Completing Our Kitchen’s Cork Floor Installation

Hootie hooo! The cork floor in both the kitchen and the laundry room is complete!

Well, except if you count the fact that we still have to add shoe molding, thresholds, and seal it all. Details, details. The point is, we finally get to see the whole picture. Huzzah!

The annoying part is that we still haven’t figured out how to photograph it as true to life as we can (it’s a rich mocha color, and actually looks more like brown leather in person, so the pattern is more like soft movement and less like any sort of obvious shapes or anything) – but the two videos from the last post really are the most accurate depictions of it, although we hope today’s photos are closer to real life than last week’s were. The one above is getting there. We’ll learn the trick someday I’m sure!

When it came to finishing things off in the corner of the kitchen and our tiny laundry room, it was pretty much exactly the same method that we outlined in our kitchen corking post, although we were getting worried that we were running low on cork, so we actually used some remnant planks all along the left wall (leftover cuts from the kitchen) to ensure that we wouldn’t run out.

Thankfully we finished up with about four planks to spare. Not kidding. It was crazy close. So we’re at least thankful to have those as extras, and plan to seal the heck out of these to protect them. Cork can even be sanded, restained, and resealed down the line if it gets worse for wear, so 40+ year old cork floors exist (which is nice to know since cork sounds like such a new-age material). Heck, we’ve even heard from folks who have 100+ year old cork floors that still look great, so here’s hoping!

It’s kind of amazing how much of a difference the new floors make in the laundry room. I mean, we really liked it before since we did so much work on it already (more on the rest of the room’s transformation here), but here’s that room before it got the ol’ cork treatment:

And after:

We enter the house through the door in the laundry room and it’s so nice to walk in and see the rich cork floors whispering “welcome home.” Oh and for those wondering where the laundry basket is, it’s just in the bedroom full of a pile of “flu clothes” that have been washed and have yet to be put away.

Since we already blogged all about where/why we purchased our floor here, and how we installed it (video included) here, this post is more of a big sigh of relief that the last big kitchen undertaking is winding down.

Other than polishing off those last few floor tasks on the list, all that’s left are smaller things like adding some decorative wood molding to the back of the peninsula, deciding if we’ll be adding a window treatment over the sink or painting our stools, potentially doing something fun to the side of the pantry, bringing in a chair and a rug in the fireplace side of the room, etc. And of course we’ll share a ton of before and after pics along with a budget and time breakdown when we finally get to stick a fork in this kitchen (which we’ve been working on in stages since October 5th!).

And remember when we moved in and it looked like this in here?

This shot is a little further back, and a slightly different angle, but it’s semi-comparable. Is there anything better than making a room that feels nothing like you, finally feel like home?

As for our plan with the variety of mismatched wood floors that surround our freshly corked kitchen and laundry room, we’re huge fans of flooring that looks seamless (we upgraded our first house to have the same dark mocha wood throughout the layout for a nice open flow). And sure enough, we plan to eventually refinish the rest of the wood floors in this house in the same rich mocha color as the cork for a much more easy and open look. Although it’ll still be cork in some rooms and hardwoods in others, the same rich tone should really tie things together and not make any of the spaces feel as choppy or broken up.

When it comes to a usability/function update, we have been really happy with it so far. The rich deep color adds so much to the formerly white-washed space, there are no scratches/dings where Burger runs around from his nails, no dents where we drop things, it’s very soft and easy on the back/knees, it should be even more durable once we seal it, it’s eco-friendly, and it’s quiet. We’ll definitely keep you posted as we live with it (and add shoe molding, thresholds, and a few coats of protective sealer). What did you guys do this weekend? We were pretty much laid up on the sofa fighting our little flu battle after finally squeezing in those last few cork boards, but we’re getting a lot closer to feeling like ourselves again! And the finished cork floors definitely have our spirits up. Onward!


  1. says

    The floors look AMAZING! Ah!! I love them finished (and I agree that the laundry room looks totally different with them now)! It’s hard to imagine that the kitchen used to look the way it did! Will sealing these floors be the same as wood?

    PS – Toss us a view of the half of the kitchen with the fireplace!

    • says

      Hmm, has anyone done both who’d care to weigh in? We have laid tile squares in the bathroom but it was much smaller, although cutting tiles in intricate shapes was a lot harder than cutting the cork (although that took a bit of time too, I think tile took us longer).


    • Rebecca says

      We did regular floating wood floors (looks like exact same process as the cork) and it was ALOT quicker and easier than laying tile. The tile took alot with laying the hardie backer (not sure if you need this everywhere but we did in our “wet” areas), mixing and placing the thinset, laying the tiles with the right spacing and level, letting it dry (and NOT stepping on it during the drying), mixing and putting down the groute then letting it set, cleaning off the tiles before finally sealing the grout. We did about the same amount of area of both and it took us twie as long. Then you have to throw in the wait time and its definitely a lengthier process for tile.

    • partyofsix says

      Laying tile is far more labor intensive and much harder on the knees! As a DIYer (not a professional), putting in tile isn’t too bad if it’s around 100 sq ft or less, but when it spans a large room, or two, it’s pretty overwhelming to get it right (ie level and spaced out correctly). I’ll take putting cork (or any other click-in) flooring on a level floor any day!

    • Tessa says

      Having never laid cork myself, I would think it would take quite a bit less time than tile. Tile requires you to wait overnight for the mortar to set, and then grout & then wait overnight for that to set before sealing… (And possibly seal the tile first if it’s a porous tile before grouting.) And as Sherry mentions, more work/messier cuts! I imagine cork installation timing being more similar to installation a pre-finished hardwood floor?

    • Eva says

      I have installed all natural glued-on cork and even that is a lot less work than laying ceramic tiles.

  2. Holly says

    I love it & am so happy for you guys! It’s gotta be great to see it all come together & the floor looks amazeballs!!! I am so tempted to do cork now in our kitchen. In the meantime I’ll admire yours from afar. ha ;)

  3. Callie says

    Ugh. Flu bug hit our house too this weekend. No fun and probably it was even worse having to not only just be the patient but also take care of a sick toddler. Hope you guys are feeling 100% better.

    The floors (and the whole kitchen) look awesome!

  4. Monika says

    Guys, this is really awesome. I must admit that I’m dying to know the total budget break down (to date), even though it sounds like you guys will do that only after everything is completely done. I will be looking forward to it either way :) Love all you did, it’s just incredible!

    • says

      I’m dying to know it too! Haha. Since we go in phases we just get things as we go – so I have a stack of receipts to add up. Our only rules are: 1) we need to have the money in the bank or we wait on our purchase and save up, 2) we love a discount/sale so we usually shop around, 3) we DIY as much as possible to save loot (and because that’s our idea of a good time), and 4) we sell old things we don’t need (like our old microwave and granite) on craigslist to help with the budget!


    • says

      Ooh. la. LA that is one mighty fine floor.

      I’ve been hoping for a final cost break down too. But I’ve been waiting to ask about it till it was all over. Which it is! Let the nagging commence! ;)

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