Is your home noisy? Are your children cranky? Are you finding it difficult to focus on work? If you’re looking for an acoustic flooring option to curb noise, cork tiles are an excellent option. While there are several ways to soundproof your home, some are expensive and not very eco-friendly. Cork, on the other hand, is a natural, affordable material.
Apart from being a great flooring material, cork can also soundproof your walls. The tiles are easy to install and come in a range of styles, making soundproofing easy, affordable, and environmentally friendly.
What Is Cork and How Does It Reduce Noise
Cork is a 100% natural material manufactured from the bark of the cork oak tree. It is light, impermeable, and has a unique honeycomb-like structure of sealed cells. These cells absorb sound vibrations, preventing them from passing to the other side.
Sound moves in waves, and in order to hear a sound, those waves must remain intact. When they hit a surface or other barrier, the sounds are suppressed or completely muted. Unlike a hard surface, cork’s cells traps sound and diffuses it. It also stops echoes (reverberations). Cork is also a natural fire retardant.
Cork Acoustic Features
When planning or redesigning a property, it is important to consider its acoustic features, which will vary depending on the property type and kind of activity intended for the space. Cork is a great insulator that is second only to solid rubber as a sound insulator and felted wool as a heat insulator. Its unique honeycomb-like cell structure gives cork its acoustic properties.
Unlike solid surfaces, which reflect sound, cork flooring and wall tiles absorb and reduce it. Thanks to its excellent sound absorption capacity, cork is often used in places where sound isolation is a must between multiple adjoining spaces like music recording studios, conference rooms, and offices. Its cell structure and trapped airspaces make cork an efficient sound absorbing material. A cubic centimetre of cork contains almost 40 million cells. As sound passes through, the cells trap and absorb it. Even a thin layer will absorb approximately 10dB of sound.
Cork flooring can reduce noise from heavy impacts like falling objects, or dragged furniture. Cork reduces noise transmission by absorbing its impact through the floor to the roofing below.
Acoustic and Anti-Vibration
Cork can absorb almost 30 to 70% of tones in the frequency range of 400 to 4000Hz. Thanks to its unique cell structure and flexibility, cork simultaneously absorbs airborne sound waves, vibrations, and high-impact noises.
Durability and Aesthetic Value
Available in a range of colours and textures, cork is an attractive addition to any home décor, whether contemporary, modern, or minimalist. The presence of tannins and the absence of proteins make cork resistant to biological and microbial corrosion. Since it doesn’t hold water, its surface is immune to moisture-related problems like mold, mildew, and fungus. Cork is also among the most durable organic materials. Even after years of use, it does not lose its properties.
Cork releases a high concentration of suberin, a wax-like substance produced by most plants. Suberin holds cork together, preventing it from shedding fibres and building up dust particles, mold, and mildew. This makes cork flooring ideal for people with dust allergies or asthma. Being non-toxic, it doesn’t irritate skin, eyes, mucous membranes, or the respiratory track, making it perfect for homes with children and/or pets.
Cork only burns at very high temperatures and is slow to combust. And even if it does catch fire, it releases less smoke or chemicals than vinyl, rubber, or other laminate soundproofing materials.
Cork is sustainable and recyclable. Harvested from self-regenerating trees every nine to 14 years, there is little to no waste in its manufacture. Carbon trapped in cork doesn’t get released into the atmosphere unless it is burned or decomposes, making it an environmentally friendly material.
Cork’s popularity dates back over 150 years. It was first installed in churches and cathedrals in Spain and Portugal. Originally called a “carpet” because of its warmth and comfort, cork is quickly becoming popular for its acoustic insulation. It is also highly sustainable and has a lower carbon imprint than other flooring materials. With so many benefits available at affordable rates, there is no reason why you shouldn’t invest in cork flooring.