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cork flooring types

 

 

Cork flooring is a great choice for any home, but the choices don't stop there! From the planks vs. tiles decision to questions about what exactly to call the style of cork floor you're looking for, it helps to know what you're dealing with. Before you go shopping, read up on this section so you'll have the vocabulary necessary to say what you're looking for.

Featured Cork Products

Shape

Wondering how to install cork flooring planks vs. tiles? Look here.

  • Plank: Cork floor planks come in varying lengths. These planks click and lock together at the edges, creating a floating floor that sits above your subfloor or pre–existing flooring.
  • Tile: Cork floor tiles can be glued down onto concrete floors or directly onto certain types of wood floor substrates. They can also be used as wall tiles, and carved or painted with designs for a unique look.

Cork Shapes: Plank and Tile

Composition

Solid, engineered (floating), or mosaic tile cork flooring? See the differences and choose the one that's right for you.

  • Solid (glued) cork flooring: Planks of cork flooring are created out of a ground–up cork mixture. Solid cork floors are usually glued to concrete or plywood subfloors.
  • Engineered (floating) cork flooring: A top layer of compressed cork is bonded to medium–density fiberboard atop a bonded layer of uncompressed cork, forming a floating floor. This fiberboard is usually medium density fiberboard (MDF) but can also be high density fiberbard (HDF). Engineered cork flooring is best for installing over damaged floors that you don't wish to have removed.
  • Mosaic cork tiles: Made of recycled wine corks, mosaic cork tiles consist of circular discs of cork glued to a special paper backing. They can be installed using special mortar and grout. The waterproofing properties of the grout mean that these tiles are suitable for use in wet areas like showers, saunas, and indoor pool spaces.

Textures

Cork flooring comes in a variety of different textures, each with its own unique appearance. Since there are few standardized names for these types, work with a sales associate when you buy to figure out exactly what look you want.

A note on common appearances of cork flooring: Different manufacturers will have different names for the types of cork flooring they sell. These are the standard textures that you'll run into on your search. Be sure to take a look at your chosen manufacturer's entire selection before you decide.

  • Small granules: Finely ground cork creates this classic cork flooring look.
  • Medium granules: Medium–sized chunks of solid cork are mixed into ground cork to create a varied appearance in your cork floors.
  • Large granules: Large pieces of cork are integrated into ground cork for a highly textured appearance.
  • Peeled cork: Strips of cork are laid together to create the floor's surface for a look that displays the cork tree's natural beauty.
  • Burled cork flooring: This type of cork flooring combines cork chunks of various sizes with ground cork that has a distinct wavy look.

Cork Textures: Small Granules, Medium Granules, Large
Granules, Peeled Cork and Burled Cork

Color

Cork flooring offers a unique array of color choices to suit your needs.

  • Natural Cork: The naturally light shade of cork is great for rooms where you want to achieve a feeling of warmth or an overall brightness.
  • Stained Cork: Like hardwood floors, cork floors may be stained to achieve the color you want. Stains can range from amber to deep espresso shades, with many types of cork flooring available pre–stained to your liking.
  • Painted Cork: Want an even more unique look for your cork floors? Cork flooring can be painted a variety of colors. Cork tiles in particular are available in unique and artistic colors and patterns.