Wednesday, June 2, 2010

Why cork for Taj's floor.

Since I mentioned the cork floor now installed Taj, there have been a lot of questions. I will do my best to answer them here. As you can see from the picture, there is an interesting texture and a lot of character to the cork flooring. Heidi and I both think it is really beautiful, but the reasons go much deeper than just looks.

Cork is considered to be a renewable and sustainable natural resource for others who feel like doing their part to be environmentally conscious. It is available in many different patterns and colors to suit about anyone. The color and style we chose is called "Chunk Mocha". We purchased it from Fairchild Flooring in Port Angeles. (Some of the nicest people ever!)

In a vanhome, cork has some properties that make it especially appealing! Because of it's cellular structure, it has a very shock absorbing quality and feels soft and comfortable to the feet. That same structure is responsible for giving it great sound dampening and insulating qualities. Cork has been used in public buildings since the late 1800's. It is very durable and survives well in heavy use.

The more interesting aspects of using cork in a van is related to it's natural anti-allergenic properties that make it a better choice than almost any other material to me. Due to a waxy substance in cork called Suberin, it repells insects, mites and mold and it is also very well protected from rotting when left wet for long periods of time.

Installing it was pretty easily done. The manufacturer said no glue was necessary as the panels snap together. I used glue anyway. I asked about using an underlayment but was told it was not necessary due to the insulating properties of the cork. We installed it directly on the original 1/2" plywood subfloor in Taj. If anyone has more questions, please don't hesitate to ask.

21 comments:

  1. Thanks for this! Was going to use laminate but my choice has just changed. The key words that changed my mind were "very shock absorbing", "natural anti-allergenic properties " AND "protected from rotting when left wet for long periods of time". What else could an island woman want?

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  2. Excellent! You are very welcome, I am glad it helped your decision! You will really like the cork I promise! :)

    -Mike

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  3. Nice mike....good choice and it looks warm and rich. I did not know the non-allergenic property but it is good to know....

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  4. Very interesting, Mike. The wood laminate floor I installed in The Falcon about 10 months ago is already starting to warp near the cracks, so I'll likely be replacing it in the foreseeable future. Sorry I didn't know about cork at the time, but I'll definitely consider it now. Thanks for the tip!

    Glenn
    tosimplify.blogspot.com

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  5. Thanks Brian!

    Glenn, Sorry to hear the laminate is having issues! Let me know when you do get ready to fix it and I can tell you how the cork is holding up on the road up to that point. I believe it will be great of course, but experience will be more useful to you I think.

    -Mike

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  6. Looks nice. Bet if feels "warmer" than other hard surfaces.

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  7. I don't see a seam. Does it come in a roll or in planks?

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  8. Thanks Marikay :) Yeah it does feel "warmer" to us. I like the feel compared to regular hardwood flooring, especially the more soft texture.

    Hey Rob, look at the second picture of my last blog post and you will see the seams. It comes in sheets that are rectangle about 17"x 22" x 7/16" thick (going from memory). The picture above just shows part of 1 panel.

    -Mike

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  9. Great blog!! I love seeing what you've done with the place. A lot of hard work has gone into it...it's obvious!

    I really enjoyed reading the story of how you met. The picture of the vans making out was great! How did you decide who's van to use after you got married?

    Nellie
    http://midlifecruiser.blogspot.com/

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  10. Thanks for the great comments Nellie!

    Heidi's van, "Charlie" is nice and we still have it as a project van stored at my Dad's place. It will get some cool work done next year, Heidi has some fun plans in mind for him. The decision to stay in Taj was pretty easy though. It is a big difference when you can actually stand in a van. There were other reasons of course, but that one alone would have been enough. Low top vans make great homes too, but not as good for the "duration".

    -Mike

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  11. Hey Mike, what, if anything, are you going to do for molding around the edges?

    Glenn
    http://tosimplify.blogspot.com

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  12. I've been doing a bit of research before replacing our floor and have found a few posts on cork that are steering me away from it. I've heard that it scratches very easily, can absorb spills and stains fairly easily. Please post up in a few months and let us know if you're still loving it, I might have to reevaluate. ;) Looks good, hope it works out for you.

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  13. Hey Glenn, I am working on oak trim/moulding for it right now. That is why the other pic was a "progress" pic. The moulding and trim is definitely the more difficult work. It is coming along though :)

    -Mike

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  14. Hi Jonathan, I do think it is going to be fine for us. I will do a post in a few months and let everyone know how it is holding up though! From what I have found working with it now so far, I am not worried at all about it.

    -Mike

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  15. Well Mike and Heidi, I just came here and read your blog from day one. How COOL!!! I just love that the two of you found each other, and are continuing your van-dwelling dream together.

    Although we like have a bit bigger rig, Steve and I are right up there with you on mods and making things nice and fit and function.

    Thanks for checking out my blog, and I will be following yours too!

    ~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~
    Karen and Steve
    (Our Blog) RVing: Small House... BIG Backyard
    http://kareninthewoods-kareninthewoods.blogspot.com/

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  16. Hi Karen, Thanks for the compliments and for reading the entire blog :) I can't wait to return to yours and do the same! Just a couple more days of this crazy modding stuff left and then I will have the time to spend and be able to enjoy all of it! I really enjoyed what I read of it so far!

    Hope you and Steve are doing well!
    -Mike

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  17. Nice! We love the cork floor we installed two years ago. There are pictures in the slide show on our site.

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  18. OMGosh, I love your application! I didn't see the cork floors when I was discovering your awesome blog. I've bookmarked your Cage Free Caravan Pictures! Thanks!

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  19. Hi - After 3 years how has the cork stood up? We're in the process of restoring a 97D190V. The interior is in excellent shape but the carpet is tired so we're looking at alternatives.

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  20. Hi How has the floor stood up after 3 years? My wife & I are in the process of restoring a 97D190V that we purchased this spring. The interior is in great shape but the carpeting is tired so we're looking into alternatives.

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    1. Hi Chris, it still looks like new actually :) Even in the drivers floor area, it has stood up perfectly and I haven't exactly been kind to it. It is amazingly durable and I wouldn't hesitate to put it in any high traffic area in any application.

      -Mike

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