Cork flooring is one of the newest and most environmentally friendly building products available today.
It is very resilient and durable, and looks beautiful in kitchens, living rooms, and dining rooms and can also be fitted in bathrooms if a sealant is applied.
The material comes in a wide array of colors and patterns for a natural yet modern, clean look.
Cork floors are naturally scratch resistant and usually come in planks like most hardwood or laminate style flooring, or they can come in tile form.
The availability of each format depends on the nearest retailer’s stock, or you can purchase the flooring from an online reseller. Once you’ve chosen the color of the cork flooring and purchased it, it’s time to begin the installation process.
First, prepare your sub floor for the application of the cork flooring. The floor underneath must be clean and level and all moisture should be removed, and a sealant applied so that the floor is “cured.”
A dry subfloor is essential to the installation process. You can opt to install the cork flooring over your existing floor, just be sure it’s all clean, free of mildew and moisture, and apply a curing solution or sealant directly to the existing floor instead.
It is very important that care is taken to ensure that the subfloor is clean, even and dry to avoid future problems arising as a result of poor preparation. It is also recommended that you allow your cork flooring to acclimatize for between 2 and 4 days before you install it.
You will need to create chalk lines on the floor to outline where the cork tiles or boards will go. This ensures that everything is even and you can determine where certain tiles may need to be cut.
Follow all manufacturer’s recommendations for application and installation as well as cutting procedures to ensure that the product is installed correctly.
Most cork flooring has an adhesive already attached on the bottom of each tile where you can remove the backing and simply apply it directly to the floor or subfloor, whereas some use the click-together format.
The click method is very simple to use and the boards or tiles simply slot together to provide a uniform finish.
If you’re using the cork flooring with adhesive then carefully follow the manufacturer's guidelines carefully make sure it has adhered properly and securely so there is no buckling or gaps.
Be sure to leave a small gap around the perimeter of the room to allow for product expansion. Details of how large this gap should be will be in your manufacturer's guide.
Once this step is complete, check to make sure everything is level and there are no gaps or cracks, and then sand the flooring down. Remove any excess adhesive with a wet cloth and allow the floor to cure for at least 24 hours before anyone walks on it.
Many cork tiles are prefinished, but some are not. For those that are unfinished, a good polyurethane wax should be applied to give the floor a nice finished look. Cork floors are beautiful and rugged and should provide many years of enjoyment.