Kitchen Overhaul – Put a Cork In It

Recently in a previous post, I explained that when we make a large purchasing decision, there’s always considerable thought put in to be sure it’s what we want and what’s right for us/our home. That’s why I love it so much when complete strangers don’t agree with my choices – and when I say “don’t agree” I mean telling me that the product I want to buy is “not what you want” or “garbage”. Do they know who I am? Ha.

For our kitchen floors, we’re going with cork. Yep, I said it, CORK. Specifically, Millstead Plank Cork in Smoky Mineral. The salesperson working for an unmentionable store that we spend a chunk of our annual income at literally laughed at me when I asked for a sample of the color cork I wanted. He told me “You don’t want this product, cork is garbage.” and then proceeded to take a screwdriver out of his pocket, jam it into the sample, and scratch at it uncontrollably until, yes, eventually, a part of the finish scraped off. “See”, he said.

I, appropriately, looked back at him as if he were on some crazy drugs, said “thanks?” and walked away, confused and irritated.

He’s not the only person who has given us the side eye when learning about our choice. Well, I’m here to defend cork and our decision to go with it for our kitchen. Let’s take a look at some other common options, and why we didn’t go with them:

  • Wood: Expensive, dents, scratches, wears, not impervious to lunatic screwdriver sabotage.
  • Tile: Requires thick layer of cement board underneath, can’t walk on it while it’s setting, may crack if you drop something heavy on it,  also may not be impervious to lunatic screwdriver sabotage
  • Laminate: Doesn’t do well with water, again with screwdriver sabotage
  • Vinyl: Vinyl is pretty durable, actually, and they make some great options these days. But, it’s just not the look we were going for in this project and I’ll repeat once more; it may not survive screwdriver sabotage either.

There’s plenty of products out there, but now that I’ve covered the basics, I’ll get to my point. No product is perfect.

It’s all about what you want and what’s right for your space. Sure, I probably wouldn’t put laminate in a bathroom and I wouldn’t put vinyl in my bedroom, but most of these products are totally versatile. Here’s a few reasons we went with cork:

  • Super eco-friendly
  • It’s a floating floor, meaning we don’t have to put thick cement board down first and increase the  height difference between our refinished hardwood subfloor and the kitchen floors
  • Cork has come a long way in the past years and there are a ton of color options.. more than looking like just a cork board
  • The plank style works for our home
  • They’re pretty affordable
  • The click and lock installation is very DIY-friendly
  • It’s great under your feet as opposed to hard/cold tile
  • It’s durable, despite what people say. (Anti-microbial, water resistant, easy to clean). WOO!

The purpose of this soap box speech is this: do not let others tell you what you want. Good design is about being fresh. Great design is about trusting your gut and letting your inner style shine, despite naysayers.

Now, time for pictures! Here’s where we left off, to jog your memory:


We they started by marking a straight center line down the longest stretch of the kitchen to use for reference. Then they got started in the back breakfast nook, and the boys made the cuts they needed to get around obstacles. Other than that, it was a pretty error-free part of the renovation.







Don’t mind the mess :). It’s been a dusty month around here! These are purposely mostly detailed shots so that I don’t reveal too much before the big reveal. It’s coming – patience!

And, yes, those are the cabinets. I’m saving them for another post, so consider this your sneak peek!

The verdict on the floors? I’m loving them so far. They streamline the kitchen as a nice neutral anchor. Plus, barefoot, you can totally tell the difference when you’re standing on them! They are very comfortable and I must admit, my feet are happy. As an added bonus, their natural subtle texture will camouflage the wear and tear from the pup, an A+ in my book.

Up next for the kitchen, we’ll cover the cabinets, followed by the counters. Then it’s onto the pretty details!

Till then xo,


  10 Replies to “Kitchen Overhaul – Put a Cork In It”

  1. March 7, 2013 at 4:45 AM

    I’ve never seen cork floor tiles sold in length before. I think it looks great. Do you have to seal them?

    • March 7, 2013 at 1:51 PM

      This particular brand – no, you don’t have to seal them. Though I’ve seen other products that do infact suggest/require sealing, Millstead specifically indicates it’s not necessary. Hope this helps! 🙂

  2. March 9, 2013 at 1:39 PM

    I think they look awesome! Glad to hear you held your ground and didn’t let anyone discourage you from putting what YOU wanted in your own home. You made a good decision. 🙂

  3. Dayna
    March 12, 2013 at 2:43 AM

    I think the cork looks good! A very homey, warm feel it seems to have in there so far. I first heard about cork flooring on HGTV in some famous baseball player’s home! So, even the super ritzy have cork floors!!

  4. Janice
    February 2, 2014 at 11:57 PM

    Thank you – VERY informative. I’ve had cork tiles down for over 32 years and about to get a new kitchen. Our cork tiles have been amazing and if it wasn’t for the fact that we are remodelling our kitchen, I probably would have kept them and given them a reseal. I have another friend who has had her cork down for 35 years too – still in good condition. I’m definitely going with the cork again – wide planks look great, and I’m so pleased you can get them in different tones now. Good on you for sticking to your guns.

    • February 4, 2014 at 1:15 PM

      Thanks so much Janice!!

  5. laura
    June 18, 2014 at 8:19 PM

    what type of cleaner do you use on your floor? we just installed the same in our kitchen. thanks! Laura

    • June 20, 2014 at 12:28 PM

      Hi Laura!

      I usually use the swiffer and the cleaner that comes with it – nothing too crazy! Good luck with your floors – just be mindful to wipe up any water drops and spills as it may cause the floor to bubble!

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