Category Archives: About Cork

about cork flooring

Cork Tiles or Floating Cork Flooring

cork tiles or floating cork flooring

Cork flooring is no different than any other wood products, has two installation options: Glue down cork tiles and Cork Floating Floor planks. Both are similar in appearance, longevity and maintenance, however cartier love bracelet knock off
the two floors are completely different when it comes to installing in your home.

cork tiles or floating cork flooring

Our glue down cork tiles are 100% cork without any form of fibreboard to hamper cork’s famous water proof properties. Glue down cork tiles do require site-finishing to maintain this water proof finish. If you choose not to site-finish, eventually water and dirt will enter the seams of the floor and make their way to the adhesive. Once that happens, the dirt will act as an abrasive and will slowly eat away at the bond with the subfloor. Within 7-10 years your unsealed glue down cork tiles will begin to break down and need to be replaced. The edges will begin to open up to allow more dirt and water to enter and the adhesive bond will continue to deteriorate. Beware of glue in place cork floors that do not require site finishing.

A Cork Floating Floor plank incorporates a middle layer of fibreboard – preferably High Density Fibreboard (HDF) with moisture resistant properties. This middle layer is what allows for a locking system to be introduced for ease of installation. The middle HDF layer is also what makes this floor susceptible to water, moisture and more importantly high humidity. That is why Cork Floating Floors should never be installed in bathrooms with a shower or tub.

When deciding on which floor to install a quick assessment of where you are looking to install the floor will help with your decision. A Cork Floating Floor cannot be installed in a bathroom because of the high humidity, while glue down cork tiles cannot be installed in a basement. If you do not have a moisture barrier incorporated than your glue down tiles will have issues “at grade” with the cement slab it is being glued to. Since washing machines are famous for leaking, glue down tiles are recommended for installing in a laundry room.

In all other rooms in your home the Cork Floating Floor and Glue down cork tiles are a like so your personal preference can now make the decision. A cork floating floor can be made water resistant with 2 coats of appropriate site finish (such as Loba 2K Supra AT or Loba WS 2K Supra). The two coats of finish seal the seams against surface moisture.

A Cork floating floor may be installed in a kitchen. Since kitchens, unlike bathrooms tend to suffer surface moisture rather than humidity. It is the humidity that prevents a Floating Cork floor from being installed in a bathroom. However, if you are installing a Floating Cork floor in your kitchen, we highly recommend site finishing with 2 coats of appropriate site finish (such as Loba 2K Supra AT or Loba WS 2K Supra).

The Gold Standard for quality cork flooring is the glue-down tile. However, you do need to take into consideration the cost and duration of installation, along with your budget. Preparation of subfloor materials can often add $1.00/sf more to the cost of your materials. Add in close to $1.20 /sf , the cost of liquids that is required to install a cork glue down floor onto the total. Now we have the cost of labour to install the glue down tile. This can often double, even triple the rate of installing a Cork Floating Floor. The time it takes to properly install a glue down tile under normal conditions is double the time it takes for the Cork Floating Floor. You still need to add in the extra time to prepare your subfloor. When all is said and done a glue down floor can be as much as three to four times longer to install. This is the mainreason a glue down cork floor is often more expensive than a Cork Floating Floor. Don’t let the initial cost of the flooring make you feel like the glue down is a cost effective option. In fact, the Cork Floating Floor can save you time and money.

To ensure you are choosing the correct flooring type for your project, please contact Cancork Floor.

Cancork Floor Inc.
185-1991 Savage Road. 
Richmond BC, V6V 0A4 
Tel: 604-207-0661
Toll Free: 1-866-998-1198 

Cork Flooring History

Cork Flooring History

Eventhough cork flooring is consider new or novel to the North America it has been around in one format or another for more than 125 years of Cork Flooring History. Cathedrals in Spain and Portugal have cork floors that were installed in 1870′s or even ealier. The US Library of Congress is the most famous American cork floor in existence. The Library received its cork floor before the building opened 1897. The floor is still in use today.

At that time, cork flooring installation was an exotic, expensive and laborious undertaking. Cork was imported at great expense as North America does not have cork oak forests. Great rolls or sheets of cork were glued in place, custom stained and then finished with hardwax or varnish. A complete installation could take weeks or even months depending on the stain and length of time it took the varnish to cure.cork flooring history

In the 1920′s to the the 1940′s cork floor came into vogue as every-day-flooring. Post-war bungalows around the USA and Canada can be found which still maintain their original cork floors. Many people have taken the time and the effort to refurbish these floors to bring them back to their former glory. These old floors are mainly a single colour and are now a deep orange due to the solvent based finishes of their day. Not many homeowners had the money to stain their cork floors with custom colours or patterns. Only in the more stately homes of this era will you find antique cork floors stained to match or enhance architectural detail.

Today’s technology has removed most of the expense associated with cork flooring. Namely the advent of the floating floor plank and today’s click-locking systems. Today’s floating flooring allows any homeowner who wishes to have a cork floor the opportunity to own and enjoy this luxury flooring product. The locking systems have allowed cork to be installed where it was never allowed before namely basements or in areas where high water-tables are a concern.

Glue down cork tiled floors are still a major investment in time and money. It is still the highest level of flooring available in the cork market, but the labour or installation costs are still as prohibitive as before. The labour costs needed to produce a medium to high end cork glue down floor will often triple or quadruple the cost of materials. In many markets today, to install the glue down format can be the same as installing a ceramic or porcelain tile floor. Because of the costs involved, the floating cork floor is now gaining ground and making cork flooring an excellent alternative to laminate or engineered hardwood flooring.

Cork as Flooring

Here is where anyone can ask any question they wish about cork as a flooring product.

cork as flooring

cork as flooring

There are no silly questions.  Cork is a unique wood with unique qualities that have taken us more than 8 years to understand.  We are still learning.  We are still growing in our knowledge of the flooring industry.

If it has taken us more than 8 years of our life to understand this material, then expect to take a bit of time for you to gather enough knowledge about this material to make an informed decision.

Cork Flooring Pros and Cons

Cork Flooring Pros and Cons VS Unrealistic Expectations

This is a hot topic now a days; discussing the pros and cons of a particular product as well as cork flooring pros and cons.  Cork flooring is no better and no worse than any other product; it has its good side and its bad side just like any other floor.  It all comes down to personal tastes and personal expectations.  Cork is cork is cork.  It has and always will act the way it acts.  It is the personality (read: the owner) that uses the product that will feel there are problems with said product.

“Know thyself” is a good place to start with any product and cork is no different.  Know what you expect out of a product and what “bugs” you.  Know your cleaning schedule and your own cleaning profile.  Know what will bother you and stay away from it.  Know what makes you feel better and work with that.  This of course doesn’t help a person who is just starting out looking for guidance on a product.  I will offer plusses and minuses for Forna Cork flooring products.  Unfortunately there are many producers of cork who have taken a different manufacturing path which means their product may offer more but in the end work out worse for the consumer.

Cork is a soft wood that compresses and then springs back to its original shape.  This simple set of rules is what makes it “fit” into a wine bottle.  A cork floor will “dimple” (the description I use for non-permanent, non-damaging indentations that eventually work themselves out to become invisible once again) under heavy loads.  The finish on a cork floor is, in simple terms, a “hardwood floor” finish.  In more complex terms it is chemical engineering that allows the wood to flex and expand without cracking or causing discolouration such as “hazing” or allow staining of the cork should anything hit the floor.  This finish can and will scratch.  This finish can and will be pierced by sharp objects being run over the finish (roller blades or soccer shoes) or being stabbed into the floor (a dropped carving knife).

So far, cork is not much different from any other wood floor finish; except the dimpling.  Cork is the only wood that will dimple without being damaged.  All other wood species will “dent” (the word I use to describe permanent indentations into the wood that cannot be fixed by adding more finish).  These dents are permanent.  Most dents in wood floors require plank removal to remove the blemish.  Most people don’t go to this extreme with hardwood because the cost can be too much.  They simply live with the consequences of dropping that can of soup.  Gouges in cork can be removed or fixed inside of 30 minutes and will cost the price of a small container of “wood glue”.

A cork floor will fade in direct sunlight.  It will lighten slightly under artificial lighting.  So far this is the same as an oak floor.  The reason cork’s fading is so noticeable is because of the water based finishes used on cork.  Water based urethanes and polyurethanes do not amber or turn orange like their solvent-based/oil-based cousins.  If an oak floor is finished in clear water based polyurethane the same fading will become noticeable.  For many people this fading is beautiful.  For others this is extremely distressing.

Many people are looking for “eco-friendly” flooring that does not “off-gass” and that is warm on the feet and easy on the body.  So far cork is the winner.  Some of these same people expect cork to look perfect, without blemishes or changes, for several decades.  They want their floors to be soft yet they are unwilling to have their floors dimple or scratch.  They want their flooring to reduce echos yet wear like porcelain tiles. They want the look of wood without the patena and colour changes wood will bring into their lives. These people want a floor that does not require maintenance for 25 years. To date, there is no floor that will fill all of these roles.  The personality that has these expectations is referred to as a perfectionist.

Unrealistic expectations of a building material such as cork are the driving force behind complaints about the product.  Many complain that cork “dents” easily; that they can leave a finger nail indentation in the finish.  Others complain that the cork has changed colour and that the floor left under the rug is now a different colour than the floor in front of the window.  Some people comlain that the finish has worn through in places after 7 years of living on the floor.  So far, all of these “complaints” are known to be “normal” experiences with cork or wood floors.

If these “complaints” are acceptable to you.  If you can accept the unique surface cork offers (dimples but rarely dents) without having to resort to carpet and if you can accept the changing nature of both the colour and the finish then cork is an option for you.  The perfectionist personality will have a hard time living with cork.  To the perfectionist, I always recommend ceramic, porcelain or cement tiles.  Nothing else will do.  For the rest of us, cork can work in any situation – so long as we can accept it is wood that acts like carpet and cleans up like laminate.

If you have question about cork flooring pros and cons, please contact Cancork!