The challenges come in many forms, but the outcomes usually come through positively when we take what we’re given and let the best material show the way forward. A case in point is the typical classic Sixth Street Traverse City home. These houses are all special—Victorian as a rule, with long histories including multiple re-modellings, additions, and multiple individual quirks and unique configurations. Laying a new floor in one of these homes can be a real exercise in patience. Floor joists run in different directions, past iterations in sub-flooring present variation in floor height from room to room, there are slopes… So, while we can do anything, there is a practical limitation for every job. This wasn’t going to be a tile floor, and hardwood wasn’t going to do to well either, but floating cork—there was a beautiful, and sympathetic material—that was something that was going to work.
The floating cork floor isn’t glued down. The cork tiles interlock around the edges, and the floor holds itself together over a lot of inconsistent sub-floor variations. The material is warm, quiet, and soft. We could lay this floor in patterns, mix colors and use accents. Also important—cork is a remarkably sustainable product, being harvested from giant cork-oak trees, and the floors way put down are very low in VOC (volatile organic compounds), so there is an extremely low level of off-gas in the home.