Cork Installation

Important Note: We do not do installations directly.

Instead of having our own installers on staff as a normal retailer would have, we have chosen a more advantageous method that helps you save money on the materials as well as the actual installation.  Read the full details about installation here.

Important things to know before starting your installation

  1. Since natural flooring expands with any increase in moisture content, always leave at least a 3/8″ expansion space between flooring and all walls and any other permanent vertical obstructions, (such as pipes and cabinets). This space will be covered up once you reapply base moldings around the room. Use wood or plastic spacers during installation to maintain this 3/8″ expansion space. No area of connected flooring can span greater than 40 feet in width or 120 feet in length.  For larger spans, install T-moldings or other transition pieces that allow the flooring to expand and contract.
  2. Work from several open boxes of flooring and “dry lay” the floor before permanently laying the floor. This will allow you to select the varying grains & colors and to arrange them in a harmonious pattern. It also allows you the opportunity to select out very dark/light pieces for use in hidden areas in order to create a more uniform floor. Remember, it is the installers’ responsibility to determine the homeowners expectations of design and appearance for the final result.  Then the installer will determine which pieces to cull out that do not meet those expectations.
  3. Begin installation next to an outside wall. This is usually the straightest and best reference for establishing a straight working line.  Establish this line by measuring an equal distance from the wall at both ends and snapping a chalk line. The distance you measure from the wall should be the width of a plank plus about 3/8″ for expansion space. You may need to scribe cut the first row of planks to match the wall in order to make a straight working line if the wall is out of straight.
  4. You may want to dry lay a few rows, (no glue or nails), before starting installation to confirm your layout decision and working line. When laying flooring, stagger end joints from row to row by at least 8″. When cutting the last plank in a row to fit, you can use the cut-off end to begin the next row. If cut-off end is 8″ in length or less, discard it and instead cut a new plank at a random length and use it to start the next row. Always begin each row from the same side of the room.
  5. To draw planks together, always use a tapping block (a short piece of flooring), as tapping the flooring itself will result in edge damage. For best results, flip the tapping block upside down and use the groove edge to tap the tongue edge of the plank being installed. Fit end joints tightly together before tapping long edges together. When near a wall, you can use a pry bar to pry close the side and end joints. Take care not to damage edge of flooring. Use 3M® Blue Tape to hold any pieces which might have side bow and need to be held straight & tight until the adhesive sets up.

Color Variation-

This flooring is a natural product and color variations are to be expected. For best visual effect, shuffle planks from several cartons and do not install boards varying greatly in color next to one another.

Acclimation-

As relative humidity varies in different parts of the country, acclimation of the flooring prior to installation is the most important precaution to take in order to insure a successful installation. Proper acclimation is necessary to adapt the moisture content of the flooring to the conditions of your environment. Improper acclimation can cause the floor to buckle and/or the boards to shrink or cup after installation.

Acceptable subfloor types-

  • CDX Underlayment Grade Plywood (at least 1/2″ thick)
  • Underlayment grade particleboard
  • OSB (at least 3/4″ thick)
  • Concrete slab
  • Existing wood floor
  • Ceramic tile
  • Resilient tile & sheet vinyl

Subfloor Preparation-

Subfloor must be level, dry and free of imperfections. An uneven subfloor will make the floor feel unstable and cause premature damage.

PRE-INSTALLATION SUBFLOOR REQUIREMENTS

All Subfloors must be:

  • Dry and will remain dry: Subfloor must remain dry year-round. Moisture content of wood sub floors must not exceed 11%. Concrete must be tested for moisture content using the Andydrous Calcium Chloride test method, a non-invasive moisture meter, or a pin/probe moisture meter.
  • Structurally sound
  • Clean: Thoroughly swept and free of all debris
  • Level: Flat to 3/16″ per 10-foot radius

Wood subfloors must be dry and well secured. Nail or screw every 6″ along joists to avoid squeaking. If not level, sand down high spots and fill low spots with a Portland Based leveling patch.

Concrete subfloors must be fully cured, at least 60 days old, and should have minimum 6-mil polyfilm between concrete and ground. Subfloor should be flat and level within 3/16″ per 10′ radius. If necessary grind high spots down and level low spots with a Portland leveling compound.

All concrete should be tested for moisture prior to installation using the Andydrous Calcium Chloride test method, a non­invasive moisture meter, or a pin/probe meter. When using a Calcium Chloride Test, the result must not exceed 3 lbs per 1000 sq. ft. in a 24 hour period.

Ceramic Tile, resilient tile and sheet vinyl must be well-bonded to subfloor, in good condition, clean and level. Do not sand existing vinyl floors, as they may contain asbestos.

A moisture test must be performed to ensure that the concrete slab is dry. Remember, a concrete slab on/below grade that measures dry today may become moist in the future due to rising groundwater. Installing a moisture barrier now may be viewed as an insurance policy against concrete becoming wet in the future. AAA Flooring Source is not responsible for site related moisture issues.

For additional protection, you may want to consider applying moisture barrier compound system.

INSTALLATION TOOLS FOR ALL INSTALLATION METHODS

  • Tape measure
  • Tapping block (trimmed piece of flooring)
  • Pencil
  • Pry bar or pull bar Chalk line
  • Wood or plastic spacers (3/8″)
  • Crosscut power saw
  • 3M® Blue Tape

Instructions Before Laying Flooring

  • Inspection: Prior to installation, inspect planks in daylight for visible faults/damage. Check if subfloor/site conditions comply with the specifications described in these instructions. If you are not satisfied do not install, and contact your supplier.
  • Moisture Protection: Lay the PE film, allowing for at least 20 cm (8″) overlapping and tape. Turn the film upward 5 cm (2″) along the walls. Trim after the skirting boards are fixed.
  • Before laying: Measure the room at right angle to the direction of the planks. Planks in the final row should be at least 5 cm wide. For this purpose, planks in the first row can be cut to smaller size. Shuffle planks in order to obtain a pleasant blend of shades. Lay planks preferably following the direction of the main source of light. We recommend laying on wooden floors crossways to the existing floorboard. Planks must not be nailed or screwed to the subfloor. Base boards and molding must not be fixed in a way which restricts the movement of the floor.
  • Expansion gaps: provide 10 mm (3/8″) expansion gaps to the walls and other fixed objects. Areas greater than 100 m2 (900 sq. ft) or 10 m (30 feet) in either direction, transitions between rooms and asymmetrical areas require extra expansion gaps.

Instructions to start laying flooring

  1. Start in the corner. Turn the tongue side of the plank to the wall. Maintain a gap of 10 mm (3/8″) on the short side.
  2. Hold the next plank at an angle against the first one and lay it flat on the floor. Complete first row in the same way. Cut final plank of the first row to correct length. Start next row with the piece leftover [must be at least 300mm (12″) long]. Ensure that end joints are staggered at least 300mm.
  3. Place first plank of the new row with the tongue side at an angle against the groove side of the plank in the previous row. Press forward and lay it flat at the same time.
  4. Place short end of the plank at an angle against the previous installed plank and fold down. Ensure that the plank is positioned on the integral locking strip of the plank in the previous row.
  5. Lift planks (together with the previous laid in the same row) lightly up [about 30 mm (1-1/8″)], push it against the row in front and then put it down. Adjust the distance to the wall to 10mm (3/8″) when three rows are completed. Proceed installation as described above until reaching the opposite wall.

 In-floor Radiant Heat

  • Turn the heat off for 24 hours before installation, keep it off during installation and for 24 hours after installation when installing over radiant heated subfloors.
  • Failure to turn the heat off may result in shortened working time of the adhesive. Floor temperature must not exceed 85°F (30°C).
  • This type of installation requires a specific construction of the plywood subfloor and the installer for such must be familiar with the NWFA recommendations.  NWFA (National Wood Flooring Association) can be reached at 800-422-4556 U.S, or 800-848-8824 Canada.

Instructions after installation

  • Flooring should be one of the last items installed in a project. In order to protect the floors while other trades are finishing their work prior to final cleanup and turnover to the owner, use rosin paper and only use 3M® Blue Tape to hold the rosin paper to the floor (other blue tapes may damage the finish). Clean the floor thoroughly before laying the rosin paper to ensure that no debris is trapped underneath. DO NOT USE plastic film or other non-breathing coverings as this can cause the floor to become damaged from humidity buildups.
  • Remove expansion spacers and reinstall base and/or quarter round moldings to cover moldings to cover the expansion space.
  • Dust mop or vacuum your floor to remove any dirt or debris.
  • It is suggested that you buff the floor with lamb’s wool pads in order to remove any loose splinters, residues, foot prints, etc.
  • Install any transition pieces that may be needed (reducers, T-moldings, nosing, etc.).

Protection and Maintenance of Your Floor

  • Lasting beauty can be achieved through purchasing a quality floor covering and providing proper on-going maintenance.
  • Fading: Natural floors contain organic pigments and are subject to fading when exposed to direct sunlight. Where possible, use drapes or other systems to protect your floor from excessive light.
  • Joints: Natural flooring reacts to the conditions in the environment. Natural flooring plank systems expand and contract in response to fluctuations in temperature and humidity. Controlling the environment, maintaining an adequate temperature and relative humidity, will minimize the visible effects of normal contraction and expansion. Optimum recommended temperature is 70°F and relative humidity is 30% – 50%. In very dry climates, the use of a humidifier might be necessary.