Re: cork flooring
From: Michael Black (
Date: Thu, 24 Jan 2008 14:35:19 -0800 (PST)
We have cork flooring in our unit at Yulupa Cohousing and love it except for
the scratches, and other markings we have accumulated in 2-1/2 years. We do
not have dogs, cats or children - except for visiting ones. In addition, our
home is a 'no shoes zone." If you choose cork flooring make sure it is a
commercial grade.

However, I agree with Laura about the ceilings, but would also add the
importance of carpeting or sisal wallcovering (which we used at Yulupa).
We also used textured acoustic ceiling tiles with square edges - glued onto
drywall. We also used angled walls and painted acoustic tiles at the upper
portion of the walls. For flooring in our multi-purpose room, we used OSB
(oriented strand board) - the material used for wall and roof sheathing
(very sustainable). We stained it and varnished it. We used this also at Two
Acre Wood. Both rooms have floated dance floors over a concrete slab. At Two
Acre Wood they bought a carpet that they occasionally roll-up for dances.

When dining, the seated people absorb a lot of the sound that would
otherwise be reflected off of the floor.

Michael Black, Community Planner/Architect
Yulupa Cohousing

> Ceilings are much more important for sound dampening than floors.  Do them
> first, and then if you still need more treatment, then think about the
> floors.  Cork is a nice material and does hold up fairly well.  If you are
> applying it directly to concrete slab, better check with the manufacturer
> for cleaning concrete surface and adhesive - I've seen this fail  in
> commercial installations.
> Again on ceilings:  My understanding is that the best bang for your buck, is
> Armstrong's "nubby" panel (1" thick fiberglass panels, held in place with
> wood battens).  Some groups shy away from this because of fears of
> fiberglass fibers - but the panels are covered on room side, and installed
> where they are not disturbed.  Masks should be used by installers.
> Laura Fitch, AIA, LEED
> Kraus-Fitch Architects, Inc
> 110 Pulpit Hill Rd.
> Amherst, MA  01002
> 413-549-5799
> lfitch [at]
> -----Original Message-----
> From: Mac Thomson [mailto:mac [at]]
> Sent: Tuesday, January 22, 2008 8:48 AM
> To: cohousing-l [at]
> Subject: Re: [C-L]_ cork flooring
> We built our CH in 2000 and installed a cork floor in the dining room
> (did it ourselves).  Our dining room is very good acoustically (i.e.,
> not too much noise given all the noise that's generated).  Some folks
> attribute it to the cork flooring.  I personally believe that it has
> much more to do with all the Tectum (sound absorbing) panels we used
> for the ceiling and some wall space.
> The cork flooring has held up pretty darn well.  There are a couple
> places with water damage (just below the sink where kids get water and
> below the skylight that's been left open during a couple of rain
> storms), but even those places are pretty unnoticeable unless you're
> looking for them.  It's a very pretty floor and is not too hard to
> maintain -- some kind of refinishing / waxing about once a year, I
> think.  (I've never been in on that job.)  I think everyone's pretty
> happy with our cork floor.
> Cheers,
> Mac
> --
> Mac Thomson
> Heartwood Cohousing
> Southwest Colorado
> "Now and then it's good to pause in our pursuit of happiness and just
> be happy."
>         - Guillaume Apollinaire
> **********************************************************
> On Jan 22, 2008, Mary English wrote:
>> Trillium Hollow Cohousing  Portland is going to remodel our common
>> dining
>> room. Would value knowing your experience with cork flooring
>> Our next door neighbor put in cork flooring. It is very attractive
>> but a much more fragile surface than many, and if what you are
>> considering is anything like theirs, I would question its ability to
>> stand up to heavy common house use.
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