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How to Seal Cork Tiles

Kittie McCoy

Cork tiles are available in both finished and unfinished varieties. Finished cork tiles have already been sealed and do not require any additional steps to protect the floor after installation. Unfinished tiles do require some sort of sealant in order to protect the floor against staining and damage.

One benefit of unfinished tiles is that they can be stained to match your home decor. When sealing cork tiles, wait at least five days after the tile installation to ensure that the adhesive has completely set and bonded the tiles to the floor.

  1. Sand any uneven spots on the cork floor with 150-grit sandpaper. You need to sand only rough or uneven parts -- do not sand the entire floor.

  2. Stain unfinished cork tiles with a water-based stain, if desired. Rub the stain onto the tiles with a soft cloth until the desired color has been achieved. You will not be able to stain the tiles after you apply the final sealant.

  3. Allow the stain to dry completely and do not walk on the floor while it is still wet. The stain should take about 24 hours to dry.

  4. Use a paint roller to apply a coat of water-based clear coat polyurethane to the cork tiles. The polyurethane will protect the cork from spills and damage while rendering the surface smooth and easy to clean. Allow the polyurethane to dry overnight.

  5. Sand the dry polyurethane with 220-grit sandpaper to smooth out any small bumps or bubbles in the clear coat. Wipe away all of the dust created during sanding with a clean rag.

  6. Apply two more coats of polyurethane to the cork tiles. Allow each coat to dry completely and sand the floor after each application.