This is a story about Cork Tile that I installed solo in my client’s condominium home in the ever popular Arcadia neighborhood of Phoenix, Arizona. The photo gallery directly below are of the three areas (Master Bedroom, Back Bedroom and Living Room) as I saw them upon my initial consultation with the client. Photo captions describe what a few of my considerations were at the time. These are some Before photos.
The first order of business is to inspect the cork tile for quantity, quality, style and color as I deliver the customer’s product. This is part of the due diligence I perform before starting the subfloor preparation work. I like to get in front of any potential problems to avoid surprises. Check out the gallery for more wisdom.
Anytime I plan to bond floor covering to a subfloor (especially a concrete subfloor, as in this case) I mechanically abrade (clean) the surface. Before I set out to complete the task I strategically clean a number of four to nine square foot sections throughout the project so I may confidently perform Calcium Chloride moisture vapor emission (MVE) and pH tests. MVE testing is a manufacturer requirement to maintain their product warranties, but for the other reasons why you should consider this, check out this page- Concrete Moisture Testing: Why it Matters.
When I plan to bond floor covering to a subfloor I mechanically abrade the surface. Cleaning is the first of the four-step subfloor preparation process: Clean, Dry, Flat & Smooth (CDFS) are the four critical subfloor preparation aspects relevant to the long term success of a floor covering installation. It’s vitally important to remove all surface contaminants and bond breakers. Even the often overlooked invisible, concrete curing compounds, commonly used in the desert heat.
Opening the pores of the concrete in order to create a favorable surface profile and achieve superior adhesion is crucial. The abrading process helps me get up close and personal as I move the hand grinder along the subfloor; as a direct result I not only clean, but smooth the floor at the same time. At that point I can then make an initial, confident flatness determination through sight and feel.
At this stage of the project I determine and/or correct not only CDFS but also determine and correct subfloor integrity, transition heights and undercut any vertical abutments that can be, so that I’m able to fit the floor underneath.
In this chapter I touch on layout lines, application of the adhesive, setting the tile, finishing to obstructions and transitions.
The following photos in this chapter show the installed cork tile floor in various stages of coating. They are a bit redundant but the idea being, a wet urethane finish looks very different after it has dried. A client once said to me, “only a fool judges work before it is completed”. I don’t believe that to always be the case but it probably is in this instance.