How to Paint Cork Walls

Kirk Maltbee

Cork is a popular alternative as material of choice for many walls. Cork’s affordable, softens the surface of the wall by creating a cushioned texture, and is practically resistant to moisture and abrasions.

Some home or property owners may decide to paint their cork walls, a seemingly impossible task considering the wood’s inherent water resistance, but with some additional planning, the cork can be painted like any other wood while still retaining its properties.

  1. Move every piece of furniture and fixture from the room. Lay dropcloths over the floor to catch dust and paint as you work to protect the floor underneath. Plug in an electric sander outfitted with 220-grit sandpaper and sand the entire surface of each wall to be painted.

  2. Pat the walls with a dampened cloth to remove any excess sanding dust that didn’t settle to the floor during the sanding process. Load the tank on the paint sprayer with liquid latex primer and spray generous amounts of primer onto the cork walls. Allow ample time for the primer to dry.

  3. Fill a painter’s tray with liquid sealer and use the roller to roll generous amounts of sealer over the walls. Allow the sealer to dry, which may take a few hours. Fill a second painter’s tray with the latex paint in the color of your choice. Roll the paint onto the walls, working from left to right, rolling in an up-and-down motion. Allow the first coat to dry.

  4. Apply an additional coat or painting on additional desired colors. Once the walls dry, replace the furniture and fixtures back into the room and remove the dropcloths.