I will get to how I saved over $700 part in a bit, but first I need to show you our cork floor.  When I shared all the finishes I chose for the basement, I showed you a small sample of the cork floor.   Here is the almost finished cork floor in our basement the night before the carpet was installed:


Here is a sneak peek of the cork floor, desperately needing a good sweep/mop, with the carpet installed:


It is the Smoky Mineral Plank Cork by Millstead from Home Depot.  The color is closest to oak, but it has a green undertone and overall the flooring is ashy.  Lowe’s has a very similar cork flooring for the same price.  We ultimately decided on the cork from Home Depot, because it had a more uniform appearance.  The cork from Lowe’s had more variation and darker streaks that gave it a more mottled look.

So, let’s talk about how I saved over $700 on the cork for the basement.  I hope these methods might be useful to others looking to do a flooring project soon.  Some of these ideas may work to save on other flooring types as well.

The cork we chose is $3.98 per sq ft.  We needed 430 sq ft to cover the bedroom (my office), the kitchenette/mud room area, and the small bathroom.  The quote from Home Depot for the cork flooring started out at $3500.  The price included the flooring, the transitions, baseboard, vapor barrier, delivery and installation.  Immediately upon seeing the quote I whacked several line items related to the baseboard and installation totaling just over $800.  We plan to DIY the baseboards.  Something did not sit right with me about paying someone over $500 to install baseboard and shoe molding in two rooms.  So the new starting price was $2700.  I wanted to get that down even further!

  1. I opened a Home Depot Credit Card.  Let me start by saying, I never open store credit cards just for discounts…I think that is generally a bad practice.  In my case, I frequently shop at Home Depot and know the promotions and discounts they offer to cardholders could save me money over time.  With the basement project and other upcoming projects around the house I knew there would be several large purchases where the discount would apply.  With that said, I bought my flooring during a 10% off promotion for cardholders.  I saved about $200 when I purchased the cork flooring with my Home Depot credit card.
  2. Skip the delivery.  I opted to pick up the flooring, which was special order, in the store instead of having it delivered to the house.  The itemized costs for delivery included $59 for delivery, $20 more for delivery of more than 20 boxes (the flooring was in 40 boxes), and $61.50 for carry-in.  The carry-in fee only includes ground level, but I needed my flooring in the basement.  I chose to save $140.50 by picking up the flooring at the store and carrying it in to the basement with my hubby’s help.  At the store they sent someone upfront with my flooring and he loaded it into my car.  I unloaded it at home with my hubby’s help.  I won’t lie…it was labor intensive, but I viewed it as a good workout.
  3. I installed the flooring all by myself.  It was one of the first projects I tackled when I started staying home full-time.  It took me 15-20 hours total to install the flooring.  I worked on it by myself.  It was pretty easy, since it is a floating click-lock floor.  Two people could have installed the floor faster.  I saved $397 by installing the flooring myself.


DIY Cork Flooring Install

DIY Cork Floor

My total savings was over $700 by using a Home Depot credit card during a 10% off promotion, picking up the flooring at the store, and installing it myself.  That brought the cost of my flooring project down from $2700 to $1900.

The best news of all…I actually saved an other $250 on the transitions, but that is a story for another day.



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20 Responses to How I Saved Over $700 on Cork Flooring for the Basement

  1. lesley says:

    Great job. I want to install cork myself but have been nervous. Our upstairs carpets need replacing and I don’t want to do wood for several reasons. But I thought a marbled cork would look fun and be practical for the boys rooms and the playroom. Do you think it would be strange to have my downstairs as all hardwood and the the upstairs of the house in cork? I was thinking of getting creative with the stairs to make the transition blend the two styles together. The upstairs in my house is very separate from the rest and a lot less formal. Thoughts? Lesley

    • Jackie says:

      Lesley, if it is separate enough I think it would work. Actually, even if it wasn’t so separate…because it is two different types of flooring. What would be weird is having different wood flooring, but cork is a different material and can mix with wood floors :) It would be wonderful for kids spaces, because it is very resilient!

  2. Lisa says:

    Wow Jackie. I’m so impressed that you did that yourself. We’re planning to install vinyl wood flooring in our condo soon. I’d love to install wood flooring, but it’s too noisy for the downstairs neighbors. I shop quite a lot at Home Depot so I love the idea of opening a line of credit to save money. Great tip!

    • Jackie says:

      Lisa, Have you considered cork? The cork I used (and many of them now) have an attached layer of cork on the bottom too…it is like a built-in underlayment. Anyways, I think cork has sound dampening properties. Of course, it is pricier than vinyl.

  3. wendy says:

    Ok, Jackie–for someone who rarely comments on blogs, this makes number 3 for me on T&L! I am just so impressed by your tenacity to complete the cork floor project solo! It looks stunning and will hold up so nicely with the boys’ activities and energy levels. Well done–can’t wait to see what you’re up to next! Waiting for orders from TX to possibly the VA area and when we’re settled in the next house, I can’t wait to hire you! :)

    • Jackie says:

      Wendy, Thanks for commenting. Good luck with your next move. My hubby and I were stationed at Langley AFB for 3 years. We loved the area…we did weekend trips up and down the East Coast and got married in front of the Cape Hatteras lighthouse. Would love to help you with your new home!

  4. Adrienne says:

    Good for you! And thanks for detailing your savings, such good info for those of us who may need to do this too!

  5. CohoesMom5 says:

    The floor looks great. What kind of vapor barrier did you use? We are looking to finish our basement ourselves (really mostly myself) and I would love to do cork or another floating floor instead of just painting the concrete.

    • Jackie says:

      We used the basic black 6 mil vapor barrier (what the flooring manufacturer recommended). The cork flooring comes with a pre-attached cork underlayment on each plank.

      I actually longed to paint the cement floor…at least in my studio, but the practicality won out. Cement floors are cold in a frigid Minnesota winter. Also, because of some cement work done during the remodel there were cracks and imperfections in the cement that I did not want to deal with. The cork floor is warm underfoot.

  6. jessica w says:

    This looks great! My husband and I always go back and forth on whether we want cork or vinyl plank flooring. I grew up with all cork flooring in our whole house growing up in germany so I definitely have a soft spot for it.

  7. Jessvii says:

    I aspire to install a cork floor in my basement just as you did. Good work on the install! Currently, we have old carpet; I think the cork will look better than vinyl, be warmer than tile, and be more durable and moisture-resistant than a floating wood floor – any thoughts on this? Recently, I saw a TV commercial that had cork “tiles”, not planks. That leads me to my second question, what made you choose the cork floor that you ultimately went with instead of a different style and/or shape?

    • Jackie says:

      Jess, I think the cork would meet all your requirements. It is obviously not as soft as carpet, but it is considered a soft floor. Chef’s use it in kitchens because it is very good to stand on. As far as tiles vs. planks, we wanted the easiest installation possible so we chose click-lock floating floor planks. The tiles are glue down. From some brief research it does not seem like glue down tile floors are good for a basement, because you need a moisture barrier over the cement slab. The floating floors were easy to install and good to go over a cement floor with just a moisture barrier underneath. Hope that helps.

  8. Gina says:

    My 16 year old son & I installed a floating cork floor in his basement bedroom & it was easy. Once he finally realized that he wasn’t going to have a room unless he helped, we quickly got into a routine of him installing the full size pieces calling me down to measure, cut and install the pieces that had to be trimmed. With the 10% excess the store said I should buy, I was even able to install cork in his younger brother’s room.

    • Jackie says:

      Gina, That is so great. It definitely is faster and easier with a helper. Can’t wait until my boys get old enough to help with projects :)

  9. Damon says:

    Jackie, this came up on a search because I’m considering the same product for my kitchen floor in humid Houston, TX. My only hesitation is that the dishwasher creates some pretty hot steam when it’s drying the dishes. I’m just wondering if that would cause warping over time. Do you have a dishwasher in the kitchen area of your basement, and have you had any warping issues? TIA!

    • Jackie says:

      Damon, We do not have a dishwasher in our basement. The important thing to know is cork flooring is not water-resistant. cork is, but the flooring is a thin layer of cork over a wood base…which would be susceptible to water damage. We originally planned to continue the cork into the bathroom until I read more about potential water issues with cork flooring.

  10. Angie says:

    Thanks so much for this. I never would have thought to take the barrier up the wall. We are installing 1600 sq ft of this. Pray for us! :)

  11. Steph H says:

    Great info and tips! This info helps a lot. We plan to do the same. Good for you also for the install! : )

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