Cork or Bamboo Flooring – Can I Install Over Radiant Heat?

Q: I am interested in installing cork or bamboo flooring on a heated concrete floor. Is this possible?

A: It is possible to install either of these floors over radiant heat, but certain details need to be kept in mind.
We’ll start with bamboo. Certain bamboo floors can be installed over radiant head, but keep in mind several of them have very stringent requirements. Your best bet for bamboo would be a floating bamboo floor as these are engineered and are better suited for radiant heat. Springwood makes a great click-together floating engineered line which can work very well over a heated concrete subfloor. Some of the solid bamboo floors or other glue-down bamboo floors can work over radiant heat, but typically the require installation by certified professionals using only specific adhesives.
For cork floors these can work over radiant heat, but keep in mind that cork has a natural insulation factor to it. This works out to a rate of roughly 3-5% reduction in heat output per 3mm of cork. For glue down cork floors, this is pretty simple as the floors are pure cork, but with a floating cork floor you will also have to account for the core board being used and any underlayment you install. This sounds like a bit, but in the end it turns out to be very little change in heat and I know of a few cork floor which have done very well over radiant heat subfloors.
You will have a bit more ease on the DIY side here using a cork floor, as the requirements to keep a warranty in tact over radiant heat for bamboo are fairly strict, but you do lose a bit of heat out put. Overall the choice becomes a matter of which floor you would rather have in your home, as both can work in this situation.

Common Question about Flooring

Here is a common question we get about flooring:

How should I maintain the flooring?

I have talked about maintenance in the past, but I really believe this is one of the most important things you can tackle when it comes to keeping your flooring looking sharp.

First always use mats inside and outside your door!

Second if the flooring is a hard surface like hardwood, laminate, cork, bamboo or exotics you need to sweep often.

Third check for specific maintenance instructions for the flooring you have. Boni-Kemi is the brand we typically recommend. Never over wet a wood based flooring.

Proper maintenance will always extend the life of your flooring and preserve the “like new” look of the floor longer. All floors will take wear and tear as time goes forward, but the critical difference between a long term floor and a floor that looks terrible in just a few years is often maintenance.

Bellawood or Pergo?

Q: What are the differences between bellawood and pergo? Which would you recommend over a concrete subfloor?

A: From the start here we are trying to compare apples to oranges, but let’s delve into why.
Pergo is a manufacturer of laminate flooring. Pergo was the first to introduce laminate to the US market and has since become synonymous with laminate to the average floor buyer in the US. Laminate flooring is a photo-realistic picture of wood, laminated to a backer board and medium or high-density fiberboard core. Although a wood product by nature, as the core and photo come from wood they are not traditional wood floors sawn from trees and then milled. Unlike traditional wood floors, laminate flooring is exceptionally tough and can be installed virtually anywhere. Pergo itself is the biggest name in the laminate industry and makes many various lines from their Everyday collection, which is built as a economy line, to Pergo Select, which is one of the best laminates in the industry, Pergo’s selection has a floor to fit just about any situation or budget.
Bellawood is a private flooring manufacturer owned by Lumber Liquidators. They make solid hardwood flooring in various species much like the myriad of wood flooring manufacturers out there like Bruce, Kahrs, Westhollow and many more. The major downside to solid wood flooring is that it is not as durable as laminate and it is limited to where it can be installed. In your case, the only solid hardwood which can be installed over a concrete subfloor is 5/16″ solid and it must be glued down.
In your case I would suggest looking into a laminate floor, such as the ones made by Pergo, but if you want a real wood floor, look into engineered wood floors like those made by Bellefloor (not to be confused with Bellawood), Sun Paratech, Saso, Westhollow or Kahrs.

Unbelievable Offers

Well I think the merchandising and marketing teams have got together to give me a coronary.

The fact that you can buy SOLID hardwood for only $2.49 per foot is really hard to imagine. Frankly that is below cost for 99% of solid 3/4″ hardwood so it defies logic in most ways, but I guess when we say we are running a clearance we are running a clearance.

Option 1: Solid 3/4″ White Oak
Option 2: Solid 3/4″ Golden Sunset (I think this is Birch)

Other Options:

Handscraped Oiled Plank for under 4 bucks!

Another Designer Handscraped Item – No guts No glory!

More Handscraped wood starting at $3.49 per foot!

Your chance to get a bargain is now. Good luck! Prices and stock are subject to change at any time.

6mm Cork Underlayment

Q: I am going to install a Pergo Vintage Home Traditional Strip floor in my dining room.
I am going to use 6MM cork as an underlayment. Does the cork underlayment also require a 1/4 inch expansion space around the perimeter of the room?
Thank you

A: If you wanted to be overly cautious you could include an expansion gap for the underlayment as well, but its not necessary. Cork is great in that it really does not expand/contract very much from temperature on its own and typically only sees much of this in the engineered floating plank versions of cork.
If you want to make the installation easy, just lay down your cork flush with the walls, then install the floor with proper expansion gaps and you should be all set.

Removing Residue From Laminate

Q: We currently have a bamboo floor we bought from your company. However we don’t seem to be able to remove some rubber stains. What product to you recommend to use on this type of floor?

A: For cleaning I would suggest using the hard surface cleaner made by BonaKemi. This product is formulated for laminate and similar hard surface floors and is excellent for basic routine maintenance. To remove stubborn residue which may appear as a stain I would look into using a clean cloth and some mineral spirits. After wiping the area with the rubber, follow up with a proper cleaner to ensure no left over mineral spirits are left on the floor as over time this mild solvent can ruin finish if it remains for too long.