Does anyone have a store to recommend in the Bay Area which specializes in Cork Tile where we could see a wide range of samples?
We have cork floors now which we hate, but we understand that there are much nicer cork tiles available today - preferably in lighter colors and with a high quality, "upgraded" finish. So before we decide definitively on ceramic, we would like to see the choices available in cork. ..
have you ever thought of refinishing them?
Don't think that can be possible for the kind of cork we have. The thin tile consists of a layer of cork with a clear plastic layer over it. Don't know exactly what it is made of, but it is a thin, clear, plastic adhesive sheet stuck over the cork - it is not permeable.
If you perform some searches on the web, you'll find some cork manufacturers and their dealers... there's some really cool stuff out there. I keep thinking about cork, too!
I just finished putting 12 x 12 cork tiles in the entry, halls, living room, family room and kitchen in my Sacramento Eichler. I went with Globus Cork in New York (on the web) because they were the only place I could find who did the beveled edges like the original, and they have been great to deal with. No local flooring dealers knew anything! I did it myself, and it's pretty easy. The prep is the key, and the flatter and smoother the substrate the better the results. It's not cheap, about $6.00 a square foot, but it looks great. I was also able to justify the expense because Igot a killer deal on 12 x 12 vinyl tiles for the bedroom.
FYI- on the quotes I have seen pro installation doubles the price
Can anyone tell me how cork looks if exposed to moisture/water? I know that linoleum and vinyl flooring can discolor but what about cork? Would cork discolor or pop off the slab? I'm thinking of moisture coming off the slab as well as unexpected spills that might sit on the floor before detected (kitchen and laundry).
I'm also concerned if there is a future domestic water leak in the slab causing excess moisture in the slab. These things have happened and as much as I'd like to prevent them, I should plan for it so that our the future floor can withstand such conditions. I know that tile is the best for these situations but I prefer to avoid tile and hope that cork does the job.
Please let me know your experiences. So far the only negative I've heard about cork is the fading due to sun exposure.
I can tell you that the original cork reacts very poorly to water. It wil even rot to nothing given the right circumstances. In eavh room in our house there is some that has rotted due to moisture exposure, and is slated to be replaced.
I am not sure how the modern product has been improved.
But I do know they offer engineered versions of cork that have vinyl backing, and even some with a vinyl top.
And always there is the wood backed version, but that wil cause radiant heat problems.
The cork I am using (Glubus Cork) is sealed with a water-based polycrylic. After you install it you put another coat on it to seal the gaps. It supposedly needs to be recoated every two years. They are working on a new finish that will lengthen that time, that should be available in a few months (they are going to e-mail all of their customers when it is available).
The adhesive is also water-based contact adhesive that seems to be latex-rubber based. Latex IS rubber which is waterproof, but I'm sure that if it were exposed to water for a prolonged period of time, it wouldn't be good for it.
Since my radiant heat system is dead anyway, I'm thinking the only thing I have to watch is spills in the kitchen, or if the dishwasher hose blows, but other than sheet vinyl flooring, that would be a problem for just about anything.
I've seen 40 year-old cork flooring in Eichlers that still looks pretty good (and no, the beveled gaps were not filled with gunk from over the years!) and the stuff they used back then was supposedly way inferior to what is sold today. Also it was only 1/8" think and the new stuff is usually 3/16" to 1/4".