Which Flooring is healthier – floating or glue down cork flooring?

At Forna, the difference in the chemical make-up of our floating flooring and our glue down flooring is minimal. The floors are produced in the same way with the same binders and finishes. The only difference of note is the fibreboard in the floating floor. Forna uses E1 rated High Density Fibreboard (HDF) that is moisture resistant. The E1 stands for European 1st grade. This is equivalent to or better than CARB II E0 emission requirements for Middle Density Fibreboard (MDF).


Forna cork floating floors are produced using formaldehyde free and VOC free adhesives. The adhesive manufacturer, Wakol GmbH, is an industry leader in German construction adhesives. Our finishes are sourced through Loba GmbH & Co. KG. Loba has recently been awarded Europe’s newest award for methodology and application. We source our adhesives and finishes exclusively through proven, well established European companies.


Our floors have been well tolerated by many clients suffering from Multiple Chemical Sensitivity Syndrome (MCS) as well as those with documented formaldehyde sensitivity. The formaldehyde readings in our floors are referred to as “back ground” levels. Or levels that would occur naturally if you tested a piece of raw cork freshly pealed from the tree. An apple carries more formaldehyde than a Forna cork floor. Only rarely do we come across a client whose severe allergic reaction to formaldehyde or other chemicals means the floating floor cannot be entertained. The choice of flooring is therefore reduced to cost of the floor together with labour costs. The floating floor installation is a time and money saving installation that allows any home owner in any income level to be able to afford a cork floor. The floating floor can be considered a DIY friendly floor which means cost of install can be saved by those handy with a saw.


A glue down cork floor is, technically, the better floor but it takes a tremendous amount of time and effort to prepare the subfloor. If your subfloor requires repair work or replacement, the costs mount very quickly. So too the addition of extra chemicals found in plywood and patching compounds. The installation costs are often double, if not triple, the cost of the floating floor. Even though the theory of installing the glue down tile is fairly simple, only a small project, like a bathroom installation, would be considered a DIY project. Once the floor is installed it requires site-finishing (2-3 coats of water based polyurethane) that needs to cure. This adds to the already extensive amount of time it takes to glue down the floor. A whole house glue down installation can take as much as two weeks plus the time the polyurethane takes to cure.


The cost of the floating floor is comparable to the glue down tile when the adhesive and the polyurethane are added into overall material costs. There is very little savings to be had when looking at the glue down tiles. The installation costs of the glue down often prove to be too much for many middle income home owners. The cost of installing a floating floor is very close to the same cost as installing laminate floor – which is considered far more affordable for most.