Cook flooring was used in NZ homes many many years ago. It is now considered a little ummm "tacky" but it is still sold and thus I guess, still used. It's down fall is also it's strength. It is soft.
So you will need a good substrate under it Sean. The original flooring maybe fine for this, but without something firm under foot, the floor will flex as the cork will not give any support at all.
The main attributes are it's insulative properties in both temperature and noise
. But long term wear is not so good. This may not be an issue on the boat though Sean. Wear in a home is a lot harder on it. You have Ladies wearing high heels and the points stuff the surface quickly. On a boat, it won't be subject to as high a wear and I doubt you will have high heels on board.
It is so easy to lay. That is if you are using the cork tiles. It is easy to stick down and to cut. Apart from carpet tiles, I don't think there would be anything easier to place down.
Yes Cork absorbs moisture and it swells. Just like any timber does. It isn't a major problem unless constantly wet, where it will soften and swell several times it's size. Notice when the cork comes out of the bottle, the end that has had the wine on it, it very soft and swollen.
But under a good polyurathane coating, it seems to be fine. I have a freind that has a boat floor totally in cork. It looks OK and is holding up OK, but it is not everyones cup of tea. I have often thought about putting it in the galley
area of my boat myself. We have carpet and I hate carpet. Especially in the galley. It just gets too filthy and tooo hard to keep clean and dry.
I had been thinking about strip laying it with a sealant
along the joins as if you were laying a teak deck
The other major advantage of cork, it is easy to remove in the future. It can be lifted with a sharp blade like a spade and then easily removed with a sanding
machine. So if you didn't like the stuff,or found it wasn't hardwearing enough, then the problem can be easily rectified and a harder wearing material placed down.
Sean, there are also hardwood panels/sheets available that are strip vineered to look like the strip plank cabin
soles. Expensive stuff, but worth a look, or at least later if you didn't like the cork. Harder to fit, but easier and cheaper than laying a solid strip timber floor.
Oh and one other thought, you can also get a strip "plastic" material that looks just like wood, is very hardwearing, comes with a sticky backing and you cut and lay.
Also a plywood
strip planking with a smart timber surface. There is also available a cheaper version of it with a picture of timber on the surface, but it doesn't like moisture and the surface is very thin and easily damaged. Stay away from that stuff.
I can get the official names we use here in NZ if you wish. Just yell.