Cork Tile Flooring, II

May 9, 2008
cork tile flooring
Cork tile flooring is one of the most sustainable flooring materials you can use. Strive for a tile product that hasn’t been sealed at the factory because you’ll get better results, based on my experience, if you seal the tile in place once it’s been installed. Choose low VOC glues and sealants for the best air quality you can get.

Cork may seem like a fragile flooring material, but modern cork tile flooring is tough and lasts many years. It’s a natural, renewable resource. Cork tile flooring is warm and gentle on the feet. It’s also quiet, unlike many other flooring materials. With the right surface preparation, a cork tile flooring can be installed in just a weekend.

Natural cork tile flooring (as opposed to floating floor tiles) must be glued to a perfectly flat, smooth surface. That means you can’t install natural cork tile flooring on any uneven surface such as plank flooring, vinyl, or linoleum — anything that has a pattern or obvious joints in it. You will need to screw down a plywood underlayer at least one-quarter inch thick. If you have a concrete floor that is flat and moisture-free, you can install natural cork tile flooring directly onto it, though of course a vapor barrier is recommended. Your flooring supplier may have tips on concrete installations.
If you already have a few layers of old flooring, tear out the old layers and install new underlayment on the subfloor. Cut your underlayment plywood and screw it to the old subfloor or existing floor. Do not substitute particleboard or fiberboard for plywood; they absorb moisture and crumble too easily. They plywood you use should be graded as underlayment plywood.
Make sure your screws are set flush or countersunk into the underlayment plywood. Stagger the joints of plywood at least thirty-two inches, and leave a gap of 1/16-1/8 inch between panels. Place screws every four inches on seams and every six inches elsewhere.
Plan your design on graph paper. Measure the floor and draw it to scale. As you draw your design, avoid having thin cuts of tile near walls. Simply shift the pattern one way or the other by cutting some other tiles thinner. Draw a border pattern as well. Then add up all the cork tiles you will need. Darker cork tile flooring can be ordered to provide a dramatic pattern around the edges of the floor.
Figure out how many tiles you have time to lay in a day and spread contact adhesive across their backs the night before. This will make the work go much faster in the morning, and allow the adhesive time to cure properly before it makes contact with the floor. Experienced hands can easily tile a ten by ten foot room in a day. Novices should plan on an extra day.
Cork tile flooring comes in pre-glued tiles, too. Duro-Design is one company that makes pre-glued cork tile flooring. The company offers cork tile flooring in fifty-four color shades. According to Duro-Design, its cork tile flooring is selected from the densest cork available, so it is amazingly resilient and more dent-resistant than hardwood flooring. Duro-Design cork tile flooring is available in twelve by twelve inch tiles or 12×36 inch planks. It can be installed as a glued-down floor or as a floating, edge-locked floor system.
Cork tile flooring is beautiful, environmentally sensitive, comfortable, and durable. As an alternative to hardwood flooring, which may help despoil rainforests, cork tile flooring ranks with bamboo and other renewable resources as one of the best flooring choices.

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