Installing cork flooring in your kitchen can provide you with a very durable, functional floor. The kitchen is one of the most highly trafficked areas of the house. Therefore, you want to make sure that you put a floor in there that will stand up to the wear and tear every day for years. Cork can do just that, but it needs to be installed correctly in order to do so. If you do not install it properly, you could run into problems down the road. Here are a few tips for installing kitchen cork flooring effectively.
1. Clear the Area
Before you can do anything, you need to clear the area of everything. Remove the appliances, remove the kitchen table, and remove anything else in the room. You need a clear workspace and a good clean floor for the cork to be installed on.
2. Prepare the Subfloor
The floor that you put the cork on needs to be flat and level. Since cork is a floating floor, you should be able to install it over a number of different subfloors. You can put it over a wood subfloor or concrete. You can even install it over other types of flooring like vinyl or ceramic. If there are imperfections on the floor, you will want to level them out with a floor patch. If you are not over a crawlspace, you will want to make sure that the floor is sealed off from moisture. You can do this with a Visqueen vapor barrier or with a liquid floor sealer that you roll onto the concrete. Just make sure that moisture does not have any direct access to the cork flooring.
3. Don't Forget to Acclimate
Since cork is a natural product, it will expand and contract in different conditions. When the temperature around the flooring changes, it can expand and contract. It can also change based upon moisture content in the air. For this reason, it is necessary to acclimate the cork for a certain period of time in the environment that it will be installed. Check with the manufacturer's recommendations to see how long you should acclimate it. Depending on the company, they recommend somewhere between 24 and 72 hours. In order to make sure that your cork is still under warranty, you will want to follow the manufacturer's recommendation on acclimation.
4. Leave Expansion Gap
Something else that you will want to keep in mind is that you need to leave an expansion gap around the outside of the room. When you install cork, you want to make sure that there is room for the floor to expand and contract. When you forget to leave an expansion gap, your floor will eventually end up buckling at the joints.
5. Glue the Joints
When you are installing a floating floor in a wet area like a kitchen, you will most likely want to glue the joints as you install the planks. A good glue will help keep the boards together and prevent surface spills from getting down into the cork.