Adhesive to glue down sheet cork

Discussion in 'Cork Flooring Q&A' started by Mike Antonetti, Aug 8, 2015.

  1. Mike Antonetti

    Mike Antonetti I Support TFP Senior Member

    Just wanting to know the different types of adhesive and the advantages of each, also the knotch trowel. Are there any earth friendly adhesives? A new pressure sensitive adhesive we used for hardwood says it can be used for cork, and LVP. Urethanes are ok? And then removal at a later date, I'm sure I could scrape and grind.
  2. Hi Mike. Today's cork glue down tiles all have the same thing in common: they require water based contact cement adhesives...NO TROWELS!!! The one's I'm most familiar with:

    Wakol D3540 Cork Adhesive ($60/gallon = 180sf laid cork floor)
    Roberts R1030 Contact Adhesive ($70-$85/gallon = 170sf laid cork)
    LePage "Pres-Tite" Low-Odour contact cement adhesive ($40/1.5L = 65sf laid cork...available only in Canada)
    3M 30N Adhesive (comes in temperature/moisture resistant formulas = $100+/gallon = 170sf laid cork)

    Those that DON'T work: DAP!!!!! So many sad stories with DAP...don't even try....leave it on the shelf.

    I've seen 1 (one) Mapei Eco810 Pressure Sensitive adhesive accident. The "tacky" install was used (not quite fully dry) for a permanent bond. In theory the "dry stick" will work as a pressure sensitive method (roll adhesive onto the subfloor and onto the back of the tile...again NO TROWEL). The Mapei Eco810 is a water based it works with most glue down cork tiles. It must be worked either A) pressure sensitive application or; B) tacky install for a permanent install.

    I don't want to say that pressure sensitive works...because I haven't seen it done. In theory, so long as you work with water based adhesives, you should be OK....but not many people are looking for a semi-permanent cork floor. A glue down floor should cost the same as PORCELAIN TILE install (very labour intensive)...which begs the question: Why would you want to spend all the money for a semi-permanent installation.

    The one thing cork tile doesn't like = getting WET! That's why a trowel on and "wet stick" doesn't work. It looks GREAT for 12 hours...and then 90% of the tiles curl by the time you come back to the job site the next day. The only fix = buy the owner a new floor.

    I see the "wet stick" oopsa several times per month...'cause no one realizes it MUST BE a contact cement application. Water based adhesives are a MUST!!!

    Cork is being produced using 100% polyurethane binders in a water bourne solution...these will disolve if a harsh/solvent based adhesive is used. The end result = cork "oatmeal" that you clean up with a shovel....not fun....not pretty. The fix = buy the owner a new floor.

    Mike, you are welcome to email me if you want to have a chat. This is a tricky form of install but well worth the learning curve. Remember: do NOT under-bid this process. It is an expensive installation...don't offer a low ball bid. A glue down cork is a very, very, very long process. That's why you get to ask the same labour costs as a PORCELAIN TILE install (in Canada = $6-$12/sf...NY also has this level of install costs BTW).
  3. Mike Antonetti

    Mike Antonetti I Support TFP Senior Member

    Thanks Stephanie, wow, I was unaware. The product I was looking at is at Lowes in the roll form, basically designed for noise suppression. They keep putting this product on clearance, then bring it back thinking someone will use it. It's not used much around here as most homes are single level. Appreciate the info.
  4. So cork UNDERLAY is normally loose laid under floating floors or glued down under glue-in-place hardwood (double stick). This is a different entity that glue down cork tiles.

    A basic "wood adhesive" trowelled on will work with cork underlay. The cork will need to "dry" (24 hours) before you glue down wood over top...but that isn't anything new.

    The thin 3mm cork underlay requires a smaller trowel (the glue will squish through if you go with too deep a trowel tooth). Some weight over top while it dries and it is done.
  5. Mike Antonetti

    Mike Antonetti I Support TFP Senior Member

    This is 1/4" rolls, I've only seen it recommended for ceramic tile years ago. But that's excellent information for floating and Hardwood install. It went from .80 cent a ft. to .32, I try to work good deals into any projects that come up.
  6. If you can get 1/4" cork underlay for $.32/sf... you should simply purchase and store! That is an awesome deal!!!!

    The rolls will lose 10% of their square footage because of the internal "roll" (you can steam them out with a boiling kettle...but who has the time). Most guys simply cut out the inner "roll" and then discard. It isn't worth their time fiddling with the last few square feet.

    A handy guy will take that discard home and carefully steam it loose...but that has to be something you want to do.

    The reason we went to "sheets" = NO waste like the rolls. I say take anything you can get at this price tag. World cork prices are going up.
  7. Incognito

    Incognito No more Mr. Nice Guy! I Support TFP Senior Member


    I done a few wet installs many. MANY years ago so the relevance to today's adhesives is probably nonexistent. Last few cork installs were with adhesives of VERY high quality pressure sensitive. So you allowed it to fully "flash" or tack up and then laid it like any resilient tile into such a glue. Only difference I recall was a couple or three hour WORKING TIME so we spread only what could be laid, cut and rolled with the 100 lbs roller within that specified time frame.

    Beautiful stuff---------CORK. I love it.
  8. Mike Antonetti

    Mike Antonetti I Support TFP Senior Member

    So I picked up a couple rolls and saving it for an apocalypse. They have two more rolls that are damaged, have to see if they'll drop price even further.

    Attached Files:

  9. seamsealer

    seamsealer Pro Member

    I remember doing cork underlament in a condo in Daytona Beach. The purpose was to keep the noise down when they installed ceramic. They didn't want the people walking around and the condo below to hear a lot of noise.

    Cork floors I did used a pressure sensitive adhesive and it had to dry before you install. It was recommended that the back of the 12x12 cork tiles be flat troweled with the same adhesive and make sure it was dry before you install. We used to let the tiles dry for 24 hours. When you put one down, it had to be straight or you were in trouble. The good old days.
  10. Incognito

    Incognito No more Mr. Nice Guy! I Support TFP Senior Member

    Not to change the subject too much but they've got VCT glue that's essentially the same as you describe --(contact cement). There's no "play" once the tile hits the glue. You can't even slide it in tight, let alone BANG snug the couple tiles next by. Lay one the wrong direction, chipped corner, defect or not correctly snug at all seams you need to burn it out with a torch and it's toast.

    The contact cement method----buttering the floor and back of the goods can make a lot of sense when compared to some of the alternative adhesive systems with really unworkable installation instructions as far as trowel size, open time, working time and substrate requirements. For all their time consuming "solutions" you could have just contacted the goods down and be done with it.
  11. Mike Antonetti

    Mike Antonetti I Support TFP Senior Member

    So I now have 10 rolls,(1000 ft.) I bought 4 more rolls today at .10 cent a ft.

    I will probably try to sell on Craigslist for .30 cent a ft.

    I just gave my brother couple hundred feet of marble, couple hundred hardwood that I bought but decided not to use.

    Attached Files:

  12. Pretty sweet purchase Mike:yesss:. I certainly can't compete with 0.30/sf cork underlay, let alone 0.10/sf. Total score.:cool:

    Just remember: when dealing with rolls of cork you will "loose" the last few feet of the roll because of the curl. It works out to be 10% waste...or some such thing.

    You can get after the last few feet if you are willing to sit and "steam" out the inner curl....but no one bothers. It is cheaper to cull it and buy more (cost of helper sitting on his arse steaming out curly cork = not worth the money).
  13. Mike Antonetti

    Mike Antonetti I Support TFP Senior Member

    Yes Steph. I was thinking about that and how a lot of products are turning into sheet verse roll. Laminate underlayment. Welded wire fabric for slabs/concrete pour, safer so it doesn't cut or curl up, easier to place.

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