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Old 07-26-2006, 08:02 PM   #1
1971 23' Safari
Hopewell , New Jersey
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Water or Vapor Barrier for Cork Floor

We purchased floating Natural Cork Flooring for our 72 Safari, we started to install and are struggling with the vapor barrier that we bought at home depot. Is the vapor barrier necessary, did anyone put cork floors in without the plastic barrier? We have been following many of the steps on the DIY episodes from last year.

I've searched the boards and can't find the info. If anyone has suggestions they will be welcomed!

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Old 07-26-2006, 08:09 PM   #2
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What type of cork is it?

I have some of the APC cork, the "Chronus" pattern. It is the click together engineered type.

You do not need to put a vapor barrier if you are laying it on top of old linoleum, vinyl, or tile.

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Old 07-26-2006, 08:43 PM   #3
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I put my entire floor on top of Rosin Paper only. No real vapor barrier like plastic sheeting or anything like that. The manufacturer did not specify underlayment, or vapor barrier. So far so good...
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Old 07-26-2006, 11:02 PM   #4
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We have some click together cork flooring that's a fall project. I was told it doesn't need a vapor barrier or foam underlayment because they use, strange as it may seem, a layer of cork on the bottom. The "unfinished" side of your flooring should have a layer of cork just like a wine bottle (OK, very few vintners actually use real cork any more but that's a different (off) topic.. and no one try to HIJACK this thread :+) The layer of cork acts as a vapor seal and should be soft enough to account for any small irregularities in the subfloor. However, more as a protective element for the subfloor I plan on using a layer of heavy roofing felt. This worked fantastic when putting down an oak floor in our living room over the existing T&G subfloor.
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Old 07-27-2006, 08:01 AM   #5
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Water vapour barrier cork flooring

Hi, I've been in the flooring industry for a long time and have completed training on laminate installation as well many other types of flooring. The biggest concern you have for any laminate or click type flooring is moisture vapour migration. To put it simply it is a plague to pretty much all floors except ceramics and carpet where the effects are less observable.

I really don't know a lot about the construction of the undercarriage of the Airstream and its capacity to retard the movement of air vapour, however relative to the cost of the vapour barrier and the little bit of hassle during installation, it is a worthwhile investment. We install a vapour barrier under every laminate or cork-laminate floor, even on concrete on the 10th floor of a high-rise, as you can never be sure of the integrity of the substrate you are going over!! From reviewing many installations where vapour barriers were not installed and looking at peeking joints of the laminate or the expansion and contraction of the joints in other natural wood products, it would be a shame to end up with uneven and unsightly floors. This is, afterall your travelling home, and after all the hard work no one wants a failure.

This may not be the answer you were looking for, and I could be completely wrong (ask my wife she'll be happy to expand), but when it comes to construction projects, I'm very conservative and have a tendancy to over design and I've done enough things twice to know that once right is better any day of the week!

Cheers and good luck!
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