Quercus suber



Shown with water-based finish (top), and oil-based finish (bottom)

Color: Varies from light to dark; many colors available depending on manufacturer.

Grain: Distinctive look unlike wood—cork is actually the bark of a type of oak.

Species & Grade Variations: Many patterns available depending on manufacturer.


Hardness (Janka): Varies.

Dimensional Stability: Cork reacts quickly, sometimes within hours, to changes in moisture. (Typical dimensional stability measurements do not apply to cork’s composite construction.)


Sawing/Machining: Cork may be cut with a utility knife.

Sanding: Use the finest grit possible to flatten the floor. The following sequences are recommended for use only with a multi-disc sander or a hardplate on a buffer. If the edger is used, fine sandpaper (100/120/150) should be backed with a maroon pad. Small orbital sanders or hand-sanding are recommended for corners and wall lines, as hand-scrapers
may gouge the cork.

Suggested Sequence

  • First Cut: 100
  • Second Cut: 120
  • Third Cut: Not recommended
  • Hard Plate: 120 or 150
  • First Screen: 120
  • Second Screen: 120

Nailing: Cork is installed using adhesive.

Finishing: All surface-type finishes are successfully used on cork (choose a finish that will bend as the cork compresses). Oil-and-wax also is used frequently.

Comments: Pay particular attention to subfloor preparation, as cork is very sensitive to moisture, and also transfers any imperfections in the subfloor to the surface appearance.


Spain and Portugal.


Readily available.