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Installing Glue Down Cork Floors

How To Install

Download Cork Flooring Installation Instructions | PDF's
PDF icon for
file download of cork quick guideQuick Guide on How–to–Install a Cork Floor 280kb pdf | Our short installation guide for those with DIY experience.

PDF icon for file download of full installation guideFull Guide – Complete Installation Instructions on Installing your Cork Floor 880kb pdf | Our full set of DIY installation instructions.

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Cork Buying Guide Sections
Solid and veneered cork tiles are generally glued directly to the subfloor using a quality flooring adhesive. Always use an adhesive recommended by your flooring manufacturer to ensure products are compatible.

Create a Guideline Grid

You'll install cork tiles much like ceramic or vinyl tiles.

  1. Snap a chalk line between the center points of each opposite wall to divide the room into four equal quadrants.
  2. Layout a row of loose cork tiles in all directions at the center intersection point and evaluate the fit. If there are small cuts (less than 1/2") along walls, move the starting point down by 1/2 a cork tile width and re–snap your chalk lines. If desired, snap chalk lines to divide the larger quadrants into smaller sections. Be sure to leave an expansion perimeter.
  3. When you're satisfied with the fit, gather up all the cork tiles and set aside. If you're creating a pattern, you can leave the pattern out in one quadrant as a guide.

Glue the Tiles to the Subfloor

Cork tiles are glued to the subfloor with one of two methods:

  • Wet–set – An adhesive is troweled or rolled out onto the subfloor. The cork tiles are immediately set into the wet glue.
  • Dry–set – An adhesive is troweled or rolled out onto the subfloor and allowed to dry for 20–30 minutes. Once the glue is tacky, cork tiles are set into the glue.

Always follow your manufacturer's recommendations when choosing which method to use.

  1. Apply the adhesive to the subfloor in one quadrant according to the manufacturer's instructions. Apply adhesive slightly over your guidelines so you can install tiles right up to the lines. Allow the adhesive to dry, if using the dry–set method.
  2. Starting at the center intersection point, install the first cork tile.
  3. Place tiles on either side of the first one so that you work towards the walls in each direction.
    • If using the wet–set method, slide tiles into the adhesive.
    • If using the dry–set method, place tiles exactly where they need to go.
  4. At walls, scribe fit tiles.
  5. When all tiles are installed in one quadrant, roll with a 75–100 pound roller as directed by your manufacturer.
  6. Repeat steps 1 through 5 to install your cork tiles in each quadrant.
  7. When the whole floor is installed, re–roll with a 75–100 pound roller as directed by your manufacturer.

Let the Floor Set

Allow the adhesive to set for about 24 hours or as recommended by your manufacturer. During this time, do not walk or place anything upon the newly installed cork floor.

Apply the Finish

Some manufacturers require that a top coat finish (either urethane or wax) be applied to the whole floor once it is installed and the adhesive has set. The finish seals all seams and helps protect the floor from moisture and wear. ALWAYS follow your manufacturer's instructions if a finish is required for your floor. Not applying one may void your warranty.

NOTE: The following instructions are for urethane finishes. If applying a wax finish, follow the manufacturer's application instructions. For more information about finishes and wear layers, see the full Installing Cork Flooring guide on®.

  1. Sweep and/or vacuum the newly installed floor.
  2. Roll the urethane finish across the floor using a 3/8" foam roller. Apply one thick coat with long even strokes. Overlap roller paths slightly to ensure the whole floor is covered. Do not over roll.
  3. Allow the urethane finish to dry completely according to the manufacturer's recommendations (usually 4 hours to the touch and 24 hours to dry completely).
  4. Allow the whole floor to cure completely (usually 8 days). Follow all the manufacturer's recommendations during this curing time.