How Much Does Cork Flooring & Installation Cost?
$2.50 – $11.00 Per Square Foot Installed
Average Cost of Cork Flooring
Most homeowners pay $5.35 – $8.50 per square foot to have good-quality cork flooring installed. DIY installation cost for cork flooring and supplies ranges from $1.40 – $7.50 due to significant differences in cork flooring quality, construction and cost.
Cork flooring installation cost when handled by a pro is $5.35 – $8.50 per square foot. The project includes the flooring, vapor barrier if installed over concrete and installation supplies. Cost does not include new plywood underlayment, which is only needed if the existing subfloor is damaged.
Overview of Having Cork Flooring Installed
Cork flooring has gained renewed popularity in recent years as a green flooring. It is made from safely harvested cork tree bark which regrows in 8-10 years. The trees are grown on sustainably managed plantations.
Cork flooring is comprised of ground, chipped or sectioned cork held together with a resin binder. There are two types: Solid cork floors and engineered flooring with a layer of MDF sandwiched between cork layers. The MDF gives planks rigidity for interlocking, floating installation.
Our cork flooring cost estimate includes retail cost of materials and supplies, installation labor charges and links to costs from other reliable estimating sites. Reader-submitted costs provide real project prices. Consider bookmarking Costimates and returning to share your flooring price regardless of which flooring material you choose.
This warm, comfortable material is popular as bathroom flooring and kitchen flooring because it naturally resists moisture. Much of it can be installed below grade too. It’s not quite as soft underfoot as carpeting, but it is easier to clean and doesn’t trap allergens, so it’s a better choice for anyone with allergies.
The material is naturally resistant to fire and mold, and it makes a good sound barrier when thicker flooring is used. Depending on the binders used, most cork is low-VOC flooring.
Cork floors can be installed using planks, which are usually interlocking and floating, or glue-down tiles.
Product and Installation Supplies Cost Details
Cork Flooring and Underlayment Cost Factors
Our range of $2.50 to $11.00 per square foot is quite wide, starting on the low end with the most affordable material installed DIY. Premium materials with high installation costs top the spectrum.
The Balance is a site geared toward contractors. Its estimates are lower, $2.10 – $8.25, mainly due to lower estimated labor costs of $1/foot. Home Advisor’s range of $5.00 – $14.00 is significantly more because it lists flooring costs of up to $12. We haven’t found any cork flooring priced above $8 per square foot.
These factors will help you narrow your what you expect your cork floor price to be when you purchase materials or get estimates from flooring contractors.
- DIY or Pro Installation – Cork is definitely a DIY option. There are details below about DIY and installation charges to help you decide which route you want to go.
- Manufacturing Process – Ground cork floors tend to be the most affordable because scrap cork can be used. Chipped cork is mid-priced. The most expensive cork flooring is made from larger sections of cork and provide a more authentic view of cork’s graining.
- Plank or Tile – Planks run about $1 per square foot more than tiles. Most cork plank flooring is engineered – two layers of core with a rigid MDF core.
- Material Thickness – The thicker it is, the more it costs, all else being the same. Common plank thicknesses are 10-12mm. Tiles range from 4mm to 10mm thick. Specific plank and tile floor costs follow. Tiles are either solid or engineered cork. Most planks are engineered.
- Moisture Resistance – Most flooring product pages or labels list where it can be installed – Above grade, On grade and Below Grade. Only water-resistant cork can be installed below grade such as a basement or lower level of a tri-level. This type also makes better kitchen flooring and bathroom flooring for obvious reasons. If you’ve got kids and pets, it’s a better choice too because it resists stains better.
- Warranty – The length of the warranty often indicates quality. But not always. We recently came across APC cork floor with a Lifetime warranty for $4.09/sq.ft. and Wicanders cork flooring for $6.29, 50% higher cost, but just a 15-year warranty.
- Underlayment Type – On concrete, you’ll need vapor barrier at least 6 mils thick. Material up to 12 mils is available. You can use foam, felt or cork underlayment over the barrier or over wood subfloor to thicken the material and help reduce noise. Glued cork floors do not require underlayment. It varies with floating floors.
- Where you Buy it – Shop around. We located high-quality Heritage Mill engineered cork for about $5/sq.ft. at Home Depot. The engineered Wicanders mentioned above is inferior flooring, in our opinion, but sells for more on Wayfair.
- Flooring Removal – If you’re replacing flooring, there will be a charge to remove and dispose of the old material (see below).
- Installation Factors – The time/labor part of the equation goes up the more trimming there is to do around cabinets, posts, fireplace hearths and similar.
- Furniture to Move – If the installers are responsible for emptying rooms and replacing furniture, expect additional cost up to $50 per room.
Cost of Installation Supplies
Let’s look at specific material prices here. Installation costs follow.
- $1.50 – $3.00 per square foot | Tiles 4mm to 6mm thick made with ground cork. There are very few options below $2.
- $2.75 – $4.25 per square foot | Tiles 6mm to 8mm thick, often using ground or chipped cork. Some are water-resistant. They might be called “waterproof.” Ground or chipped cork is used on most.
- $4.00 – $6.75 per square foot | Premium tiles 10mm or 12mm thick and resistant to moisture. They are made with large cork sections rather than chipped cork.
- $3.75 – $5.50 per square foot | Basic cork planks 10mm thick and produced from chipped cork or cork sections.
- $5.25 – $7.50 per square foot | Premium cork planks 10mm or 12mm thick and made from large sections of cork. Most are water-resistant.
We found a limited number of “cheap” cork materials and also those in the premium range. But they’re out there. Homewyse eliminates both ends of the cost spectrum, so it shows a material cost range of about $4.00 to $5.00/sq.ft.
Underlayment (Required on some floors, optional on others)
- $10.00 – $12.00 per roll | 100 square feet of 6-mil Vapor barrier underlayment required for installing bamboo over a concrete subfloor.
- $25.00 – $30.00 per roll | 100 square feet of foam underlayment.
- $45.00 – $60.00 per roll | 100 square feet of sound and warmth insulating underlayment.
- $50.00 – $100.00 per roll| 100 square feet of cork underlayment.
- $28 – $50 per gallon | Flooring adhesive for glue-down cork flooring. Coverage of 150-200 square feet.
- $5.00 – $10.00 | V-notched residential-grade trowel for spreading adhesive.
Project costs for cork flooring: Let’s put some prices together to further narrow down what your total cost might be.
For the same material, cork flooring cost per square foot is lower when installation is easy and there’s a lot of flooring compared with small, difficult jobs.
- Installing 150 square feet of $4.50/sq.ft. bathroom flooring with several fixtures to work around will cost $6.50 to $7.75 per square foot.
- Installing 1,000 square feet of the same material in an open floorplan kitchen and dining area will come in at about $6.00 to $7.25/square foot.
Here are cost ranges for common project sizes using mid-priced cork, say $3.35 – $4.75 per square foot.
- 100 square feet: $575 – $775
- 200 square feet: $1,080 – $1,525
- 400 square feet: $2,075 – $3,015
- 600 square feet: $2,965 – $4,300
- 1000 square feet: $4,850 – $6,750
We show similar project costs for other flooring type Costimates.
When calculating bamboo flooring costs, for example, the total costs were higher even though the material prices are similar. This is because bamboo comes with higher installation costs because it is more difficult to work with.
Flooring Removal and Disposal Cost
Cork is a popular replacement for carpet, vinyl flooring, laminate and tile, mostly among those wanting green flooring that is soft and easy to maintain. Here are removal costs:
- $1.00 – $2.00/sq.ft. | Removal and disposal of carpet, floating floors and perimeter-glued sheet vinyl.
- $2.50 – $5.00/sq.ft. | Removal and disposal of flooring that is fully glued or nailed. Ceramic and stone tile is in this range too.
Flooring removal is dirty and dusty, and if it is hard tile, a little dangerous. Still, you can save money by doing it yourself and disposing of it a little at a time in your weekly garbage pickup.
If you have a lot of flooring and other junk to get rid of – or neighbors with junk that would like to share the cost – consider renting a roll-off container or standard dumpster for disposal.
Permits, Inspection, Related Costs and Installation Time
Permits and Inspection Cost
- $0 | No permit is needed for flooring installation.
Related Costs and Installation Time
Pro installers get the job done quickly and at reasonable rates.
- $1.75 – $3.00 per square foot | Installation labor cost to install cork flooring.
Here are typical time frames for common jobs. Floating plank installation goes a little quicker than glue-down tile installation.
- Up to 1 Day | Installation of up to 250 square feet
- 1-2 Days | Installation of 300 to 450 square feet
- 2-3 Days | Installation of 500 to 700 square feet
- 2.5-4 Days | Installation of 700 to 1,000 square feet
DIY or Hire a Pro?
Either can be done by a handy homeowner or one who wants to learn.
Installing a floating cork plank flooring is easier than gluing down a floor. This video from Forna cork gives a good general tutorial with a guide in the video description.
This Wicanders video shows the glue-down technique.
Either way, follow the instructions closely and don’t be deterred if you waste a few tiles or planks while you’re on the learning curve.
Pro Tips – Before you start, bring the flooring cartons inside for 3 days to allow the cork to acclimate to your home’s humidity level and temperature.
Secondly, open several cartons at once and mix pieces from each. The reason is that there are slight shading differences in different runs of all flooring including cork. You’ll avoid a patchy floor or one that visibly flows from one hue to the next .