LESLIE: Casey in Texas is on the line and needs some help with picking out softer flooring. What can we do for you today?
CASEY: I have a special-needs son. He’s four years old and he crawls throughout our house. And unfortunately, he has a lot of falls. I’m looking to replace the flooring in my game room and kitchen, which is currently ceramic tile, with a softer option. And I was thinking of doing cork flooring. So, I wanted to know what your opinion on the cork flooring was, if there’s a better softer flooring option. And can it be laid on top of the tile?
TOM: Great question. I was actually just thinking of that cork flooring as a good, terrific, softer flooring option for you.
In terms of whether you can lay it on top of the tile, if the tile is really flat, you probably can. But if the tile has a bit of a rough surface or sort of curvy edges, I think that it could potentially be an issue. That said, there may be a cork flooring out there that has sort of more of a solid back that could give you some stability over that. I’d look into it. I’d check a place like Lumber Liquidators.
But cork flooring is incredibly durable. It is soft and I think it is a good choice for you. Short of doing something with area rugs or something of that nature, I think that’s probably one of the best softer flooring choices that you can make. If it’s an area that you would potentially want to carpet, just keep in mind that there’s a lot of differences in carpet padding.
There’s a lot of chintzy carpet padding out there but if you look for it, you’ll find the good stuff that really does give you some cushion to that surface. And you don’t have to choose a thick carpet to put over it but you’ve got to have the right carpet padding under it. That’s really critical.
TOM: And if you went with something like a laminate floor, there is an underlayment that goes under laminate floor. Now, a laminate floor, obviously, is not soft on top but if the underlayment – I know that one of the brands that I used to work with had sort of an 1/8-inch foam kind of sheet that would go under it that would give it some give, too. But I think pretty much any floor you choose is going to be softer than ceramic tile.
TOM: Right, Leslie?
LESLIE: That really is true. The only concern I would have with putting a cork over the ceramic tile is that some of the cork floorings are on the thinner side. So, like Tom mentioned, you want to make sure the cork floor is thick enough to hide the imperfections that are there in that tile. But cork really is a great and forgiving surface and it looks gorgeous, too.
CASEY: Good. Is it pretty moisture-tolerant? I’m just concerned in the kitchen. Is there anything to worry about?
LESLIE: The cork tends to be water-resistant. I wouldn’t put in it a place, like a bathroom, where you’ve got potential for tubs overflowing and things of that nature. But the occasional spill and the water that tends to happen in a kitchen space is perfect for it.
CASEY: Mm-hmm. OK. Excellent. Well, thank you very much. I appreciate the help.