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CostHelper > Home and Garden  > Flooring, Painting & Remodeling > Cork Flooring

Cork Flooring Cost


How Much Does Cork Flooring Cost?

 
low costLow: DIY Kitchen $500-$2,500average costMedium: Installed $1,250-$3,000high costHigh: Special Styles, Colors $3,000-$5,000
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Cork comes from the bark of the cork oak tree, which grows in the Mediterranean region. In addition to being considered a renewable resource, cork flooring feels soft, insulates, and is relatively durable compared to other wood flooring.

Typical costs:

  • Having a cork floor professionally installed starts around $5-$12 a square foot for both materials and labor, or $1,250-$3,000 for a 250-square-foot kitchen. However, it can run $12-$20 or more a square foot for specialty shapes, styles or colors, for a total cost of $3,000-$5,000 for the kitchen. Glue-down cork flooring tiles are usually less expensive than "floating" click-together panels/planks, but require a better subfloor surface and more preparation, and take more time to install. Prices are typically based on the density of the cork (denser is better), the type of binder or finishes used, the number of coats of finish varnish, and the color.
  • Cork flooring installation can be done with moderate do-it-yourself skills, especially in small spaces. Costs for materials for do-it-yourself installation can run $2-$10 or more a square foot, or $500-$2,500 for a 250-square-foot kitchen. A Texas homeowner[1] reports installing cork flooring in his dining room for just under $5 a square foot.
What should be included:
  • Cork is considered a renewable resource because the trees live several hundred years, and the bark of fully-grown trees can be hand-harvested every 9-15 years. Most cork flooring is composed of several layers -- a cork underlayment, a stabilizing core, a cork core for additional insulation, a top layer and a wear surface of acrylic varnish. Varnished cork flooring is expected to stand up to normal wear and tear for 5-10 years before needing refinishing; additional coats will make the flooring last longer. MyHomeUS.com provides an illustration[2] of standard cork floor construction.
  • Cork flooring comes in two types -- glue-down tiles (in square or rectangles, from 6-36 inches) and "floating" click-together tongue-and-groove planks (similar to laminate or engineered flooring). Glue-down tiles typically cost less than planks but require careful sub-floor preparation and take longer to install. Click-together planks provide better sound insulation than tiles, can usually be installed more quickly, and can be installed over existing flooring or a concrete slab.
  • During installation, a moisture barrier may be needed under the planks in moist areas such as a basement, and an extra cork layer will increase the sound-insulation. ThisOldHouse.com gives how-to instructions[3] for laying floating cork flooring planks, and BobVila.com displays a video showing the installation process.
Additional costs:
  • Some cork flooring has a wax finish and will need re-waxing about every six months. Cork floors with a polyurethane finish can be buffed periodically to remove scuff marks and may need refinishing (gentle sanding and a new coat of poly) after 5-10 years. Refinishing can be a do-it-yourself project, or hiring a hardwood floor refinisher can run $1.50-$4 a square foot, or about $375-$1,000 for a $250-square-foot kitchen.
Shopping for cork flooring:
  • Check out the wide range of cork flooring styles available, to decide which you like best. ThisOldHouse.com displays a photo gallery[4] of cork flooring examples, and manufacturers display their products on their websites. Major manufacturers include American Cork Products Company[5] , Expanko, WeCork and Wicanders[6] .
  • Cork flooring tiles and planks are sold online, in most home improvement centers and in flooring stores. Most stores also provide installation service or referrals to local installation contractors. The World Floor Covering Association lists a glossary[7] of standard terms and a directory[8] of retail floor stores by zip code.
  • Ask the installation contractor about specific training and experience installing cork flooring, and request (and contact) references from satisfied customers. Some companies will have photos of previous installation projects. Confirm that they're properly insured, bonded and licensed[9] (state licensing requirements vary), and check for complaints filed with the Better Business Bureau[10] .
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External Resources:
  1.  www.city-data.com/forum/house/481398-brands-cork-flooring.html
  2.  www.myhomeus.com/green-flooring.php
  3.  www.thisoldhouse.com/toh/how-to/intro/0,,1550493,00.html
  4.  www.thisoldhouse.com/toh/photos/0,,1553213,00.html
  5.  www.amcork.com/collections/cork-flooring
  6.  worldwide.wicanders.com/main.php
  7.  www.wfca.org/Pages/Vinyl-Flooring-Terms.aspx
  8.  www.wfca.org/FlooringStoreLocator.aspx
  9.  www.contractors-license.org/
  10.  www.bbb.org/us/consumers/check-out-a-business-or-charity/
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