How to Refinish Cork Floor Tiles? 

Refinishing cork floor tiles is an easy and inexpensive way to freshen up your home’s interior. However, it’s important to know the right steps and equipment to get the job done correctly. 

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First, determine if the tile is a floating floor or a glue-down style. If it is a floating floor, you may be able to simply remove the existing finish and install a new one. If it is a glue-down, you’ll need to refinish the floor before using it again. 

Before refinishing, prepare the surface with fine sandpaper or a drywall screen to de-gloss it and open pores for the polyurethane to bond properly. You’ll also need to sand away any old wax or other finishing products that have built up over the years. 

Once the surface is free of any residue, you can sand the cork floor with a hand sander or an electric sander fitted with 150-220 grit sandpaper or a drywall screening. Sanding the floors this way will leave a smooth surface ready for the next step in the process. 

Spot Repairing

If the cork floor has minor scratches, dents, or gouges, you can fill them with a wood filler and then coat them with a clear sealant. You can buy wood filler kits in specialized stores. 

The type of wood filler you use will depend on the damage and the kind of wood used to make the original cork floor. For example, if the cork was a type of hardwood, you can use a wood filler that is made from the same species. 

Wax Finishes

A wax finish is another popular option for cork flooring, but it is more time-consuming than other finishes and may not work well with busy households. You’ll need to strip and reapply the wax about every six months to a year. 

Resealing with Polyurethane

Most cork floors are sealed with a water-based polyurethane that protects them from moisture, stains, and wear. It requires regular maintenance and should be resealed every three to ten years, depending on the amount of abuse it receives. 

Refinishing and Resealing with Wax

A wax-based finish is a more durable method than polyurethane, but it does require regular maintenance and should be reapplied every six months to a year. It can be a great way to add a layer of protection to your floor but can also make the surface dull if not maintained properly. 

Cleaning & Maintaining Your Cork Floor

Because cork is so absorbent, it’s best to avoid wearing shoes on the floor and keep door sweeps at least a foot above the ground. Additionally, be sure to vacuum your floor as often as possible to catch grit that could otherwise scratch the finish. 

When the floor isn’t in heavy use, it should be kept dry to prevent damage from moisture and humidity. In addition, it’s a good idea to clean your floors with an oil-free cleaner such as Bona’s.