Humps in subfloor

Discussion in 'Cork Flooring Q&A' started by Darren Ramey, Aug 11, 2015.

  1. Darren Ramey

    Darren Ramey Charter Member

    The skinny: This floor was installed 8 years ago, and not by me. They had a dishwasher leak and now have a couple humps in the subfloor under the cork. The cork is glued down. It is in the house of the mill rep for the company that produces the cork. It's a kitchen, dining room and living room over 800' total.

    I've installed quite a bit of this stuff now, but have no experience when it comes to repairs. They still make the same style and color, but to my eye it looks like the kitchen has faded a bit more than other areas. I can't imagine that patching in some new tiles would look good.

    I'm pretty sure I already know the answer to this, but is there any chance to affect a repair without destroying the cork, or does he just need to get in touch with his insurance company?

    Attached Files:

  2. Mike Antonetti

    Mike Antonetti I Support TFP Senior Member

    Darren, If Stephanie doesn't catch this post, PM her. She Knows Cork.

    Looks nice, not sure if I like the seams, well no I don't like the seams.
  3. Bud Cline

    Bud Cline Tile Expert Charter Member Senior Member Published

    Guessing the tiles were installed over 1/4" underlayment and hopefully that is all that has been effected. Just depends on how long the water set down below. Based on the size of the "humps" I doubt the subfloor has much damage. It just looks like 1/4 Luaun doing what Luaun does best.

    No, I don't see any way to save the cork, or any reason to. This is why God created insurance companies.:yesss:
  4. seamsealer

    seamsealer Pro Member

    Water leak, not good. Looks like the 1/4" swelled up. Could try to use scribing pins for scribes. They are about 1" long and thin, but strong. Go in at an angle and nail set the pins below the cork. May or may not work, but it can't be any worse than what he's got now.
    If tiles, remove the tiles and the plywood and replace with new in that area. Just a patch.
  5. I'm not liking the seams on this floor. As an aside, a cork glue down tile should be site-finished so that the seams don't get dirty/nasty like this (for an 8 year old floor, the seams are looking "normal" for a floor that never received the site-finish = dirty and grimy = never get rid of it without lots of time and several tooth brushes).

    To me, it looks like the plywood subfloor is the problem. It is possible the tiles are lifting because the adhesive used is a water based adhesive and the soaking caused problems with the bond.

    Either way, you should be looking at lifting the effected tiles (probably can't be saved) to have a peak at the subfloor. The "faded" vs "non-faded" shouldn't be an "issue" (not for you anyway). This is normal for a cork repair and should be "ignored" (by you). The two floors will "even out" over a few years and in another 4-5 years there shouldn't be much difference.

    Not all clients like to "see" the colour difference, but that isn't a "product" is normal. The homeowners can choose how much they will remove/replace beyond the "damage". This then becomes a decision that can only be made by the personalities living with the cork. Technically this floor is easily repairable. The "colour" variation is not a "problem" with the cork.

    I would look to the insurance company immediately. This is not a quick patch and gone. It is 'easy' to do...but the costs can get up there = insurance time.

    To remove damaged cork tiles, you will "score" the center of the tiles with a "cross" and then using a putty knife and a HEAT GUN (heat will help loosen the glue), you will pry off the tiles.

    The reason the tiles can't be saved = HEAT GUNS melt the finish on the tiles/scortch the cork itself. It would nice if you can pry the tile away without damaging the one next to it...but it probably won't happen. That's why you score the tile in middle and then rip out from the center. The scored tile will be thrown out anyway, so scortching it won't matter.

    Once you remove a few tiles, you might be able to remove others without damage...but don't count on it.

    Assess the subfloor, patch/repair as needed and then glue down cork tiles as per manufacturer's specifications...and ASK about the site finishing. The old tiles NEED IT some time very, very soon.

    I would give the clients the "good news" the manufacturer still makes the product (very rare) and that a replacement (probably requires new subfloor as well) is possible. Let them know there is going to be a colour difference for a while but the two cork floors should even out over time (you may or may not want to get into should be the manufacturer who explains this bit).

    Suggest they contact the insurance because you are PRETTY sure the subfloor is the problem and not the cork itself.
  6. Feel free to send me the maker/specs on this floor and I can do some digging to see the process for refinishing (many installers/sales people miss this step). To me, the two different thickness tiles = Globus cork = specialty order.

    I'm seeing some "wear through" of the finish as well. An cork finish (urethane/polyurethane) will last 5-7 years. This tells me they need more finish on the remaining floor.

    Drop me a line if you like...I'll see what I can dig up for your.
  7. Nate Hall

    Nate Hall Types With Elbows Senior Member Published

    Steph, Couldn't one try a UV ("grow light") light to even up the sun fading? Just a thought.
  8. Yep...the more UV you throw at the patched part of a cork floor, the faster it will fade.

    Example: A DIRECT sunlight "puddle" will turn the very lightest shade of pale (Marilyn Munroe blond) inside of 3 months. A high powered UV lamp, in place for a few days (continuous 24 hours worth of rays) should get them much closer to the 8 year old tiles...but you have to keep an eye on it.

    Too hot = not good for the finish. Too much UV and the floor will fade too quickly.
  9. Nate Hall

    Nate Hall Types With Elbows Senior Member Published

    I saw some LED grow lights at heat.
  10. Floor Boss

    Floor Boss Flooring Professional and Mgr. I Support TFP

    Insurance companies generally do not cover leaks that have been on-going. I inspected a fiberback vinyl install for a client's concern about a bubble. When I lifted it to investigate, the smell (mold/mildew) was atrocious!! All black under half of her kitchen. She called her insurance while I was there and because it wasn't an immediate hose failure or something catastrophic, they would not even file a claim for her.
    She ended up having a contractor make the repairs and us doing a brand new install at her expense.
    It was heart breaking!
  11. Mike Antonetti

    Mike Antonetti I Support TFP Senior Member

    That is my concern with floating floors.

    Not sure if it was fastened properly. If it were nailed 6" O.C., and 2" perimeter I don't believe it would hump like that, or if improper fasteners/too deep, etc.

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