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. Amelia says

    I love them! Truthfully I did not think I would like the cork floors, but they look beautiful in there! You guys have such a good eye for the final pict

  2. Rachel says

    Okay so I’m confused. You have to leave room for it to expand, but you had to cut some of the doorframes out for it to fit underneath? How can it have expanding room, yet be wedged underneath, at the same time? Sorry if I am just totally dense about this. Looks great, of course!

    • says

      They’re not wedged underneath, they float underneath if that makes sense. The movement of the floor is very gradual across the horizontal plane (any floating floor does this) so the trim is cut up to accommodate that movement – which is very very slight. Shoe molding is put right on top of the installed floor as well, but it’s hammered into the wall, so it floats over the floor just like the doorframes and the floor can scooch under it if it needs to. Hope it helps!


  3. angel p says

    Looks awesome! We demo’d our master closet this week in preparation for putting in an organizing system that we picked up for less than 1/2 price because it was the floor model. woohoo!! Your post has us thinking we will also add cork in the closet and rip up the carpet. It will have to be replaced anyway since some of the shelves we ripped out had the carpet running around them and not under them. We’ve only tried Lowes so far and they only had 1 really horrible piece of cork out on display so we are going to keep looking around. I’m so excited to get this all going. Right now we either have to learn to fix sheetrock or find someone in the next day or so to fix it for us.

  4. says

    The floors look awesome!!! It is such an amazing transformation. I still can’t get over how well the mocha color anchors the room.

    For a fun suggestion on the side of your pantry: I made this really fun wall calendar for our kitchen
    It’s fun because it adds color, but also totally practical (and it’s fun to do what you want with month labels and scrapbook paper :) I’ve found it to be a pretty way to stay organized :)

    • says

      Yeah, it would be crazy expensive and we love our original hardwoods, so we don’t think covering them up is the way to go. We just love refinishing them (we did that in the old house and they looked as good as new).


    • says

      I hadn’t wondered if you were thinking of more cork for the entire house (ie. the actual hardwoods), but I had wondered if you guys ever considered replacing or covering the parquet in the living room and “little hall” if you were to come across any more “clearance cork.”

    • says

      Sadly, this cork is sold out and that one room of parquet would be mucho expensive to replace (it’s a giant gymnasium sized room – 25′ feet long by 18′ wide I think) so since parquet is still made of solid wood, we think a nice rich stain will help it work right in with the cork and the other hardwoods once they’re all the same tone.


  5. Sandi says

    Beautiful! We are looking for cork for what I’m calling “phase four” of our kitchen reno. Only phase one is complete, so it’ll be a while.

    Glad you’re on the mend. I’m home with a sick toddler today.

  6. Suzanne says

    Looks great! I can’t wait to see all of the final touches put together!! Especially the area by the fire place…I just know y’all have something special planned! Well done!

  7. says

    It looks absolutely beautiful! Great job you guys! My hat is off to you for finishing a big project while having the flu. You’re troopers!

  8. says

    Your floor looks wunderfull!!!! We have been in so many flooring stores since December that I am pretty sure I know what your cork looks like in person. It really feels and looks like it grounds the kitchen well. Like it’s solid. I like that. Ummm…guess what? Yep. Mmhhmm. Why yes we did close on our house on Friday, thank you for asking and how big is my cheesy grin right now?? Yay wide! Haha! And now we are in the process of ripping up what looks like 10 year old hunter green shag rug and putting down our new brazilian cherry wood laminate floors. My mantra was “Make John and Sherry proud…” This house renovation stuff is exhausting and fulfilling all in one breath.

    My best, Lynn

  9. Christine says

    I once stayed in a very old place in Prague that had 150+ year old cork floors, and they were in fantastic shape. I think even the “pattern” that’s picked up in the photos looks great.
    (…and in other matters, I can’t wait for next week’s Walking Dead!!!! That last shot flipped me out!!)
    So sorry you guys are down with the flu… get better soon!

    • says

      Ahhh! So excited for the next Walking Dead too! We’re finally caught up and on the edge of our seats! And wow- 150+ year old cork floors = amazing!


  10. Ilana says

    I really really really love it. It looks incredible, and it’s great it’s so eco-friendly. I’m redoing my kitchen and going to go for stainless steel countertops and cork flooring, because of the eco-friendly/non-toxic qualities. Your kitchen is truly incredible.

  11. Penni McNamara says

    Wow! You guys have vision. After seeing that before photo again….I can’t believe you bought the house! Clearly you could see the potential! Looks great!

  12. Christine says

    …also, to me, the darker color of the cork makes the kitchen look bigger than it did with the lighter vinyl floor. Does anyone else see that?

    • says

      Oh yes, it’s true! I think it’s because all the heavy wood cabinets made the room feel so closed in. As crazy as the pics are, it’s crazier for those who have been here in person. They all say the cabinets used to feel like they were closing in on you and now the room breathes so much more. Yay!


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