Installing the Natural Floor, Part 2

Installing the Natural Floor, Part 2

Managing flooring heights and ensuring floors contain no urea formaldehyde mean extra work on this job

012I made myself very clear on this project: All products would be proven to contain no added urea formaldehyde, and there would be no transitions.

The homeowner had selected three styles of cork flooring that were almost ½-inch in thickness; prefinished solid hardwood that was ¾-inch; and the tile, the first flooring to go in, was sitting at 1-1/16th inches in height once installed.

To complicate the job further, the cork was a floating floor, meaning that it does not get glued or nailed to the subfloor, which typically requires transitions, such as T-molding, where it meets up with other floors like tile and hardwood.

So, we decided on a modified transition.

010First, we would need ½-inch plywood to install underneath all of the cork flooring to raise it to the correct height, then some customized shimming for the cork and hardwood to make them flush  with the tile in the bathrooms and mudroom.

It only took me about three hours between going to two indoor lumber yards to confirm that our plywood did not contain any added urea formaldehyde, meeting CARB 2 requirements, even though it is exempt from this standard.008

These details were readily available for the cork and hardwood. The cork for the foyer and kitchen is digitally embossed to look like Travertine Tile. The first choice had been Wicanders Artcomfort that looked like marble, which was a perfect complement to the kitchen counters,  but one of competitor USFloor’s styles had colors the suited the overall aesthetic more in the final selection.

The only carpet in the home was to be chemical-free wool on the stairs down to the basement.

In our region of the country, the flooring products going into this home are an unusual combination.

Every day, all eyes were watching. Especially mine. ©


  • Sarah Corrigan
    Posted at 12:34h, 26 April Reply

    I’m wondering how you accomplished the flush transition from the floating cork floor to the tile and hardwood? Did you use a sanded silicone for the expansion gap between the two? Thanks for any insight you can provide!

    • Nancy Kibbee
      Posted at 12:51h, 26 April Reply

      The homeowner signed off on a deviation from the manufacturer’s requirement for a T-Mold, with the understanding that if a problem occurred, it would then have to be addressed with some type of flat flush molding or silicone, as you suggest. It has been more than a year, and there is not a problem. All we did was float the cork and use just a small amount of zero-VOC adhesive under it just along the edge where it meets up with the hardwood header boards. I emphasize, though, that this is not recommended by the manufacturer, and is an issue arises, it will not be covered by the warranty.

  • Pingback:Installing the Natural Floor, Part 3 | Natural Interiors®
    Posted at 09:41h, 14 March Reply

    […] Part 2 here, and Part 1 […]

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