Can Natural Cork Flooring Handle Moisture (can I put cork in a bathroom)?

This is a very common question for many of our clients when it comes to deciding on whether natural cork flooring is best for their home flooring project.

The basic answer is YES.  However, there are two types of cork flooring and one is better than the other in a moisture situation, so let’s go into more detail.Cork and Moisture issues, Can cork be installed in a bathroom?

Keep in mind that cork keeps the wine in the wine bottle, so obviously pure cork has no moisture issues other that valuable wine would be seeping out of the bottle.

When we examine the 2 types of cork flooring:  Floating Cork Flooring and Glue down Cork flooring, we find that the main difference is that floating cork flooring utilizes a middle layer of high density fiberboard as a locking mechanism.  This is what makes floating cork floors so easy to install, much like a laminate would install.  It is this high density fiberboard that has issues with moisture, not the cork material itself.

Keep in mind that floating cork flooring is an excellent choice in most areas of a home, even kitchens.  Just not in an area of constant moisture that a shower provides in a bathroom.  Floating cork flooring is an extremely DIY friendly type of flooring and can be an excellent choice for most areas.

Natural Glue down Cork Flooring in a bathroom, Floating Cork vs. Glue down CorkGlue down cork flooring installed with the proper sub-floor is a perfect solution for high moisture situations, such as bathrooms and mudrooms.  Glue down cork flooring is made up of pure cork, so none of the fiberboard that has the moisture issues.  Utilizing A/C grade plywood as a sub-floor provides a proper moisture resistant structure and will not fail, should slight moisture get past the cork flooring.  We do not recommend using particle board as this will readily fail should moisture reach it.  Once the sub-floor is installed it should be prepped with a leveling compound so it is perfectly level.  If this is not done all imperfections in the sub-floor will become evident when the cork is adhered.  Utilizing a non-toxic contact adhesive is next to glue the tiles to the sub-floor.  Finally, a few coats of non-toxic urethane and you have a beautiful, water impervious cork floor for your bathroom.  You will now get to enjoy all of the benefits that cork offers and a feeling under foot that can’t be replicated in any other material.  I am sure you will love glue down cork flooring in your new bathroom floor as much as I do.