011

Cork Flooring

I love cork flooring.  It’s great under your feet, it’s nice and warm in the winter (even over slab-grade concrete), and you can drop a drinking glass on it and not really worry about it shattering all over your kitchen.  It’s period appropriate, and even the engineered stuff (depending on the style/color) is pretty indiscernible from the rolls or tile that was glued down directly back in the 50’s.

My biggest concern with cork floors was how it would wear with heavy traffic, mainly from a 90 pound Doberman-Rottweiler.  I am happy to say we made it through 3 years with hardly a scratch.  However, when that guy passed away [sniff], and we introduced our new 80 pound Boxer/Pitt love to the home, it’s been a different story entirely.

In just a few months, Luther has torn the crap out of the floor in the entrance (near the door, going around the corner where he runs to our defense upon ringing of the buzzer). [For the record, I believe this damage is ultimately my fault.  Had I kept up with proper maintenance, namely, reapplication of the Varethane as often as I should have, I don’t think this scratching would have happened.  Also, bear in mind that this is from a ninety pound beast with CLAWS sliding around on it chasing balls and running at the door when the bell rings.]


Here is a photo of the cork in our entrance way.  Obviously the “look” of the particular style (“Cassatt” from Lisbon Cork co. ltd.) is a very thin laminate glued to the top of a cork substrate.  The beast has made mincemeat of this thin layer of style.

There is a 25 year warranty on the product, but I assume as with most flooring warranties, the hoops one must jump through to qualify for replacement are more difficult than trying to eat a boat.  I guess I should at least call and see.

The floor has also been severely bleached by the sun, as is clearly illustrated in this photo:


This happened very early after putting the cork down.  This photo is from today, so even the darker part is a little bleached; there used to be even more contrast.

Still, it bleached evenly, and I don’t mind the lighter tone, so considering how much we love the material, I guess we’re ok with it (though I will reiterate that the “style-veneer,” the color/visual texture, isn’t as durable as I had hoped, and may leave some people disappointed).

Eventually we plan on doing the master bath in the same material, and I plan on putting an electric radiant heat mat underneath (I wish I would have done this in the kitchen as well).

Even with the bleaching I still love the stuff, so I would recommend it to anyone thinking about putting cork down.  I’m contemplating a darker style (“Dali” from the same company) for my new studio, but only because there are no windows.  I suppose I might try looking for another, more durable, source, but the prices on this product from Lumber Liquidators are hard to beat, so…