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Old 07-22-2010, 01:16 PM
 
431 posts, read 2,119,754 times
Reputation: 356
Default Cork flooring for basement--pros and cons

I think we're going to do cork flooring in the basement. We were thinking about carpet but I don't think that is the best option for us in terms of being eco-friendly.

As I understand it, you don't need a sub floor to put down cork--instead it's a "floating floor" on top of a vapor barrier on the concrete slab of the basement. Is that correct? Also as I understand it the cork comes pre-finished so a finish does not need to be applied?

Can anyone tell me anything else about their cork floors?
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Old 07-22-2010, 02:08 PM
 
Location: Grosse Ile Michigan and Sometimes Orange County CA
15,820 posts, read 28,597,550 times
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We put cork floor in a hallway in the basement. We installed it over those falkeboard over plastic subfloor squares that home Depot sells. I am glad that we did for several reasons. The squares have little feet that provides an air pocket (insulation) this keeps the cork floor from being cold all the time. The little feet allow small amounts of water to run underneath without anythign getting wet. We had a toile line break once and a sink overflow once and we are currently having problems with outside water intrusion. Those little subfloor feet kept the cork flooring from getting wet and being ruined.


A few comments about cork flooring:

It comes in hundreds of different grain patterns. Some are phenominally intersting and beautiful. Others are balnd and boring. The nicest onces are found on the internet.

It is usually stained or died. One company on the internet sells brightly colored cork flooring (Tangerine, yellow, blue etc).

A lot depends on what coating is on the cork. If it is a super hard coating, it holds up better, but you lose the benefits of a cork floor, basically, you have a plastic floor with cork underneath. We used a semi-flexible coating that allows our feet to benefit from the softness of the cork. It has to be re-coated evey three or four years.

Cork is soft. Do not drag furniture across it, allow darts to fall on it, wear high heels, or allow dog's nails on it. It scratches easily. Deep scratches or furrows are common. In that case you have to replace that section of the floor.

Each brand is slightly different in the connetion. Most brands have suggested special tools for installing their particular floor. Buy them. Do not save money by buying generic floating floor tools from Home Depot. You will not save money, you will break floor sections and have ot order more at great time and expense.


Score the cork with a razor before cutting the floor pieces.


Do nto walk ont he cork before you have it coated.

I prefer to put my own coating on the floor. That way I know exactly what was used, how many coats and I know that all of the joints are coated. It is very very easy to do. Most coatings are waterbased and can be applied with a sponge mop. You need a lot of coats (I used 15), but they dry in half an hour, so it is very easy to put on a lot of coats.
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Old 07-22-2010, 02:12 PM
 
431 posts, read 2,119,754 times
Reputation: 356
Quote:
Originally Posted by Coldjensens View Post
We put cork floor in a hallway in the basement. We installed it over those falkeboard over plastic subfloor squares that home Depot sells. I am glad that we did for several reasons. The squares have little feet that provides an air pocket (insulation) this keeps the cork floor from being cold all the time. The little feet allow small amounts of water to run underneath without anythign getting wet. We had a toile line break once and a sink overflow once and we are currently having problems with outside water intrusion. Those little subfloor feet kept the cork flooring from getting wet and being ruined.


A few comments about cork flooring:

It comes in hundreds of different grain patterns. Some are phenominally intersting and beautiful. Others are balnd and boring. The nicest onces are found on the internet.

It is usually stained or died. One company on the internet sells brightly colored cork flooring (Tangerine, yellow, blue etc).

A lot depends on what coating is on the cork. If it is a super hard coating, it holds up better, but you lose the benefits of a cork floor, basically, you have a plastic floor with cork underneath. We used a semi-flexible coating that allows our feet to benefit from the softness of the cork. It has to be re-coated evey three or four years.

Cork is soft. Do not drag furniture across it, allow darts to fall on it, wear high heels, or allow dog's nails on it. It scratches easily. Deep scratches or furrows are common. In that case you have to replace that section of the floor.

Each brand is slightly different in the connetion. Most brands have suggested special tools for installing their particular floor. Buy them. Do not save money by buying generic floating floor tools from Home Depot. You will not save money, you will break floor sections and have ot order more at great time and expense.


Score the cork with a razor before cutting the floor pieces.


Do nto walk ont he cork before you have it coated.

I prefer to put my own coating on the floor. That way I know exactly what was used, how many coats and I know that all of the joints are coated. It is very very easy to do. Most coatings are waterbased and can be applied with a sponge mop. You need a lot of coats (I used 15), but they dry in half an hour, so it is very easy to put on a lot of coats.
This is very helpful. My hubby and I would be hiring someone to install it thought, we are first time home buyers and not handy yet. Wouldn't you say buying it online is risky, though, b/c if there is a problem and parts of the cork are damaged, how will you have recourse for this, vs. going to a physical store?

I see that some cork flooring comes pre-finished and others are not finished. Not sure which one to get.
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Old 07-23-2010, 08:54 PM
 
Location: Denver, CO
1,704 posts, read 2,034,103 times
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My whole place is cork floors and it didn't require any sort of coating. I know they did have to let it sit in the space for a couple of days before installing it so that it would adjust to the humidity. I haven't had any problems with scratches or damage except where I had a very heavy file cabinet on rollers. It left a slight indentation when I moved it.
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Old 07-29-2010, 06:34 AM
 
Location: Grosse Ile Michigan and Sometimes Orange County CA
15,820 posts, read 28,597,550 times
Reputation: 11638
Quote:
Originally Posted by Bass101 View Post
This is very helpful. My hubby and I would be hiring someone to install it thought, we are first time home buyers and not handy yet. Wouldn't you say buying it online is risky, though, b/c if there is a problem and parts of the cork are damaged, how will you have recourse for this, vs. going to a physical store?

I see that some cork flooring comes pre-finished and others are not finished. Not sure which one to get.
I prefer to finish the floor inplace rather than buyin prefinsihed. There are several advantages:

1. I get to decide what type of coating is used.

2. I can control how many coats of finsh goes onthe floor.

3. Applying in place, I can make certain that the joints and edges of cut portions get coated.

4. When it needs recoating, I know what to use. Some coatings are not compatible with others and will bubble up. If you do nto know what was used to begin with, you either have to guess, or just repalce the entire floor when the coating begins to wear through.

5. I can control the coating levels in different areas. Thus, I can put 15 coats in high traffic areas and only 5 on the edges where no one walks if I choose to do so.

6. I can control the sheen. In this applicaiton, I did not want shiney floors. I also did not want a super hard coating that essentially eliminates the benefit of cork. If I ordered cork floor pre-finished I would get what I get.

7. I know how many coats are on the floor and how durable it is. If it is pre-finished, I could end up with only two coats that will not last very long.

The advantage of prefinsihed floors are:

1. It is easier and less messy.

2. The finish is usually evely applied on all pieces.

3. Some manufactureers use the best possible finsih for their type of floor.


As far as ordering it on the internet.

First of all you will want ot order quite a bit of extra no matter where you get it. Stain or dye runs will nto be exactly identical. If you have to order more later, it will not be an exact match. Besides, you need to order a few extra pieces and keep them in your attic. If something happens to one piece, you can often just replace it. If the line or color gets discontinued, you will not be able to buy new pieces and then one damaged piece means a whole new floor.

It is good to have some extra anyway to cover miscuts, waste, a few bad pieces etc. You can return any bad pieces. I did not bother. We only had one that had aproblem and it was not worth sending it back.

You get to see and touch the flooring if you buy in a store, but you will pay a lot (!) more and you will have fewer choices. Looking at the stores around us, we had less than ten choices of brand,style, grain pattern, finishes, etc. Online we had hundreds of choices. Further the cost was 5 times more in the store than a some online places for the same product. You pay for shipping, but you do nto pay sales tax (usually) so it balances out.
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Old 05-02-2014, 08:00 AM
 
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What is the best online place to deal with?
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Old 05-02-2014, 07:59 PM
Status: "OUCH!! :*(" (set 8 days ago)
 
1,683 posts, read 676,827 times
Reputation: 2255
A lot of good info, Coldjensens! Thank you! I've been tossing around the idea of cork flooring in my basement as well.
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