Replacing Damaged Or Missing Cork Floor Tiles

Technical Procedures Disclaimer

Prior to inclusion in GSA’s library of procedures, documents are reviewed by one or more qualified preservation specialists for general consistency with the Secretary of Interior Standards for rehabilitating historic buildings as understood at the time the procedure is added to the library. All specifications require project-specific editing and professional judgement regarding the applicability of a procedure to a particular building, project or location. References to products and suppliers are to serve as a general guideline and do not constitute a federal endorsement or determination that a product or method is the best or most current alternative, remains available, or is compliant with current environmental regulations and safety standards. The library of procedures is intended to serve as a resource, not a substitute, for specification development by a qualified preservation professional.


We’ve reviewed these procedures for general consistency with federal standards for rehabilitating historic buildings and provide them only as a reference. Specifications should only be applied under the guidance of a qualified preservation professional who can assess the applicability of a procedure to a particular building, project or location. References to products and suppliers serve as general guidelines and do not constitute a federal endorsement nor a determination that a product or method is the best alternative or compliant with current environmental regulations and safety standards.



  1. This procedure includes guidance on the replacement of all cracked, broken, worn, curled or missing cork tiles with new to match existing. This includes the removal of cementitious patching materials. This procedure may also be used for the installation of a new cork tile floor to match the original design and configuration.
  2. See "General Project Guidelines" for general project guidelines to be reviewed along with this procedure. These guidelines cover the following sections:
    1. Safety Precautions
    2. Historic Structures Precaution
    3. Submittals
    4. Quality Assurance
    5. Delivery, Storage and Handling
    6. Project/Site Conditions
    7. Sequencing and Scheduling
    8. General Protection (Surface and Surrounding)
      These guidelines should be reviewed prior to performing this procedure and should be followed, when applicable, along with recommendations from the Regional Historic Preservation Officer (RHPO).


  1. Product Data: Submit manufacturer's technical data for each type of synthetic flexible composite flooring and accessory.
  2. Samples for Initial Selection Purposes: Submit manufacturer's standard color charts in form of actual sections of synthetic flexible composite flooring, including accessories, showing full range of colors and patterns available for each type of synthetic flexible composite flooring required.
  3. Samples for Verification Purposes: Submit the following samples of each type, color and pattern of synthetic flexible composite flooring required, showing full range of color and pattern variations.
    1. Full size tile samples.
    2. Other materials as requested
  4. Certification for Fire Test Performance: Submit certification from an independent testing laboratory acceptable to authorities having jurisdiction that synthetic flexible composite flooring complies with fire test performance requirements.
  5. Maintenance Instructions: Submit two copies of your manufacturer's recommended maintenance practices for each type of synthetic flexible composite flooring and accessory required.
  6. Work Description: Prior to commencing the work, Contractor shall submit to the Contracting Officer's representative a written description of the entire methods and procedures proposed for all the work to be carried out including, but not limited to, preparation of substrate, cutting out existing tiles, replacement, installation of new tiles and cleaning of existing tiles.
  7. Methods of Protection: Prior to commencing cleaning operations, the Contractor shall submit to the Contracting Officer's representative for review a written description of proposed materials and methods of protection for preventing damage to adjacent materials and the building interior during the cleaning and replacement of the cork tiles.


  1. The general objective of the installation of new cork tiles is to recreate the original design intent of the primary historic spaces. Refer to the original design drawings, historic photographs or physical evidence remaining in the building for the installation patterns.
  2. The general objective for replacement of cork floor tiles is to match the existing floor color, pattern and the existing floor tiles, and all other respects so that the new floor tiles are not visible in the overall view of the floors.
  3. The general objectives for cleaning the cork tile floor are to remove dirt, grime and protective coatings from the surface without damaging the underlying material, and to give all the flooring a clean uniform appearance.
  4. Contractor:
    1. The work of this section shall be performed by an installer who is certified in writing by the cork tile manufacturer as qualified to complete the scope of work described.
    2. Work in this section shall be performed by a Contractor possessing a minimum of three (3) years of specialized experience in the installation of synthetic flexible composite flooring. The Contractor shall submit to the Contracting Officer's representative references of previous work justifying the firm's experience. The Contracting Officer's representative reserves the right to approve or disapprove the use of the Contractor contingent on the firm's experience.
  5. In the event that a Contractor wishes to modify any methods specified in this section, he shall submit his proposal in writing for consideration and review. The Contracting Officer's representative will have the right to ask for samples before final approval. Any such modifications or changes shall be a no additional cost to the Government.
  6. Regulatory Requirements:
    1. Comply with municipal and Federal regulations governing the cleaning, chemical waste disposal, scaffolding protection to adjacent properties and workers.
    2. Refer to Federal Government Specification Section 01546, Health and Safety, and comply with all the section requirements.
  7. Samples: The Contractor shall clean a 4'-0" by 4'-0" bay of the existing cork floor tile on each different color for review by the Contracting Officer's representative. Locations of sample floor bays to be selected by the Contracting Officer's representative. These cleaned cork floor tile bays are to be protected by the Contractor and will be used for matching replacement cork floor tiles.
  8. The Contractor shall prepare a sample bay, approximately 4'-0" by 4'-0", of repla= ced cork floor tile. The sample bay should be made to match the existing cleaned adjacent cork floor tile in all respects. The Contracting Officer's representative shall select the location for the sample of replaced cork floor tile.


  1. Environmental Requirements: Maintain minimum temperature of 65 F (18 C) in spaces to receive synthetic flexible composite flooring for at least 48 hours prior to installation, during installation and for not less than 48 hours after installation. Store synthetic flexible composite flooring materials in spaces where they will be installed for at least 48 hours before beginning installation. Subsequently, maintain minimum temperature of 55 F (13 C) in areas where work is completed.
    1. Coordinating Work: Install synthetic flexible composite flooring and accessories after other finishing operations, including painting, have been completed.


  1. The contractor shall guarantee and maintain the cork tile floors in good condition for a period of two years.


  1. Extra Stock:
    1. Deliver stock of maintenance materials to Government. Furnish maintenance materials from same manufactured lot as materials installed and enclosed in protective packaging with appropriate identifying labels.
    2. Tile Flooring: furnish not less than one box for each 50 boxes, or fraction thereof, for each type, color, pattern and size installed.


  1. ECORE Commercial Flooring
    P.O. Box 4944
    Lancaster, PA 17604-4944
  2. Permagrain Products, Inc.
    22 West State Street
    Media, PA 19063


  1. Cork Floor Tiles such as Dodge Cork (ECORE Commercial Flooring, Inc.), "Cork-o-plast" (Permagrain Products, Inc.), or approved equal; color and pattern selected to be consistent with existing cork tile flooring.
    1. Cork tile shall be not less than 5/16" thick, weighting not less than 18 ounces per square foot, made of the best quality of clear cork shavings.
    2. The cork shall have no added cementing or coloring materials and must be free from all foreign substances, be thoroughly consolidated under heavy pressure, and thoroughly baked.
    3. The tile must be free from pits and be impervious.
  2. Adhesives (Cements): Waterproof stabilized-type to be recommended by the manufacturer of the synthetic flexible composite flooring to be installed.
  3. Concrete Slab Primer: Non-staining type as recommended by the flooring manufacturer.
  4. Leveling and Patching Compounds: Latex-type as recommended by the manufacturer.



  1. Verification of Conditions:
    1. Require installer to inspect subfloor surfaces to determine that they are satisfactory. A satisfactory subfloor surface is defined as one that is smooth and free from cracks, holes, ridges, coatings preventing adhesive bond, and other defects impairing performance or appearance.
    2. Work shall not proceed until the subfloor surfaces have had all dirt, foreign matter, old mastics and adhesives removed.


  1. Surface Preparation: Prepare subfloor surfaces as follows:
    1. Use leveling and patching compounds as recommended by synthetic flexible composite flooring manufacturer for filling small cracks, holes and depressions in subfloors.
    2. Remove coatings from subfloor surfaces that would prevent adhesive bond, including curing compounds incompatible with flooring adhesives, paint, oils, waxes and sealers.
    3. Broom clean or vacuum surfaces to be covered and inspect subfloor.


  1. General:
    1. Install synthetic flexible composite flooring using method indicated in strict compliance with manufacturer's printed instructions. Extend synthetic flexible composite flooring into toe spaces, door reveals, and into closets and similar openings.
    2. Scribe, cut and fit synthetic flexible composite flooring to permanent fixtures, built-in furniture and cabinets, pipes, outlets and permanent columns, walls and partitions.
    3. Tightly cement synthetic flexible composite flooring to sub-base without open cracks, voids, raising and puckering at joints, telegraphing of adhesive spreader marks or other surface imperfections. Hand roll synthetic flexible composite flooring at perimeter of each coveredarea to assure adhesion.
  2. Installation of Tile Floors:
    1. Lay tile from center marks established with principal walls, discounting minor offsets, so that tile at opposite edges of room area of equal width. Adjust as necessary to avoid use of cut widths less than one-half tile at room perimeters. Lay tile square to room axis, unless otherwise shown.
    2. Match tiles for color and pattern by using tile from cartons in same sequence as manufactured and packaged if so numbered. Cut tile neatly around all fixtures. Broken, cracked, chipped or deformed tiles are not acceptable.
      1. Lay tile to follow the existing floor tile pattern or as recommended in the original drawings.
    3. Cork tile shall be laid in waterproof cement, thoroughly weighted with sand bags until cement is set. Adhere tile flooring to substrate using full spread of adhesive applied in compliance with flooring manufacturer's directions.
    4. At completion, tile shall be sand papered and rubbed to an even polished surface.


  1. Perform the following operations immediately upon completion of synthetic flexible composite flooring:
    1. Sweep or vacuum floor thoroughly.
    2. Do not wash floor until time period recommended by synthetic flexible composite flooring manufacturer has elapsed to allow synthetic flexible composite flooring to become well sealed in adhesive.
    3. Damp mop floor being careful to remove black marks and excessive soil.
    4. Remove any excess adhesive or other surface blemishes, using appropriate cleaner recommended by synthetic flexible composite flooring manufacturers.


  1. Apply protective floor polish to synthetic flexible composite flooring surfaces free from soil, excess adhesive or surface blemishes. Use commercially available metal cross-linked acrylic product acceptable to synthetic flexible composite flooring manufacturer.