Corka Tile installation
Our Corka Parquet and Melaza Tiles are easy to install and many of our customers choose to do so themselves as a DIY project, but if you are looking for an experienced fitter, we can help – just email us your postcode. We have a list of fitters recommended by our customers and who we have found to be reliable – though please note these are independent tradespeople and as such we cannot take responsibility for their work or any arrangement you make with them.
Below are guidelines for laying these gluedown Corka Tiles. Every endeavour has been made to ensure the information given here is true and reliable. It is given only for the guidance. The company cannot accept any responsibility for loss or damage that may result from the use of this information, due to the possibility of variations of processing or working conditions and/or workmanship beyond our control. Users are advised to conduct their own tests for a particular application.
Corka Tiles can be installed in all domestic areas and in most commercial areas, except in saunas, wetrooms and permanently wet areas. Our tiles come PU part-finished for quick finishing on site, which is recommended in all settings for durability and water resistance. See Finishing section below for details.
These floors are suitable for indoor use only. Check if the subfloor and site conditions are in accordance with the specifications described within these instructions.
Corka Tiles can be installed on top of most hard surfaces which are sufficiently fixed, completely levelled and have no loose areas. (If the surface needs to be covered, either a 4mm or 6mm plywood can be used - the thickness selected should be determined by the quality of the surface being covered.)
For Corka Tiles no underlay is required. All types of subfloor must be flat, even, rigid and dry, height variations should not exceed 5mm in 2m. Expansion joints in the building must not be fixed to the flooring. If a tile is laid and stuck across expansion joints, it may split, as it is fixed firmly in place and cannot “work” with the movement of the building.
It is vital that any type of concrete, screed, wooden or ceramic subfloor must be completely dry (see Moisture Protection below).
Corka Tiles are suitable for use with underfloor heating. They must not be exposed to artificial heat sources such as from heated pipes at shallow depth below screeds, or suspended pipes below floorboards. Pipes must be thoroughly insulated. In areas with excessive room temperatures or direct sunlight Corka should be protected by the use of curtains and or blinds.
The key to success when installing Corka Tiles is to achieve a good bond between the subfloor and Corka. Proper preparation of the surface is the most important factor in achieving this bond. Whatever levelling compound is used to level, smooth or repair a subfloor surface, it will only be as strong as the surface to which it is bonded. The surface, therefore, must be sound, clean and free of oil, grease, wax, dirt, asphalt, curing compounds, latex and gypsum compounds, dust, paint, or any contaminant, which might act as a bond breaker. The methods required to properly prepare the subfloor vary with the type of subfloor, its surface and condition. Several methods of preparing a subfloor are available. Some methods are used because they are cheaper, easier or faster, depending upon the size of the job. However, taking short cuts in proper subfloor preparation can lead to installation problems and failures.
PREPARING THE SUBFLOOR
It is vital that any type of concrete, screed, wooden or ceramic subfloor must be completely dry.
If you are laying on a concrete floor, the moisture level should not exceed 65%RH when tested with a hygrometer in compliance with BS8203-4; 2001, or 10% Wood Moisture Equivalent (WME) for wooden subfloors. Please bear in mind that new concrete can take up to six months to dry out completely, and that plaster can take 6 weeks to dry and paint 10 days.
When installed on concrete, screed, self-levelling compound, ceramic or stone subfloors, an effective moisture barrier should always be used.
You can use Corka Tiles in bathrooms, so long as a suitable lacquer is applied on site to seal the flooring and render it water resistant (see Finishing section below for details).
On wooden floors/chipboard/OSB
When installing on a wooden subfloor, please remove any existing floor covering first. No signs of mould and/or insect infestations should be visible. Make sure that the subfloor is mechanically fixed (screws), make sure that it is stable, free of tension, shows no movement and the joints between the panels are even and firmly closed. If the joints are not glued, they will show later on the surface of the flooring. If there are any visible open seams and/or height differences between panels these need to be entirely removed. Seams higher than the rest of the floor must be sanded down, if they are gappy, they must be filled.
Whether or not a primer is necessary will depend on the surface quality of the boards concerned.
The area below the floor should be sufficiently ventilated (back-vented skirting board) to maintain the equilibrium moisture content of the wood planks, engineered wood boards, OSB panels, drywall elements. The crawl space under the wooden subfloor must be sufficiently ventilated. Remove any obstacles from the crawl space and make sure there is sufficient ventilation (minimum 4cm² total ventilation openings per 1m² of flooring). The moisture content of the wood must not exceed 10%.
On ceramic tile floors
All loose tiles must be refixed and subfloors of this type should be levelled with floor leveller to remove any grout lines or embossing. The ceramic tiles should also be roughened and primed before installation of your Corka Tiles.
On mastic asphalt
When laying over mastic asphalt, if a dispersion adhesive is used, the asphalt must be levelled with a minimum of 2mm thickness. If contact adhesive is used, a levelling compound must also be applied, in order to avoid direct contact between the mastic asphalt and the solvents contained in the adhesive. If reaction adhesive is used, only polyurethane adhesive may be used directly on mastic asphalt.
On plaster or anhydrite screeds
When laying over plaster or anhydrite screeds, moisture must be <0.5 %. These screeds can be applied over large surface areas without separation joints. Moisture entering and remaining in the screed after application will damage the screed. Generally speaking, these screeds must be sanded, brushed, vacuumed and treated with primers. In such cases, the reduced absorbency as a result of the primer has to be compensated by using the appropriate thickness of levelling compound (not less than 2mm) if dispersion adhesives are used.
If you are fitting your Corka Tiles over underfloor heating (UFH), we recommend using either a water pipe UFH system set into screed or an electric system set into a reinforced smoothing compound. This needs to be thoroughly dry before your flooring is delivered or installed. There should be at least 8mm of coverage over the cables. No pipe or cable should be in direct contact with flooring or underlay and where necessary distribution board should be fitted to ensure even heat and to prevent hotspots.
The surface temperature of the subfloor must not exceed 27°C. Remember that rugs, mats and some furniture placed on top of the floor may act as heat accumulators and increase the floor surface temperature more than the recommended level. Please also note that the temperature registered by wall mounted, free-standing thermostats can be lower than the real temperature at floor level, so you need to adjust accordingly.
For detailed information on UFH installation, follow the instructions supplied by the heating system manufacturer, or contact your supplier. Any heated subfloor has certain installation requirements depending on the system and the subfloor, which need to be followed very strictly. A heated subfloor has to be dried by turning the heating on/off with a pause before any flooring can be installed, following a documented protocol. The subfloor should be in place and cured for at least 60-90 days.
The beginning of the heating phase in concrete subfloors must not begin until 21 days after complete curing of the substrate. The temperature should then be increased each day until the maximum temperature allowed according to the manufacturer's system. This maximum value should be maintained for 5-7 days without turning off. Temperature should then be decreased gradually to the off position. We recommend carrying out at least two cycles to ensure all moisture is released. Switch off for four days before taking moisture readings.
Underfloor heating should be turned off at least 48 hours before fitting your floor and alternative heat sources should be used if necessary to ensure a stable temperature between 18ºC to 22ºC during installation and for at least 72 hours afterwards, including overnight. Humidity must also remain constant in a range from 45% to 65%. This is a crucial period to ensure dimensional stability in your flooring.
When turning the UFH back on, increase the temperature by no more than 2ºC for each 24-hour period until room temperature is achieved.
You should use the same rule anytime the UFH has been turned off for a period. A similar cool-down timetable should also be used (2ºC for each 24-hour period) when turning your UFH off. Maintain a UFH frost temperature of at least 12 ºC when it is not in full use.
PRIOR TO INSTALLATION
Transport, storage and acclimatisation
Before delivery or fitting of your floor wet trades, including painting, plastering and screeds should be completed and dried, and doors and windows must be watertight.
Always transport and store the cartons horizontally. Packed tiles should be acclimatised at the job site in a dry, well-ventilated area for a minimum of 48 hours. During cold weather, acclimatisation may take longer. Store the cork in the middle of the room, away from direct sunlight (Corka should be protected from heat and sunlight by the use of curtains and or blinds) as well as from walls and radiators. Remove tiles from packages just before starting the installation. During storage and installation, maintain temperature and relative humidity to a level consistent with the conditions which will prevail when the building is occupied. In most cases, this means maintaining a temperature range from 18ºC to 28ºC (65ºF to 82ºF) and relative humidity range from 35% to 65%. In order to achieve this, use heating or air conditioning for the appropriate time before starting the installation.
Prior to installation, please inspect the tiles in daylight for any visible faults or damage and to ensure they are the design you were expecting as we can't take items back once they have been used or fitted. Our cork floors are natural products and each plank has its own shade and pattern. Shuffle the planks before laying to achieve an attractive blend of shades. Be sure to set aside a few flooring planks for future repairs.
Prior to installation, please also inspect the subfloor and site conditions are in accordance with the specifications described within these instructions. We cannot be held responsible for claims associated with improper subfloors, improper applications, adhesives, varnishes and the use of maintenance products not recommended, or detectable defects verifiable prior to installation.
Tape measure, craft knife, pencil, straight edge, chalk line, trowel, microfibre roller.
Measure the room accurately. You need to ensure that the tiles in the final row are at least 5 cm wide, so if necessary, the tiles in the first row can be trimmed to a narrower width to ensure the final row is wide enough.
Please note that although our cork tiles are designed for use high-traffic areas, they need to be handled with care before and during the laying process in order to prevent damage, especially to the corners and edges. Do not bend.
Use a craft knife and straight edge to cut the tiles near the walls. If necessary, saw door frames and architraves to the required height allowing 2 mm of extra space for the planks
For Melaza Tiles
Mark the centre of the longest wall in the room. Repeat this process for all four walls in the room. Pull a chalk line from one centre mark to the centre mark on the opposite wall then snap the line. Repeat the process for the second set of opposite walls. The lines should intersect at the centre of the room. Ensure that the intersection of the two lines forms a 90 degree angle.
Lay the tiles, without gluing. Ensure that where the tiles meet the walls, the rows are of equal widths on each side of the room, or that no single row is narrower than 5cm. If necessary, the dry laid tiles in the first row can be trimmed to a narrower width to ensure the final row is wide enough.
For Corka Parquet Tiles - herringbone laying pattern
For a herringbone pattern, installation should begin by creating a centre or “crown” line in the middle of the room using a chalk string or laser and dry-laying a run of planks on each side of it. Once you have established the desired pattern, draw two more working lines, one on either side of the centre line to mark where the top corner of each plank should be positioned in order to keep the herringbone pattern aligned.
Once you have established your starter rows, mark their edges if required and glue down as per our instructions below, leaving to fully dry before installing the rest of the flooring in rows on either side of these central rows. Ensure that planks are closely fitted at all end and side joins.
Our recommended adhesive should be applied to the subfloor as well as the tiles. Stir the adhesive before using. Avoid adhesive lumps. Apply the adhesive evenly on the subfloor. Avoid pooling.
Spread adhesive evenly and uniformly on the back of the tile and the subfloor using a microfibre roller. The tiles can be coated and allowed to dry in advance (maximum 24 hrs. before installation), however the substrate must be coated at the time of installation.
Be sure that tiles and subfloor are completely covered. Allow to dry until the adhesive is clear, dry to the touch and slightly glossy. If you are unsure about the coverage a second coat may be applied once the first coat is dry.
Set each tile carefully in place and use a rubber mallet to secure the tile into the adhesive. Install tiles within 3 hours of the floor being coated; tiles covered in advance must be installed within 1 hour. If installation takes more time, an additional coat of adhesive can be applied over the first coat. Clean tools and equipment with water before adhesive cures.
Corka Parquet and Melaza Tiles
Our Parquet Corka and Melaza Tiles come PU part-finished for quick finishing on site. We recommend finishing the flooring with WS 2K lacquer. This will seal the joints and make the floor water-resistant as well as improving wear resistance.
Wait at least 24 hours after gluing down your tiles to allow the adhesive to dry completely (this may take longer depending on the temperature and relative humidity of the air) before lacquering. Clean the floor carefully with a damp cloth and, once dry, apply a minimum 2 coats of WS 2K lacquer according to the manufacturer’s instructions. For commercial areas we would recommend 3 coats.
INSTALLATION ON WALLS
Our gluedown Corka Tiles are suitable for use on walls as well as floors. Follow the same guidelines as for floor installation above, while bearing in mind the following:
Gypsum plaster and gypsum carton tiles as well as other very absorbent substrates must be primed before applying our recommended adhesive. Check/read the information about dilution and drying time of primers.
Do not apply too much pressure when placing the tiles into adhesive on the wall in order to be able to remove them if necessary, because after the tile sticks, it is very difficult to change its position. When the tile is in place, press with your hand to ensure that all parts are in contact with the wall adhesive. Then use a rubber hammer to make sure all parts of the tile are well secured to the wall.
The final tile of each row should only be installed once the previous row is already completed.
Additional finishing is not essential for wall installations as the tiles will not be subject to the same degree of wear as in flooring use. However, it is an option worth considering for extra water resistance and ease of cleaning. Use the same finishing products and methods as outlined in the Finishing section above.