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7 easy steps to laying a cork floor

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May 13, 2011

Not only are cork floors environmentally friendly and attractive, they have the added advantage of being soft and easy on the feet. With cork flooring, gone are the days of cold linoleum and frigid hardwood. It's easy to give your toes a break--here's how to install that cork flooring where you need it.

Cork flooring projects: easy installation, great benefits

Ready to cork it up? Here's how.

  1. About 72 hours before you lay the floor, unpack the cork boards. This allows the material to acclimate to the new space. Since cork naturally swells and contracts, allowing it to sit for a few days can make your installation easier and more attractive.
  2. Study the trim and baseboards in the room. You should install the cork to within 1/2 inch of the wall, so you must trim to cover the gap. If you have baseboards, pry them up gently to run the cork underneath them. If you can't bring them up, shoe molding should suffice. Don't forget to cut away any vertical trim that the cork needs to slide underneath.
  3. Start with the longest uninterrupted wall and lay the cork to within 1/2 inch on either side. Most cork flooring is tongue and groove, so snapping it together should be...well, a snap. If you need to cut the final piece, measure carefully and turn to your handy jigsaw.
  4. Insert spaces between the first course of cork and the wall to ensure that the 1/2-inch gap remains as you work through the other rows. Continue until you have covered the room, down to the last row.
  5. Cut the flooring to fit the final row if necessary, always cutting on the groove side. To install the last row, use a pry bar to fit the cork board between the last course and the wall.
  6. Trim the floor by adding the baseboards or shoe molding. Be careful not to drive the nails into the cork, as that prevents the natural movement the floor must have. Instead, drive the nails through baseboard or molding and into the walls above the cork.
  7. Some manufacturers suggest a polyurethane coating on your floor when installation is complete, while others don't deem it necessary. If you need to put a coating on your floor, check with the manufacturer's instructions to determine the right blend.

If you are uncertain about your installation skills, don't hesitate to hire a flooring contractor to make sure the job is done right the first time. Your warm and cozy toes are sure to thank you!

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