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Installing a Cork Floor - The Basics

The following information is intended as basic advice for anyone thinking of installing cork flooring. Having actually bought your flooring you will also want to make yourself aware of the individual manufacturers instructions/guidelines for installation as this will be more specific to the particular cork floor that you have. By following their instructions you should be able to avoid problems later on and therefore enjoy the use of your floor for years to come without the need for costly repairs or maintenance.

Cork Flooring Installation Pics

The installation of the floating or click lock types of cork flooring can be carried out quite easily by a competent Do-It-Yourselfer. The glue down variety are more difficult and you are advised to only attempt an installation of this type if you have suitable experience in floor laying. An important consideration to bear in mind if installing a cork floor yourself is whether or not you will invalidate your flooring warranty by not using a professional floor fitter.

Allow to stand at room temperature before removing the cork...flooring

The unopened packages containing the cork flooring should be placed in the centre of the installation site/area for a minimum of 24 hours in order for the floor to acclimatize. This also applies to adhesives, varnishes & accessories, such as moldings and skirtings. This will help you to avoid buckling of the floor.

Some essential requirements common to most all installation types relate to the preparation of the sub floor over which you will lay the cork floor. This should be smooth, dry, clean and firm. If this vital stage of preparation is ignored it may well cause problems later on when least expected. Therefore, it should be considered absolutely essential to do it right the first time so that expensive and inconvenient repairs can be avoided in later years.

It is recommended that you stagger the joints when laying your floor, as in the left diagram* below.

Installation Methods
Recommended - Staggered Not Recommended - Inline 
installing a cork floor the correct way the incorrect way to install cork flooring
*Computer Generated Diagrams

Due to the nature of cork you may find that the coloration varies slightly from plank to plank or tile to tile. So that you do not end up with starkly contrasting sections adjacent to each other you should attempt to match each piece prior to installation.

Consider investing in a comprehensive floor laying manual if you have limited experience with installing cork floors. This will help you through any difficulties that arise.

Need professional help installing your cork flooring? Make the right choice at a price that fits

Not everyone will want to take on the job of the installation themselves. Indeed, for some the only option will be to employ the services of a specialized floor fitter. Often this can be arranged through the company that you bought the flooring from who will either employ a team themselves or have connections with qualified installers that they work with frequently. You may also seek out your own fitter if you wish by looking through the Yellow Pages or by contacting your local Better Business Bureau to see if they have any qualified installers registered with them.

Having made a list of potential contractors to lay your flooring you will want to make some calls to them to find out how suitable they are for your project. The following is a list of some questions that you should consider asking.

  • Are they experienced in laying cork floors?
  • Can they provide references from customers that they have recently carried an installation for?
  • Do they have any photographic proof of installations that they have done?
  • Where are they located?
  • Do they provide a guarantee that their work will be of a professional standard and will be free of defective workmanship?
  • Are they fully insured for any damage that may be caused due to errors in their work?
  • Are they a member of the Better Business Bureau? (This can be verified with your local BBB)
  • How soon would they be available for an installation if they were chosen for the job?
  • How much do they charge?
  • The installer will be likely to ask you some questions in return. To save time you should try to be prepared for such questions, which will perhaps be similar to the ones below. 

  • What type of flooring do you need installed?
  • Is it a finished or unfinished floor?
  • Will it be nailed or glued to a sub floor or is it a floating floor?
  • In what condition is the existing floor and what type is it?
  • Does the existing floor or sub floor require extensive work before the new floor can be put down.
  • Do you require removal and disposal of the existing floor?
  • Do you have a preference for the type of underfloor?
  • How many square feet need covering?
  • Where is your location?
  • When do you need the floor installed?
  • Having received your estimates, you should take some time to go through them all thoroughly before selecting an installer. Each estimate may vary substantially but always try to remember that price alone should not be the primary factor for making your choice. Perhaps more importantly you will want to work with the fitter that has the best reputation for consistently carrying out installations of a high standard. If you find that the estimate of one of your favored installers is a little on the high side don't be shy to ask if they can do the job a bit cheaper. Many will be likely to oblige so that they can land the job.

    Usually you will be able to get a good idea of who can be entrusted with your cork flooring installation by simply taking the above mentioned steps.

    So, well done! You are almost there. We just know that you'll be rightly proud of your new cork floor and will enjoy the use of it for many years to come. Be sure to check our our buying guide before you make your purchase.

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