Cork is a natural soundproofing material that is made from cork oak tree bark.
Cork gets its brilliant soundproofing properties from billions of tiny cells, 35 million per square centimeter, which trap layers of nitrogen and oxygen between them.
This gives cork a flexible membrane that is responsible for its characteristic bounce or elasticity which help it bock sounds.
Cork also contains a significant amount of fatty acids which help make it impermeable (ideal for bottle corks).
These properties combined mean that cork is one of the best soundproofing materials!
If you're looking for some effective cork based soundproofing products try these:
Cork comes from the bark of the Cork Oak (Quercus Suber) tree. These trees grow extremely well in Mediterranean climates, so you can find plenty of them in countries such as Spain, Portugal, Morocco, France and Italy.
Here are a few facts about Cork Oak trees and their bark:
Cork is completely sustainable and environmentally friendly as the trees do not need to be chopped down to harvest cork from them, rather their bark is peeled off and then the tree is left alone (for 9 years!) while it regrows.
Cork is harvested between May & August because it causes minimal damage to the tree as the bark separates more easily from the tree in the summer heat.
Cork has natural sound inhibiting properties that allow it to reduce the amount of noise traveling through walls and floors.
Cork's cellular structure mirrors that of a honeycomb, it is super lightweight and packed with air and with more than 35 million cells per square centimeter it makes a superb insulating material, ideal for soundproofing.
When an impact, such as someone walking on it or a soundwave, hits cork the air in the cork compresses acting like a cushion that absorbs and deadens the impact, meaning far less noise is created.
Just a 3mm layer of cork flooring could reduce sound by more than 10 decibels - this is much better than any comparable material can achieve!
To put a more exact number on how good cork is at soundproofing we can look at its Noise Reduction Coefficient score which is a measure (from 0 - 1) of how efficient a material is at sound absorption.
Cork has an impressive NRC score of 0.7 which means it absorbs 70% of noise and reflects 30%.
Ideally, any soundproofing product should have an NRC score of at least 0.4% to make a worthwhile impact - cork significantly exceeds this, so using cork in your soundproofing project is a smart move.
Cork enhances the warmth of a room while providing comfortable floor cushioning which dampens sounds, it is a great choice for rooms that are sound sensitive.
Cork flooring is commonly used in bathrooms and kitchens as an alternative to tiles or linoleum.
Cork tiles are great for adding an extra layer of sound insulation to stud walls or adding some heat insulation to a cold brick wall.
Vibrations that travel easily through a stud wall can be significantly dampened with the addition of a layer of cork tiles which will also give your room a warm rustic feel.
Cork tiling can also double as a handy pinboard, yet be aware that sticking pins into your cork may cause it to break up over time so it won't last as long.
Cork is ideal for ceiling tiles for a number of reasons:
Check them out here: