Cork flooring for bathrooms

Cork flooring is an excellent choice for bathrooms due to its natural water-resistant properties. The cork’s cellular structure provides a barrier against moisture, preventing damage and mold growth. Additionally, cork is comfortable underfoot, eco-friendly, and easy to maintain, making it an ideal and stylish flooring option for bathrooms.

Cork flooring has been gaining popularity as a versatile and eco-friendly option for various living spaces, and it’s particularly well-suited for bathrooms. In this article, we’ll explore the advantages of using cork flooring in bathrooms, from its natural water resistance to its stylish design options.

Advantages of Cork Flooring in Bathrooms

Natural Water Resistance: One of the primary reasons cork flooring is ideal for bathrooms is its inherent water resistance. The cellular structure of cork creates a barrier that prevents water from seeping through, making it an excellent choice for spaces prone to moisture.

Cork’s Unique Cellular Structure: Cork’s cellular composition consists of millions of tiny air-filled pockets, which not only contribute to its buoyancy but also act as a natural insulator. This unique structure not only provides comfort underfoot but also plays a crucial role in resisting moisture penetration.

Prevention of Moisture Damage and Mold Growth: Unlike traditional flooring materials that can suffer damage from prolonged exposure to moisture, cork remains resilient. Its ability to resist moisture prevents the development of mold, making it a healthier option for bathroom environments.

Comfort Underfoot: Cork flooring is known for its elasticity, providing a comfortable and soft surface to walk on. This feature is particularly appreciated in bathrooms, where a softer floor can make a significant difference in comfort.

Subfloor Types

  1. Plywood:
    • Advantages: Plywood is a versatile and commonly used subfloor material. It provides a stable base for cork flooring and is easy to work with during installation.
    • Considerations: Choose exterior-grade plywood for enhanced moisture resistance. Ensure proper installation with secure fastening and leave necessary expansion gaps.
  2. OSB (Oriented Strand Board):
    • Advantages: OSB is an economical alternative to plywood, offering strength and durability. It can be a suitable subfloor for cork flooring in bathrooms.
    • Considerations: Opt for moisture-resistant OSB and follow manufacturer guidelines for installation to create a solid foundation for cork flooring.
  3. Cement Backer Board:
    • Advantages: Cement backer board is an excellent choice, especially when installing cork flooring in bathrooms with high moisture levels. It provides a stable and moisture-resistant surface.
    • Considerations: Install cement backer board over plywood or OSB, ensuring proper spacing and following the manufacturer’s instructions. This subfloor is particularly beneficial for tile installations.

Underlayment Options for Cork Flooring

  1. Cork Underlayment:
    • Advantages: Using cork underlayment beneath cork flooring enhances its natural properties. It provides additional insulation, sound absorption, and a comfortable underfoot feel.
    • Considerations: Ensure that the cork underlayment is of sufficient thickness to provide the desired benefits. Follow manufacturer recommendations for installation to optimize performance.
  2. Vapor Barrier Underlayment:
    • Advantages: A vapor barrier underlayment is crucial in bathrooms to prevent moisture from reaching the cork flooring. It adds an extra layer of protection against potential damage.
    • Considerations: Choose a vapor barrier underlayment designed for cork flooring and follow installation guidelines to create a moisture-resistant barrier.
  3. Rubber Underlayment:
    • Advantages: Rubber underlayment offers excellent sound absorption and impact resistance. It complements the natural resilience of cork flooring and minimizes noise transmission.
    • Considerations: Ensure compatibility with cork flooring and follow installation guidelines. Rubber underlayment is particularly beneficial when cork is installed in bathrooms on upper floors.

Additional Considerations

  1. Moisture Resistance:
    • Given the bathroom’s humid environment, prioritize materials with high moisture resistance. This is crucial for both the subfloor and underlayment to protect the cork flooring.
  2. Compatibility with Cork Flooring:
    • Choose underlayment materials that are compatible with cork flooring to ensure optimal performance and prevent any adverse reactions between the materials.
  3. Professional Installation:
    • While DIY installation is possible, considering professional installation ensures that subfloors and underlayment are correctly prepared, maximizing the benefits of cork flooring in bathrooms.

Eco-Friendly Features

Sustainability of Cork Harvesting: Cork is harvested from the bark of cork oak trees, a process that doesn’t harm the trees. This sustainable harvesting method allows cork oak trees to live for several decades, promoting environmental conservation.

Renewable and Biodegradable Properties: Being a natural material, cork is renewable and biodegradable. This means that when the flooring reaches the end of its life cycle, it can be disposed of in an eco-friendly manner, reducing its environmental impact.

Reduced Environmental Impact: Compared to other flooring options that may involve more energy-intensive manufacturing processes, cork’s production has a lower carbon footprint, making it a greener choice for environmentally conscious consumers.

Easy Maintenance

Simple Cleaning Routines: Maintaining cork flooring in bathrooms is hassle-free. Regular sweeping and occasional damp mopping are usually sufficient to keep the surface clean.

Resistance to Stains and Spills: Cork’s natural resistance to stains and spills is a significant advantage in bathrooms where accidental water spills and toiletry product leaks are common occurrences.

Long-Lasting Durability: Cork flooring is known for its durability, standing up well to daily wear and tear. With proper care, it can maintain its aesthetic appeal for many years.

Stylish Options

Variety of Colors and Patterns: Cork flooring comes in a wide range of colors and patterns, allowing homeowners to choose a style that complements their bathroom decor. Whether you prefer a classic, contemporary, or eclectic look, there’s a cork option to suit your taste.

Compatibility with Different Bathroom Designs: From traditional to modern, cork flooring blends seamlessly with various bathroom designs. Its versatility makes it an excellent choice for homeowners looking to enhance the overall aesthetic of their bathrooms.

Enhancement of Overall Aesthetic Appeal: Cork’s natural warmth and visual appeal add a touch of sophistication to any bathroom. Its unique texture and appearance can elevate the overall design, making the bathroom a more inviting and stylish space.

Installation Considerations

Professional Installation Tips: While cork flooring can be installed by professionals, it’s essential to follow recommended installation guidelines to ensure optimal performance. Hiring experienced installers can help achieve a flawless finish.

DIY Possibilities for Homeowners: For those with a bit of DIY experience, installing cork flooring can be a rewarding project. Many manufacturers provide easy-to-follow instructions for homeowners who prefer a hands-on approach.

Cost-Effectiveness of Cork Flooring: While the initial cost of cork flooring may be slightly higher than some alternatives, its long lifespan, low maintenance requirements, and energy efficiency contribute to cost-effectiveness in the long run.


In conclusion, cork flooring emerges as a compelling choice for bathrooms, offering a perfect blend of functionality, sustainability, and style. Its natural water resistance, eco-friendly features, easy maintenance, and aesthetic appeal make it a standout option for homeowners seeking a flooring solution that ticks all the boxes. Consider cork flooring for your bathroom renovation project, and experience the benefits of this innovative and stylish flooring material.