Floating Floor Fitting Guide
Cork floating floors use pre-treated, watertight HDF boards. Despite its moisture-resistance, cork floating floor is not suitable for damp or steamy rooms. Do not install in wet rooms, saunas or other rooms exposed to excessive moisture.
Cork floating floors must be stored unopened at room temperature for at least 48 hours before installation. Do not open packages before starting installation.
The sub floor must be perfectly dry, solid, even and clean (observe moisture content of fresh screed and underfloor heating screed). Unevenness in the sub-floor of 2 mm over a distance of 1 m is acceptable. Before installation a 0.2 mm polyethylene sheet must be laid first. The rolled length of foil should overlap about 20 cm running up the walls about 3 cm, and then be fastened with adhesive tape. The foil is a protection against moisture and it helps also the movement of the planks when room climate changes. All soft-fitted carpets must be removed, but the planks can be laid on existing floor coverings like wood, linoleum, vinyl, etc. Old floor boards have to be screwed down and the remaining unevenness has to be levelled using suitable filler. As cork floating floors have built-in impact noise insulation, it is not necessary to take further measures; it would bring no improvement and it could create an excessively soft sub-floor.
If under-floor heating has been implemented in the sub-floor, the following basic rules apply:
- Turn off the heating 48 hours before installation starts.
- Turn on the heating in steps not earlier than 72 hours after installation.
- Do not exceed the temperature of 28 °C measured at the surface of the floor covering.
It must be taken into account that expansion and contraction of the cork floor will occur.
Tools & Accessories
- Moisture barrier of 0.2mm polyethylene (if necessary)
- Adhesive tape (if necessary)
- Spacer blocks
- Pull bar with protruding edge (to be tapped on with a hammer)
- Tapping block
- Measuring tape
- Dust mask
- Safety glasses.
Before installation, please check the planks. If you come across damaged panels do not install them. When checking the cork planks, keep in mind that you are dealing with a natural material. The cork surface may have slight variations in colour or structure. They contribute to the charm and originality of a cork covering. Ensure that, as far as possible, material from the same batch is used in the same area.
The planks should preferably lie lengthwise in the room or in the same direction as the light falls. Avoid the use of sensitive patterns where there is a risk of fading from high temperatures or intense sunlight. Expansion and contraction of the cork floor can occur. This is a natural consequence of changes in interior temperature and humidity as well as in the structure’s moisture content. So, expansion joints of 10-15 mm should be maintained at walls and also around pipes and door frames. Expansion joints can be covered with suitable profiles. Measure the room. If the width of the last row is less than 10 cm, saw the first and the last plank in equal length.
Installation should be carried out at normal room temperature, not bellow 15 °C, and relative humidity between 45 and 65 %.
You can join together the panels in 2 different ways: The panels can be rotated to fit into one another, with either the tongue into the groove, or the groove on to the tongue. The easiest way though, is to fit the tongue into the groove. Position the panel to be installed at an angle of 20-30 degrees to the panel already installed.
Move the panel to be fitted slightly up and down exerting forward pressure at the same time. The panels will then click into place together.
When the panels cannot be rotated into one another they can also be fitted lying flat. IMPORTANT! To do this, you need a hammer and the special tapping block. Do not use any other tapping block otherwise you may damage the panels to be fitted.
Start installing the floor on one corner, working from right to left. The first panel should be placed with the tongue side towards the wall. To ensure a perfect expansion joint, the tongues along the edges of panels that go against the wall, need to be sawn off. Now “click” the next panel rotating and pushing the tongue of a panel into the groove of previous one at an angle until both panels click together on the short side. Do this for a few panels of the first row. Make sure that panels are perfectly aligned to one another. This is very important for installing the next rows.
The last panel of first row should be shortened accordingly. The minimum length of the panel should be 30 cm. Therefore, the width of the room has to be measured before starting the installation and, if necessary, the first plank should be trimmed.
Start on the second row with the leftover piece of plank from the previous row if the plank length is at least 30 cm. If not, use a new plank, which has to be cut in the middle.
Rotate and push the tongue of the long side of the panel into the groove of one on the previous row, until both panels click together. Now take another panel and fit it on the groove of the one on the previous row leaving a space of +/- 1 cm from the short edge of the previous panel. Then tap it until the short edges of the first two panels of the second row fit together. Install the third panel of the second row.
After joining the first few panels and have got used to the technique, then use the same technique so that the first two rows are fully installed. Now push the whole unit against the wall and fill in the expansion joint (+/- 1 cm), using spacer blocks, so that you have a sturdy whole.
From the third row on, finish off each row at a time, each time joining the panel along its long edge, then along its short edge. You can use the leftover pieces that you have at the end of each row as the beginning panels of the next row. That way, you make the best possible use of each panel. Always place a weight (a pack of panels) on the joints that you have just made in order to stabilize them.
The width of the planks of the last row should have a minimum of 10 cm. Therefore, measure the length of the room before starting the installation and if needed adapt the width of the first row.
After installing your floor, you can immediately walk on it and begin the finishing process. This is one of the major benefits of the UNICLIC® system.
Remove all spacer blocks. Finish by installing skirting boards, fastened to the wall (never to the floor!).
Clean your floor using a mop, broom or vacuum cleaner. Dust and dirt behave like sanding paper and are thus to be removed immediately. If necessary (heavier soiling) the floor can be damp-mopped using an appropriate cleaning product.
The cork floor must be kept clean. Never use cleaning products with abrasive ingredients or solvent based.
A doormat should be laid inside the front door to help protect against dirt and sand.
Furniture legs should have protective pads to avoid scratches. Furniture and other heavy objects must be placed carefully.
Chair castors should be soft. For additional protection, polycarbonate mats under castor chairs should be used.
Avoid sharp or pointed objects with concentrated weight, such as high heels, on your cork floor
Prolonged contact of plasticizer-containing material (e.g. rubber, latex, plastics…) with the varnish may cause non-reversible stain of the floor.
Cork is a natural product and may tend to fade when exposed to sunlight over long periods of time. Use blinds or curtains to prevent cork fading by direct solar radiation.