Installation for Cork Flooring

Materials Needed

  • Vent Fan
  • Adhesive
  • Painter’s Tape
  • Cork Tile
  • Laser Line
  • Mortar
  • Water-based Polyurethane Sealer
  • Liquid Acrylic Casting Material & Catalyst
  • Wood Veneer Strips

Tools Needed

  • Respirator mask
  • Rubber gloves
  • Paint tray
  • Brush
  • Roller
  • Paint roller extension handle
  • Foam roller
  • Bucket
  • Tape measure
  • Pencil
  • Utility knife
  • Medium-grit sandpaper
  • Orbital sander
  • Floor finish applicator
  • Sanding pad
  • Iron
  • Power miter saw


Step 1:  Apply the Skim Mortar Apply skim mortar over the cracks in the floor and any other bumps to get rid of any imperfections in the underlayment.

Step 2:  Sand the Floor Let the mortar dry.  Then, go over the flooring with a fine-to-medium-grit sandpaper using the orbital sander.

Step 3:  Add a Dab of Thinset Put a dab of thinset in random spots that you will be able to sand within 30 minutes, then clean up any dust that accumulates when you’re finished.

Step 4:  Apply the Adhesive First, protect the finished surfaces with masking tape.  Put the water-based adhesive in a roller pan.  Using a disposable paintbrush, start in the corners and lay on a not too thick, nice even coat of glue to the entire floor.  For larger areas, a foamed roller can be used.  Allow adhesive to dry for 30 minutes to an hour.   

Step 5:  Set the Laser Beam Select a starting point, allowing for as many full tiles in a visible area as possible.  One the first tile is down, the other tiles will fall into place accordingly.  Since it shoots a perfect 45-degree angle from the floor, use the laser beam to make laying the cork tiles a work of precision.  Set the laser beam where the edge of the first full row of tiles should go (the starting point).  Check your work by measuring from the walls to the laser line.  If the walls happen to be off, make adjustments to the starting line.

Step 6:  Lay The First Tile Lay the first tile in the corner and gently press it down into place.  Be careful since adhesive is on the back of the tiles.  The tile will be stuck for good once it’s down on the adhesive and the floor.

Step 7:  Overlap the Seams To achieve a more professional look, overlap the second piece at the seam of the first tile to stagger seams.  To move in a new direction, mark a tile at the midway point and set the tile so it overlaps the seam evenly in both directions. 

Step 8:  Cut and Lay the Tiles Take a measurement and transfer it to the cork.  Take a utility knife and straightedge and make the cut.  No need to worry about fitting the tiles perfectly under cabinets.  A toekick under the cabinets will cover any edges as will the baseboard along the wall.  Continue until the cork flooring is down. 

Step 9:  Apply the Catalyst Combine a preset amount of catalyst with the urethane and stir for 3 minutes to activate the chemical.  Pour a small amount on the floor.  Take a synthetic fleece applicator and using smooth strokes, go in one direction to avoid streaks and bubbles.  Hold the applicator like a snowplow so the liquid will be pushed away from the area you just did.

Step 10:  Hand Sand the Floor Let the sealer dry for at least 2 hours before applying a second coat.  After applying a third coat, hand sand the floor with a fine grit sand paper before a fourth and final coat in applied.

Step 11:  Install the Baseboard First, take a measurement.  Use a power miter saw to cut the baseboard so it will fit into the corner.  nail the baseboard into the stud with a finish nailer, then putty the nail holes once finished.

Step 12:  Cut Angled Corners For angled corners, cut a piece at a reverse 45-degree angle.  Use a coping saw to trim away the inside of the board, but leave the contour of the molding.

Step 13:  Install a Toekick Cut the toekick to size after first measuring the length of each cabinet. 

Step 14:  Create a Finished Edge To cover an unfinished edge, use strips of wood veneer and measure a piece that is a little longer.  Cut it with the utility knife and line up the edge with the finished grain of wood.  Set an iron on medium heat to activate the hot-melt adhesive, which will harden almost immediately, and set the piece upside down.  Trim off any excess with the utility knife.

Step 15:  Apply the Shoe Molding When nailing in the toekick, press it up against the cabinet, since the shoe will hide any gaps against the floor.  Apply the shoe.