Cork Countertops

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cork-countertops

When you rebuild the interior of your boat the good news is that you can build it out almost exactly as you want it to be, arranging it in a way that will work best for your lifestyle (however, for some reason we still can’t figure out how to add a few feet to her beam). What it also means is that you have to make every decision. No matter how many episodes of House Hunters I watch, it doesn’t change the fact that I have lived in an apartment for all of my adult life and have never had to make important decisions such as what my countertops should be. As with every decision made involving this boat, we spent way too much time in figuring out what we should do. Also, installing the countertops on a boat adds in a whole new set of challenges – everything has to be sealed properly, etc.

I know a lot of my friends own their own places and have experience selecting a countertop material, but I had no idea how much this stuff costs! We considered Corian, Formica, starboard, and finally landed on cork. Yes, cork. The same cork you use as coasters and pin your cute puppies calendar to. Technically the cork we bought is used for underlayment in flooring, but you get the idea.

While cork has gained popularity as a flooring choice, it may seam a crazy choice for counters in a boat. But, hear me out. This stuff is heat resistant, antimicrobial, a great insulator, resists moisture (and once we properly seal it up nothing is getting through it!) and its a renewable resource which fits in with our whole eco theme we have going on with the boat.

The best part of all is that the whole countertop cost us about $20 – with plenty of extra. Yes, $20! We may have lucked out by showing up at Home Depot 14 minutes before closing time and kindly pointing out a tear in the first length they cut for us so that they gave us the first 10 feet for free, but $20 is $20.

We did consider using cork flooring but everything we found had a thin layer of ply between thin layers of cork and we weren’t confident it was sealed well enough to live in a marine environment.

I’m loving how the cork looks against the wood in the boat – creates a nice contrast. Goodness this place is going to look amazing. Note, that the sapele will be stained to match teak already on board so everything will match and look amazing.

cork-counters-sailboat

12 COMMENTS

    • we’ve had it in a few months now and all is good. We have no idea how it will hold up long term, so we’ll be tracking that as we cruise. We epoxied the cork to the wood under, then sanded the surface (key!), then epoxied the top. Keep the epoxy thin on top in order to keep the non skid qualities of the cork.

  1. We used cork inside our boat as well. We are using it as a hull liner… great R value and looks great too! We also ended up using cork flooring.

    We chose it for the same reasons you stated. Glad to hear more people are using it!

    Cheers,
    S/V Octopussy

  2. Regarding the cork… where did you purchase it so inexpensive? We bought a roll… price was not bad at all $36 for a roll 6 ft long and 3 ft wide. However, the shipping was $40!
    Just curious.

    How does the cork clean up from food spills?

    Would love it if you would follow our face book page. Adventure US 2

    JLee
    WWS

    • Hey Janet – We got the cork at Home Depot, it was cork underlayment. We bought the end of the roll, which had a small tear in it so they gave it to us cheaper. Even at full price when you buy it as underlayment it is very cheap.

  3. What a fabulous idea! Is the cork counter still holding up? I’m curious because I’m thinking of doing this in my own kitchen.

    • The cork has held up beautifully! I would recommend a nice coat of epoxy so it is easier to clean/wipe down.

  4. We’ve replaced our teak and holly cabin soles cork and heavy wood counters in our galley countertop utilizing cork 1/4″ thick tiles. We like the esthetics and weight saving in our Dean 440. They’ve been installed about 5 years and no problems. We used a water base clear urethane type coating on the cabin soles which I would not recommend.

    Hope this is working out for your!
    Paul and Nancy
    s/v Rush’n Blue

  5. We’ve replaced our teak and holly cabin soles and heavy wood counters in our galley utilizing cork 1/4″ thick tiles. We like the esthetics and weight saving in our Dean 440. They’ve been installed about 5 years and no problems. We used a water base clear urethane type coating on the cabin soles which I would not recommend.

    Hope this is working out for you!
    Paul and Nancy
    s/v Rush’n Blue

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