Among the many benefits of Eco Cork Foam Underlayment is its simple installation and compatibility with a variety of flooring products. That said, there are a lot of products on the market these days, and with each product comes a seemingly unique set of manufacturer requirements that often confuse users. The following are some of the more frequent questions we see that pertain specifically to installation. Perhaps they relate to your project. If not, feel free to contact us anytime.
Can you use ECF Underlayment in a nail-down application? Is it ok to drive nails through it?
ECF is approved for use with nail-down hardwood products including solid and engineered wood flooring. Because this assumes that a wood subfloor is in place, this installation would not require taped seams. In other words, in such applications, when applying ECF to the wood subfloor, do not use the supplied adhesive strips to fasten the subsequent pieces together. This will allow the moisture vapor from the wood subfloor to dissipate.
When using ECF Underlayment, what kind of tape is recommended for use around the perimeter or to adjoin the ends of each roll?
The answer to this question depends on the type of subfloor you have. If your subfloor is concrete, we recommend using waterproof duct tape to seal the ends or to tape down the perimeter. If your subfloor is wood, no tape is required or recommended. In fact, tape can impede necessary moisture dissipation from the subfloor.
Do I need to staple the underlayment to the subfloor?
Approved methods of installation for ECF include floating or nail-/staple-down applications. The good news is that stapling is not necessary. Likewise, stapling will not harm the product. A “floating” installation, in which the underlayment is not affixed to the subfloor, is typical and may even save valuable time.
Can ECF be used with glue down applications?
No, we do not recommend the use of any glue with ECF Underlayment.
Can ECF be used over existing ceramic tiles as a subfloor with new vinyl plank flooring?
This answer depends on the product being installed. If the vinyl plank flooring is greater than 5mm thick, then ECF will work well. In fact, it will help level out grout lines, uneven tiles and other minor imperfections. ECF Underlayment is designed to perform with vinyl plank, laminate (with and without attached pad), and solid and engineered wood floors.
Can ECF be installed with radiant flooring systems?
ECF is approved for use with radiant flooring systems on both concrete and wood subfloors. We recommend maintaining a temperature below 81 degrees F or 27 degrees C and encourage users to follow the manufacturer’s guidelines for radiant flooring applications.
ECF instructions recommend leaving seams unsealed for wood subfloors. My flooring installer says otherwise. What should I do?
If you are working with a wood subfloor, we recommend that ECF be installed with the overlapping vapor barrier unsealed. In this case, you would not use the peel-and-stick tape. Leaving these seams covered but not sealed will provide the necessary breathability that wood subfloors need. Only with a concrete subfloor do we recommend sealing the overlapping vapor barrier.
Why does ECF suggest that the 6-mil vapor barrier be installed facing up when other underlayment products say to place the vapor barrier down first?
Eco Cork Foam is unique in that it is the only underlayment available with an attached 6 mil vapor barrier. While the product can be installed facing up or down, we suggest installing ECF with the vapor barrier facing up for a few reasons. First, when the foam/cork is laid on top of the concrete, it will help smooth out minor imperfections in the subfloor. Second, when the vapor barrier is facing up, it provides a smooth, level surface for easier flooring installation. Many contractors and installers appreciate the ability to walk on the film and glide the flooring planks easily on the surface. When installing ECF over a concrete subfloor, whether up or down, you will need to tape the vapor barrier using the pre-taped seams.
Do you have a question for the ECF experts? Why not reach out and ask? We’re here in Louisberg, North Carolina, and happy to help answer questions or provide support whenever you need it. Contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org or 855-810-8922.
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ECF is manufactured in North Carolina by Palziv, North America. Palziv brings together world-class science and engineering to deliver innovative products, materials and services for the construction, building, automotive, recreational, medical and packaging industries. Every day, we strive to grow our community, working with others to seek sustainable, innovative, market-driven solutions that promote better, safer, and healthier lifestyles and protect the environment for generations to come.