Can You Paint Cork Floor Tiles? Should You?

Cork tiles are amazing to look at and warm when you walk on them. They are also surprisingly good when used as flooring. But can they be painted? If yes, should you? We've gathered information on the web, and here's what we found.

Yes, you can color your cork floor tiles, but you must make specific preparations. Some cork tiles have an uneven surface finish, so you must smooth and level them before applying paint.

You should also test a small portion of the tile to ensure the color will adhere to the surface after drying.

Now that you know that painting a cork floor tile is possible read more to find out how to paint it and what kind of color. This article answers common questions about cork flooring and delves into the pros and cons of cork tiles. With that said, let's dive in!

ceramic tile, cork and parquet wooden flooring samples for home interior remodel - Can You Paint Cork Floor Tiles Should You

Painting Cork Floor Tiles

Large bright empty room with cork floor and balcony.New luxury home interior.

Cork floor tiles are made from cork oak tree bark. They're gorgeous in their original state, but you can paint them if you want to. Here are some things you must know when trying to paint cork tiles.

What Kind Of Paint Do You Color Cork Floors With?

An interior acrylic latex paint is the most compatible paint you can use on cork tiles and surfaces. It's also easy to apply and dries fast.

You can use a brush, sprayer, or roller when painting your cork floor tiles.

Do You Need To Prime Cork Tiles Before Painting?

Cork can absorb a reasonable amount of paint, so you must apply multiple coats of primer. This ensures that you'll have an equal color appearance on your cork flooring.

How To Paint Cork Floor Tiles

Here are the simple steps in painting your cork floor tiles.

Prepare Your Work Area

Cover your work area with fabric or a drop cloth and place the cork tiles on it. Prepare your tools, such as primer/sealer, latex paint, and sandpaper.

Use A Sealer/Primer And Let Dry

Smoothly spray the primer/sealer on the cork tiles and let them dry.

Sand And Spray Another Coat Of Sealer/Primer

Sand the cork tiles with sandpaper and clean them with a damp cloth.

Spray with sealer/primer for the second time and let dry. You can also reapply the sealer/primer and sand the tiles several times until you reach the desired look.

Spray With Latex Paint And Let Dry

Spray the acrylic latex paint on the cork tiles and let the paint dry.

Paint For The Second Time

Color the cork tiles with latex paint for the second time or repaint several times until you reach the desired color. Let the paint completely dry for a whole day before putting anything on the cork tiles.

What Is The Downside Of Cork Flooring?

Laying technology of cork floor on concrete base with layers of thermal insulation and soundproofing

The most significant disadvantage of a cork tile is its softness. Because of that, cork tiles need maintenance to last for years.

How Do You Make A Cork Floor Look Good?

Applying wax to your cork floor tiles can protect them from scrapes, spills, and taints. It can also give your cork floor a shiny appearance. You can use wax at least twice or more annually.

Are Cork Floors High Maintenance?

Cork floor tiles aren't that hard to place and maintain. Cork floors can last for decades with proper maintenance. You only need to remember these essential things.

To maintain your cork floors, you need to do the following:

  • Routine sweeping.
  • Frequent vacuuming.
  • Sand and seal them if you notice a slight imperfection.

How Long Do Cork Floors Last?

Cork floor tiles can last more than 40 years when you appropriately maintain them. One of the best things about cork tiles is that they are mold, mildew, and termite-resistant.

What Happens If Cork Flooring Gets Wet?

Master class for laying cork flooring, installation of a cork floor by a floating method, connection of a series of cork flooring

Cork tiles contain suberin, which shields them from disintegrating or decaying even if immersed in water for a long time. Corks tend to bulge when exposed to moisture, which causes failed finish floor coverings.

Is Cork Flooring Slippery When Wet?

Cork floor tiles are slip-resistant. You don't need to worry about accidentally slipping or sliding on the floor, even when it's damp.

The Advantages And Disadvantages Of Cork Floor Tiles

ceramic tile, cork and parquet wooden flooring samples for home interior remodel

If you're considering using cork tiles for your house floors, here are several things you should consider and know.

The Advantages

Here are some of the benefits of having cork floor tiles.

Antimicrobial And Hypoallergenic

Cork flooring is antimicrobial and termite, mold, and mildew-resistant. It also doesn't cast filament that can negatively affect air quality. That's why it's an ideal option for hypersensitive and asthmatic people.

Comfy And Cozy

Cork flooring is soft and comfortable that it rebounds when squeezed or stepped on. This makes it good flooring for areas where you need to stand for long periods, such as the kitchen.

It can serve as a cushion when you accidentally fall or slip. That's why it's a popular flooring choice for the elderly and children.

Environment And Eco-Friendly

Another great thing about corks is they're environment-friendly. Cork tiles are made and gathered from the outer layer of cork oak trees without injuring the trees. This layer falls off as the tree generates a new bark.


Corks contain suberin, which is flame-retardant. It will still burn or melt at extremely high temperatures, but cork tiles will burn slowly and not quickly spread because of suberin.

This is also one of the reasons why cork flooring is recommended for the kitchen.

Great Insulator

Cork flooring can lower electricity bills thanks to its great R-Value (thermal resistance), making them as warm as winter jackets or wooly socks on your feet.


Corks are ideal for rooms where you want peace and quiet, such as bedrooms and offices.

The Disadvantages

And below are several of the drawbacks of cork floor tiles.

Inclined To Damage

Cork tiles are more prone to damage than other floorings because of their softness. Your furbabies and heavy appliances can leave permanent scratches and marks on the tiles.

The best way to avoid having your cork floor scratched is by trimming your pets' nails and buying furniture coasters.

It Can Fade Due To Sunlight

One of the cork tiles' weaknesses is being prone to UV damage. Prolonged sunlight exposure causes cork flooring to be yellowish and fade.

The Cork Tiles Aren't Waterproof

cork, floor and wall tiles. Peel - Quercus Suber L cork oak bark grown in the Western Mediterranean. Texture, background

Cork floor tiles are more water-immune than other floor types but aren't entirely impervious to water. Avoid cleaning your cork floor with much water.

Cleaning the floor with a damp mop can distort and tarnish your cork flooring.

You must also regularly seal your cork flooring to protect it from accidental spills, especially if you have this kind of flooring in the kitchen.

Limited Color Palette

Cork floor tiles have a minimal color palette, unlike other tiles and flooring. There are darker and brighter colors, but the classic hue is beige.

Needs Frequent Sealing And Upkeep

Sealing and upkeep are essential with cork flooring. Washed-out varnish causes cork floors to be more prone to water damage. Without adhesive, your cork floor can be damaged.

So sealing be done at least yearly. At the same time, you should clean, vacuum, and mop regularly to extend your sealant's lifespan.

Materials For Cork Tile Flooring

Below are essential materials when working with cork floor tiles.

Latex Paint

Latex paint is a water-based paint that works perfectly on cork floor tiles. You can apply latex paint over a primer to easily provide cork flooring with a renewed appearance.

Click here to see this latex paint on Amazon.


Primer supplies a foundation for the paint to stick to cork flooring. Use primer for a rough and absorbent appearance.

See this Zinsser Bulls Eye primer on Amazon.


An underlayment adhesive makes cork installations more effortless. It helps stick cork to plywood and concrete and delivers a firm grip and tack.

Click here to see this underlayment adhesive on Amazon.


Sandpaper is used to sand down and level down uneven surfaces of cork tiles before you can apply latex paint. You can use 100 or 120-grit sandpaper for cork flooring.

Click here to see these sandpapers on Amazon.

To Wrap Things Up

If you want to color your cork floor tiles to give them an elevated look, you should consider certain things before painting. You have to smoothen out any uneven surfaces and level them.

Remember to test out a section of the cork tile first with the paint you plan to use. This is so you'll know whether the color will stay on the tile.

Want to read more? Check out these related posts below:

Should Kitchen And Bathroom Floors Match?

How To Make A Kitchen Floor Tile Look New

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