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Cork Flooring – Installation Guide

Our Cork Flooring Installation Guide

Cork combines undeniable acoustic and thermal qualities. It brings warmth, silence and comfort to interior spaces. It’s environmentally friendly, naturally stylish, hard wearing and water resistant yet very easy to install and maintain. Cork is the perfect material for flooring. 

Our click Cork Flooring is really easy to fit and is installed in the same way as laminate flooring. So anyone with reasonable DIY skills or experience in installing laminate should have no problems. 

 

General

It’s important to establish that click cork flooring is suitable for the intended use. We have different ranges of cork and they are constructed in different ways. Some of our cork floors use pre-treated HDF boards that are made from waste timber sources. This HDF is sandwiched between a top and bottom layer of natural cork. Despite the moisture resistance of cork it is not recommended to install click cork flooring in bathrooms or shower rooms where the floor is likely to be exposed to excessive levels of moisture and humidity. This is because the HDF is not as tolerant of moisture as the cork.

For installation in bathrooms, look for our Inspire Cork and Inspire Wood ranges which are made from 100% cork.

 

Acclimatisation

Floating floors should be acclimatised on site for 2 days prior to installation. You do not need to open the packages. Installation should be carried out at normal room temperature and humidity – not below 15°C and within a humidity range of 45-65%.

 

Sub-Floor

The sub-floor should be completely dry, solid, even and clean. Uneveness in the sub-floor of 2mm over a distance of 1.5m is acceptable.

On concrete floors or where there is any indication of a potential moisture source in the sub-floor we recommend first laying a polythene sheet to act as a moisture barrier, the joints should be sealed with tape.

All existing carpets should be removed but the new cork flooring can be laid on existing floor coverings such as wood, linoleum, vinyl, certain ceramic tiles etc. Ensure there is no movement in the sub-floor and old floor boards have been screwed down and any gaps or unevenness has been rectified with a suitable filler or smoothing compound.

Note: The responsibility of determining if the existing flooring or sub-floor is suitable for the installation rests solely with the installer or flooring contractor.

 

Underfloor Heating

Cork floating floors may be installed over underfloor heating (UFH). Ensure you follow the specific instructions of your underfloor heating manufacturer. The UFH should be fully commissioned at least 4 days before installation of floorcoverings (new concrete slabs may require longer periods of time).

Switch off the UFH prior to installation, so the sub-floor is not hot when installing. Wait for three days after installation of the Cork flooring before switching the UFH back on. You should slowly increase the temperature of the floor over several days until it is up to normal operating temperature. 

It is especially important that the surface temperature of the flooring must not exceed 27°C as this will damage the cork flooring. 

Depending on the site conditions and flooring range it may be recommended to fully adhere the flooring. This is particularly important when there are large swings in temperatures, such as over underfloor heating or in areas of high solar gain such as south facing windows. 

Note: We recommend ensuring there is a thermostat probe installed in the floor that will read the floor temperature and switch off the system if it exceeds 27°C. A normal thermostat will only measure the air temperature of the room, not the floor. 

Thick rugs and some furniture may act to insulate the floor leading to localised areas of very high floor temperature.

 

Tools Required

Moisture barrier of 0.2mm polythene (if required)

Adhesive tape

Spacer blocks

Hammer

Pull bar

Tapping block

Pencil

Measuring tape

Circular saw or miter saw

Dusk mask

Safety glasses

Quality control

 

Review the packs of flooring prior to installation to check for damaged or faulty panels and separate these out. Bear in mind that you are dealing with a natural material so expect the cork surface to have variations in colour and structure. This contributes to the charm and originality of a cork floor and is not considered a fault. To achieve the most pleasing blend of shades you may wish to shuffle the planks from different packs before laying.

 

Installation

Expansion and contraction of the cork flooring may occur due to changes in interior temperature and humidity, therefore an expansion gap of 10-15mm should be maintained at all walls, pipes and door frames. Expansion gaps should be covered with appropriate trims, beading or skirting.

The planks should preferably lie lengthwise in the room or in the same direction as the light falls. Plank ends should be staggered randomly. Keep end joints at least 30cm apart. 

Start each row with planks of varying length. Usually, the left over piece from one row can be used as the starter on the next row of planks. 

Start installing the floor on one corner, working right to left. The first panel should be placed with the tongue side towards the wall. Do not forget the spacer blocks (to ensure the perfect expansion gap, the tongues along the edges of the panels that go against the wall should be sawn off). 

Click in the next panel, rotating and pushing the tongue of the panel into the groove of the previous one at an angle of 20-30 degrees until both panels click together on the short sides. Do this for a few panels of the first row making sure they are perfectly aligned to one another – this is very important for installing the next rows.

Start on the second row with the leftover piece of plank from the previous row if the plank length is at least 30cm. If not use a new plank and cut down if required to ensure staggered end joints. Rotate and push the tongue of the long side of the panel and fit it in the groove of the one on the previous row. Then tap until the short edges of the first tow panels of the second row fit together. Install the third panel of the second row. Using this technique install one row after another, don’t forget to set the spacer blocks.

The width of the planks of the last row should be at least 10cm. Therefore measure the width of the room before starting and adjust the width of the first row if necessary.

If small or narrow fill pieces are required then it is recommended to apply a small bead of wood glue along the tongue of the small piece, use a pull bar to pull the piece tight and masking tape to hold the piece in place until the glue sets. 

Upon completion remove all spacer blocks, install skirting and/or beading to cover the expansion gap. Take care to nail or glue the skirting/beading to the wall and not the flooring.

If you have any questions on the installation of any of our products please don’t hesitate to contact us. 

 

This is a summarised version of the manufacturers full installation guide. Please contact us to receive a copy of the manufacturer’s guide.

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