FAQ Cork Flooring

Frequently Asked Questions go shop

Question 21: Is the color of all cork flooring consistent?

Cork flooring is a natural material. You need to keep in mind that each cork tree sheds its cork-bark in its own unique way. Shade variations are an inherent, and attractive, characteristic of all natural products - whether cork, wood or bamboo. Color variations are to be expected. Each panel of cork bark will accept our finishing process in a similar manner, but never as an exact match. For best overall color or shade appearance you will want to intermingle your flooring from several boxes at a time. Laying out your cork floor prior to installation will ensure you get the look that is right for you.


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Question 22: Is there any formaldehyde in your products?

Our products meet the European E1 and E0 Formaldehyde Emission Standards for Green Flooring. The Formaldehyde Emission Standards is less than 0.5 mg/L. Our products have been tested at less than 0.1mg/L. In our manufacturing process we use German edible-grade water-based polyurethane adhesive that is used to process wine corks.

In fact, there is less formaldehyde in our product than there is in an apple or in a bottle of beer.


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Question 23: Does cork flooring require underlayment?

Forna cork flooring does not require underlayment. It only requires a vapor barrier in the form of a plastic sheet.



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Question 24: What makes cork such a good insulator?

The cellular nature of cork flooring allows warmth to be held in, making it a very warm flooring to walk on, even in winter months. Another aspect of the kind of insulation cork flooring provides is it is a natural sound barrier. This makes for almost silent footfalls and can have a significant quieting effect in areas which are normally associated with echoes and other distracting ambient sounds - such as in foyers and hallways.


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Question 25: Can I install my cork flooring myself?

Absolutely! If you have ever installed a laminate floor then you can install our floating floor system. Forna cork flooring comes with the UniClic locking system which makes for ease of installation.


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Question 26: I want to install cork glue down tile in my basement. Is it possible to put a cork underlayment underneath?

Certainly. This would be called a double stick installation. You may want to consider the floating cork panels which are faster and easier to install. Add that to the extra cost associated the adhesives for a double stick installation, it might even save you $$$$!


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Question 27: How does cork flooring hold up with pets and their “accidents” on the floor? Their urine has ruined my carpets?

Cork flooring may be a good choice. If pet accidents are a concern for you, we suggest you seal the joints of your cork floor with our water-based polyurethane varnish. Any extra work you do to seal against moisture will work to protect against “accidents” – of any kind.


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Question 28: How to clean cork floor?

You would care for the Forna Cork flooring just like you would care for any other floor finished with polyurethane. Regular mopping with a damp mop will be enough to keep your cork flooring clean. Avoid harsh cleaning agents. The most important thing to remember is not to use too much water in mop. Try to clear obvious messes quickly. Spills can be absorbed with a sponge or paper towel to avoid the possibility of permanent stains.


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Question 29: Can I adhere cork glue-down tiles to particle board? What adhesive you would recommend using?

Particle board is not the best subfloor to use under our cork tiles. Install a 1/4inch luan board or plywood over the particle board and glue the Forna Cork Tiles to the luan board or to the plywood with our water-based WAKOL D 3540 Cork Flooring Adhesive.


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Question 30: Can I use Forna glue-down tile as wall tile?

Yes, but don’t try it the other way around! You can use any of our glue-down tiles as wall tiles but you cannot use cork wall tile as floor tiles. Many people have used our cork tiles to produce stunning wall effects. Cork’s natural sound barrier makes it a double plus when used on walls.



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Question 31: Can Forna cork tiles be used for shower walls?

Sorry, wrong type of tile. Cork may be a versatile product but we do not recommend the cork tiles for shower walls.



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Question 32: Why should I use cork underlay for cork floating floors?

All cork floating floors incorporate some form of cork underlay in their planks. This is to add to the benefits of cork as a thermal insulator as well as an acoustic barrier. Many people believe cork underlay is not required when laying a cork floating floor. And technically it isn’t “required” to keep your warranty.

Cork underlay is used for it’s acoustic properties in multifamily housing units (condos and apartments) and it’s thermal ratings in extreme climates (northern Canada or the southern US).

A child’s play area in Seattle would use the 6mm cork underlay for sound reduction and yet a basement in Thunder Bay requires the 6mm to keep the room, and thus the rest of the house, several degrees warmer. Same product with multiple uses.

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Question 33: Is this cork glue down tile good for bathroom floors?
Answer:The flooring can be installed in a climate controlled basement over dry concrete. However, installation on concrete surfaces, below grade or in a bathroom environment will be adversely affected by moisture. Even though moisture will not affect the cork tile itself, excessive and continuous moisture presence could adversely affect the tile coating in the long run and will not be covered by the warranty.


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Question 34: Can this product be sanded?
Answer: Only the beach colors (Golden Beach, White Granite, Black Beach) can be sanded. You can simply renew the cork flooring apply few more coating of water based polyurethane.


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Question 35: What can I do to make old cork floor "come to life"?
Answer:The Forna Cork flooring can be renewed with floor grade water base polyurethane after 5-10 years. If your finish looses its' luster over time a new finish can be applied over the old finish.


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Question 36: How well does cork flooring hold up to vacuuming?
Answer:It will hold up well to a vacuum that is safe for a finish floor.


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Question 37:Is cork glue-down good for staircase?  How is it installed?
Answer:It It could be glued directly to your steps, but at this time we have no stair nosing to compliment the Forna cork flooring. You may have to use aL shape gold metal carpet transition to finish off the square edge of the treads..


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Question 38: Can I also install floating Cork on my steps?
Answer:The cork can be installed on the steps by using one of  stairnoses and gluing the floor directly to the steps using a Urethane adhesive.
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Question 39: Can cork tile be installed over sheet vinyl or linoleum tiles?
Answer:It We do not recommend this. Residue built up on the surface of the vinyl or linoleum could interfere with proper bonding of the adhesive, causing it to delaminate over time. 
     
 If you are set on installing cork tile you may follow one of these options: 

  1. Apply a new sub-floor made of plywood
  2. "Flood" with Portland base cement floor leveler
  3. Remove the existing vinyl
 

Creating a new sub-floor is often costly and time consuming. We recommend in this case that you use Forna Floating Floor as it can be installed directly over the existing floor. While a Floating Floor is a more costly material, you will save you time and money on the sub-floor preparation. Just make sure that your existing floor is level. Cork floating flooring can be install over any sub-floors but carpet as long as the sub-floors are smooth, level, and stable no loose tiles. Place 6 mil poly sheeting over the ceramic first and then install the flooring over the 6 mil poly sheeting


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Question 40: Where can I install cork in my home?

Cork can be installed anywhere in a home or office! And we mean ANYWHERE! A few simple rules will help you decide on which application is appropriate (floating flooring vs. glue down): Bathrooms and Laundry areas = Glue down application(!) Basements = Floating floor application(!) Kitchens = either application works in the most used room of the house Bedrooms/living rooms/hallways = either application will suffice Walls and ceilings = glue down application (wall tiles or glue down floor tiles) Backsplashes = glue down flooring tiles Stairs = floating flooring preferred; glue down tiles are possible but difficult


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Question 41: What type of sub-floor do I need for a floating floor?

Forna floors require the sub floor to be tightly fastened, hard, flat and sound. They can be laid directly over top old flooring if all four conditions are met.


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Question 42: Can I install a floating floor over top carpet like Berber?

No. Carpet and carpet underlay are not considered “hard, flat and sound”. The carpet must be removed, the sub-floor inspected and repaired before any rigid flooring can be installed.


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Question 43: What type of sub-floor do I need to install glue down cork tiles?

The acceptable substrates are as follows: Smooth-side-up plywood (must be sub-floor grade) that is ¾ of an inch thick. Cement: must be above or at grade - NEVER below ground(!); moisture testing must occur before any floor covering is installed; consult a local cement slab expert about testing methods Cementitious materials: cement backer board, Portland based patching or self levelling compounds Luan board: only as a last resort and only when properly fastened to the floor - luan board is known for its unstable characteristics that may cause imperfections in your floor’s finish over time; the manufacturer takes no responsibility for imperfections in the floor when luan board is used


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Question 44: Can I use OSB or chip board under a glue down cork floor?

No. Not as a surface that will come in contact with the Wakol D
3540 Cork Adhesive. OSB and chip board are finished/made up of wax or solvent based adhesives. These materials will prevent the Wakol D3540 from adhering to the sub-floor and the floor will begin to lift within hours.


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Question 45: Can I use another form of adhesive with the glue down tiles?

No. The Wakol D3540 Cork adhesive is a water based contact cement flooring adhesive. Forna cork tiles have been designed to work with the D3540. There are no other known options for the United States, at this time. Canadians can contact iCork Floor LLC to investigate other sources for water based contact cement adhesives available in Canada.


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Question 46: What happens if I use another type of glue?

You loose your warranty Floor failure is your most likely outcome Several people, mostly professionals, have attempted to use solvent based adhesives - much to their disappointment. Solvent adhesives will eat through Forna cork tiles; producing something in the way of “Cork Oatmeal”. This occurs within hours of the application.


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Question 47: Why do I need to site-finish my factory-finished cork floor?

A glue down cork floor requires 2-3 coats of water based polyurethane to produce a water proof floor. The water based polyurethane is required for another reason: tile shrinkage. Cork floors (glue down and floating flooring) have the potential to shrink over time. An unsealed glue down floor will begin to show its seams inside of the first 3-5 years. After 8-9 years without a finish, a glue down cork floor will begin to fail. Dirt and water will have infiltrated to the sub floor and the adhesive will be compromised.

A floating cork floor has some of the same issues, but the evidence of seams is reduced because of their construction. A floating floor requires refreshing (a coat of water based polyurethane) every 3-7 years depending on use and personal tastes.


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Question 48: Why do I have to use Loba Supra on my glue down cork floor?

Germany’s Loba Supra WS 2K floor finish is one of the few finishes that can compliment the elasticity of cork. The glue down tiles are extremely flexible which means they require a finish that will move and flex in the same manner as cork. Forna has investigated several finishes over the years. We have tried other formulations - without much success.

Other floor finishes, aside from one or two others (contact iCork Floor or iCork Floor for recommendations) have proven disastrous to the Forna finish. Most finishes simply peel off, like a sunburn. Several products from Bona have caused chemical reactions which include bubbling and peeling of both finishes - resulting in the cork being exposed and the failure of the adhesive in the cork itself and thus causing the cork to crumble and spontaneously break free.


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Question 49: Does cork fade in sunlight?

Yes. Just like it’s cousin, the oak, cork oak bark fades when exposed to UV light. Direct sunlight produces the most dramatic changes whereas indirect sunlight will also have an effect. Forna natural cork floors show the greatest changes. Coloured, or stained cork, is more likely to retain it’s colour for a much longer frame of time. An amazing bonus when purchasing any cork with a white finish is it becomes BRIGHTER! The white does not yellow, it whitens! A lovely change, to be sure.

In North America, we are used to seeing wood flooring darken. This is not the wood, it is the finish. Solvent based finishes (also known as “oil based”) cause the ambering we are so familiar with. In fact, the wood underneath lightens just as it should, but the darkening of the solvent finish hides this fading. Only after you strip you beautiful, amber oak floors do you realize you are left with wood that is so blond it could be classified as “white”.


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