Installing and caring for natural cork flooring is simple with these tips.
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Installing on Concrete Substrate
Cork parquet can be installed over concrete on or above grade. Concrete substrates are required to be sound, smooth, level and flat with a maximum variation of 1/8 inch in 10 feet. Subfloor should be free of dust, dirt and soils. Any uncorrected irregularities will telegraph through cork parquet tiles. All cracks, holes and control joints must be patched with a Portland cement based compound. Follow compound manufacturer's instructions fully and make sure patches are completely dry and well adhered. Use of gypsum base compounds is not approved. Check concrete slab for moisture. Slab must be properly cured. Check slab with calcium chloride moisture test. Moisture content cannot be more than three pounds per 1,000 sq. ft. per 24 hours.
Acclimating Cork Parquets
Store cork parquet tiles must be stored out of the box at job site for a minimum of 72 hours prior to installation. During storage and installation, maintain temperature and relative humidity to level consistent with conditions that will prevail when building is occupied. Heating or air conditioning should be used for an appropriate length of time prior to and during installation. With improper acclimation, the floor could noticeably expand or contract after installation.
Laying Cork Parquet Tiles
Use any standard laying pattern. For best installation, lay cork parquets with staggered joints. Shuffle cork parquets for best visual mix and identify possible manufacturing defects. Installer must accept liability for installing defective material. Mix cork parquets from various cartons to maintain natural color and pattern variation. Allow 1/4" expansion space between finished floor and all walls, thresholds, water pipes and other vertical surfaces. Failure to provide adequate expansion space will result in installation failure. When moisture level in the environment is low, parquet tiles should not be positioned too tightly against one another. To the contrary, when moisture level is elevated, tiles should be installed tightly. When cork parquet tile is properly aligned in place, apply pressure on entire parquet surface. Pressure will cause parquet to stick firmly and further movement will not be possible.
Allow glue to set for at least 24 hours before walking on the floor. After 24 hours you may install molding, trim, transition pieces, and/or reducer strips as needed. If dried adhesive is found on the surface of the floor, it can be removed with a rag dampened with water-diluted mineral spirits.
The entire floor must then be cleaned using a polyurethane cleaner. Mist over the floor using a spray bottle. Using a damp-dry mop, thoroughly clean the floor. Using too much liquid on your floor could provoke swelling at the joints due to absorption of moisture by the unsealed cork.
Moisture penetrating joints can eventually cause damage to the floor. Sealing your floor will prevent surface moisture penetration. This step is highly recommended for kitchens and other at risk areas. Natural Cork recommends using a high quality water base urethane.