What You Need
Cork tiles (we used Capri Cork)
Cork adhesive (check with the cork manufacturer to see what they recommend)
Skinny, low nap rollers
Roller extension rod (for applying the glue to the floor)
Soft blow rubber mallet
100 lb roller (we rented ours for $20)
Small hand roller
Knee pads (recommended)
1. Prep the floor. (Cork can be applied over different subfloors, but the surface must be level and flat or the imperfections will telegraph through. We used a self-leveling compound to fill any crevices and divots in our plywood subfloor.)
2. Determine where you will start and snap two perpendicular chalk lines to mark where the first tile will go. (Make sure your lines are parallel to the walls.)
3. The adhesive acts like contact cement. Apply a thin coat to both the floor and back of tiles.(We found that rolling the glue on the diagonal kept the roller from slipping off and getting glue on the edges.) When the glue is transparent but still tacky, it's ready to go.
4. Place the first tile and set in place with a rubber mallet.
5. Install the next tile by setting it in at a slight angle next to the first tile to ensure a tight fit.
6. Repeat steps 4 and 5. Every hour or so, use the 100 LB. roller to press the tiles firmly to the floor.
7. At the edges of the room, use a utility knife and straight edge to cut tiles to fit.
8. For edges and hard to reach areas, use a hand roller instead of the 100 LB. roller to ensure the tiles are fully adhered.
9. Celebrate, you're done!
Additional notes: Our tiles came unfinished (we had a wax finish put on later), but they are commonly sold with a water-based polyurethane finish.
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(Images: Lauren Zerbey)