Personal Stories – How to get a cork floor for free

Want cork flooring for free? Here are three easy steps. 1. Plant cork trees. 2. Harvest the bark. 3. Lay down the floor. Or, you could do what we did. Have your installer screw up and and give a cork floor for free.

Back in June, we hired a local company to install our kitchen floor. We opted for linoleum. Not vinyl floring, but real linoleum. When you buy linoleum you have to say that to every floorer you meet because they will always think you are talking about vinyl. In fact, real linoleum is so rare that know one knows how to install it. This was especially true of our installer. The first thing he mentioned when he showed up was that he had never seen linoleum before. When an installer has never seen the product he or she is installing, that is a bad sign. He then proceeded to screw up.

No bones about it, The floor looked good. But there were lumps and bumps everywhere. Just look at our little guy's reaction to it! Seriously, the installer used too much glue and the excess hardened into its own topography. He unapologetically recommended that we buy some curtains so there wouldn't be so much light to show the imperfections. We do not like him.

The representative from the local flooring company was apologetic . . after six months of prodding. Although I called them weekly for five months or so, there was no resolution in sight. Then my wife called. She is a one woman consumer advocacy group. The next visit from the rep was the titular moment in getting our free cork floor.

I talked up the virtues of ripping up the entire floor and laying it down from scratch. Ripping up a floor is hard work. I know because my wife and I (and my parents and a few other people) had already done it. I even bought a special tool to pull up the 10,000 staples. Labor is expensive, more expensive than cork to be sure. We knew that we had a good bargaining position.

But it wasn't us who mentioned the cork floor. The repoff-hand said that he could put another floor over our imperfect floor. Perhaps cork he said. I was adamant about ripping up the old floor but my wife told the rep that she could convince me to go with cork (which she did). My wife is a big fan of all of the "Law and Order" shows, and she does an excellent good cop/bad cop routine. Her negotiating skills paid off and last week we received our free cork floors. Of course, we had to pay for the bad floor first. But it's like the old saying goes, you have to spend bad money to get good products. Or something like that. All I know is this: our cork floor is frickin' sweet.

Why linoleum or cork? Both are made of renewable materials, non-allergenic, non-toxic, and naturally resistant to water and pests. Linoleum has the added bonus of durability and is the same color throughout so it does not show scratches well. Cork has the added bonus of being warm and spongy underfoot. It is super great for work areas like  kitchens. Plus it looks really cool.

Huzaa to cork!

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