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EmmaP Donating Member (198 posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Oct-23-05 09:23 AM
Original message
Cork or Bamboo Flooring
I'm finally getting around to replacing the circa 1960 linoleum in my kitchen and I'm thinking about cork or bamboo flooring (leaning more towards cork). The rest of my house (with the exception of the bathroom and the basement) has hardwood floors and I like the idea of continuing that "look."

Anyone have any experience with either cork or bamboo?
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Angry Girl Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Oct-23-05 02:52 PM
Response to Original message
1. Bamboo lasts a long time - it gives and stands up to wear & tear
I remember seeing a TV show (one of those British do-your-own-garden-in 24-hours things) with a garden pathway built from bamboo slats embedded in concrete. Apparently bamboo is very durable and will last for years and years.

Cork, on the other hand, seems very friable.

But none of this is personal experience, so.....
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Longhorn Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Oct-23-05 05:29 PM
Response to Original message
2. From my husband, who is a remodeling contractor who specializes
in kitchens:

Bamboo comes prefinished and is pretty easy for a do-it-yourselfer. Generally, it comes in three-inch or six-inch planks, with either a vertical or horizontal orientation. You will need to allow for 3/4 inch in added height. Bamboo is a renewable resource which grows much faster than trees.

He has less experience with cork but says it is more difficult to install -- best installed by a professional -- and must be installed over a stable, uniform, surface. The subflooring has to be almost perfect. He does not believe you can get it prefinished. He would not use it in a kitchen because he does not believe it will hold up to the traffic and high use conditions.

Bamboo costs about the same as hardwood flooring and cork is more expensive.

I know you said you like the look of hardwood but he said he personally would probably to put down new linoleum -- he likes it! :) He's not referring to sheet vinyl -- he suggests checking out the Marmoleum brand if you're interested. Good luck!
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EmmaP Donating Member (198 posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Oct-23-05 07:01 PM
Response to Reply #2
3. Thanks!
I'll check out the Marmoleum. No matter what I choose, I'm going to have it professionally installed. BF and I know our limits!
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wildeyed Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Oct-24-05 07:07 AM
Response to Reply #2
4. When I redo my kitchen, I plan to use Marmoleum.
The 'Click' line looks very do-it-yourself friendly. I have dogs and little kids, so I want something durable and unscratchable. We currently have tile, but it is cold and everything breaks when I drop it. I would like something a little more cozy. Marmoleum looks great!

http://www.forbo-flooring.com/framework/DesktopDefault....
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Stinky The Clown Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Oct-24-05 08:21 PM
Response to Reply #4
6. Did you know it is also a green product?
It is made of mostly vegetable based materials
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Stinky The Clown Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Oct-24-05 05:12 PM
Response to Original message
5. Both are good choices. Neither is a mistake
But they're different. Bamboo looks a lot like hardwood, but with the typical bamboo 'node' pattern evident. It is available as strip flooring (like standard hardwood) and as click/lock DIY stuff. It is hard ... I **think** even harder than oak. It is usually prefinished and can be refinished at least once (even in click lock). Also, it is a green floor, being from a renewable material.

Cork flooring has more pattern variety and more options for installation. It gets the pattern variations from the way it is manufactured. You can get that 'pebbly' look like you see on a cork board (but with far, far tighter 'pebbles'). But you can also get it where it looks more like hardwood and also where it looks like ... well .... cork, as in wine bottle corks. It is also available both as finished and unfinished, as tiles, as sheets, as strips, and as a click/lock DIY product (both finished and unfinished). It is very durable and very long lasting. As a point of information, Frank Lloyd Wright made a lot of use of cork floors, particularly in his public buildings and in the publics spaces in his residential buildings. Much of that original flooring is still there and still serviceable. It is also very easy on the feet.

Cork does, however, have more downside than bamboo. It needs to be refinished more often. But that's an easy job because it doesn't need to be sanded or stripped. Just recoat it with polyurethane or a similar floor finish (like acrylic). Another downside is susceptibility to water damage in some extreme cases. **If** the finish gets damaged, and **if** the cork is subjected to flooding that is not removed and dried pretty quickly, it can stain or, in extreme, extreme cases, swell. (Note, water damage is not common in cork floors, just possible.) It also tends to darken a bit with exposure to light. Most people find this a benefit, but you might not.

Lastly, cork, like bamboo, is a certified green material. The cork oaks are harvested for the bark (the cork) every few years and the harvesting does not hurt the tree at all.

Both cork and bamboo floors have a number of informational websites. Do a google search and see what pops up.

I have direct experience with both materials in commercial, high traffic, spill prone applications (restaurants and cafeterias) and would recommend either ... with the aesthetic being the determining factor
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EmmaP Donating Member (198 posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Oct-24-05 09:18 PM
Response to Reply #5
7. Great information
I knew both were green choices. I did not, however, know the tidbit about Wright. And I love his homes!

One of the things I like about the cork option is that it's supposed to be easier on the feet/legs when standing on it for extended periods of time...and since I like to cook, it's a consideration.

Thanks for sharing your knowledge.
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NMDemDist2 Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Nov-29-05 07:05 PM
Response to Reply #7
9. if I had the choice, I'd go with cork too just for the "cush" for my legs
and feet, and since H2S says you can't go wrong either way sounds like if you checkbook can handle it, cork is your best bet

we want pics!!! :bounce:
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Zookeeper Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Nov-29-05 03:42 PM
Response to Original message
8. I'm in the middle of installing an engineered wood floor...
in my family room. If anyone ever needs any advice about that, I now have *many* suggestions (arrrgh!)

But, I did look at bamboo (it was too thick to match the ceramic tile adjacent) and liked it a lot. One thing I learned about the brown version, is that it isn't actually stained. They "carbonize" the natural sugars in the bamboo (I think using heat) to create the darker color. Also, bamboo supposedly doesn't emit as many toxins as other wood types.

Regarding cork, I don't really like the patterns, but I did see a cork floor in a restaurant that had been stained (or painted) a soft, mossy green color and it looked great. It also had a nice feel underfoot.
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