Today a cork wall is more than a display area for artwork. Designers use it as a wall covering to add texture and depth. - We think the 12-inch-square tiles with a protective wax finish are the easiest to work with. An installer will charge $613 to install cork tiles on a wall covering 100 square feet, or a wall approximately 12 feet long by 8 feet high. A handy homeowner can do the job for $345, the cost of the tiles and adhesive. We found the American Cork Products Co. (www.amcork.com) to be a good source of product information, ideas and installation instructions. They also offer free samples of the tiles. - They provide a VOC-free adhesive that's applied as a two-part contact adhesive with a flat-blade trowel or foam paint roller. Before you begin, the wall's surface should be clean, dry and lightly sanded. To cut the tiles, you'll need a measuring tape, plumb line, carpenter's level, utility knife and straightedge. When the tiles are in position, use a rolling pin over the surface to guarantee a strong bond to the wall. - To find more DIY project costs, go to www.diyornot.com and m.diyornot.com on smart phones. Gene and Katie Hamilton, Tribune Media Services
Pro cost DIY cost Pro hours DIY hours DIY savings Percent saved $613 $345 3.9 8.5 $268 44% Source: Tribune Media Services
Before you start
Test your skills. Create small test joints where you connect a PEX pipe or two to actual shutoff valves. Then connect these short test pipes to your existing plumbing system. See if you have any leaks. Be sure you understand how to completely expand the pipe, rotating the tool as you expand the plastic, and then quickly install the pipe and compression collar over the male end of the adapters before the pipe returns to its original size.