Its low thermal conductivity and its resistance to moisture make it a good choice to coat walls and floors.
Cork is a very effective thermal and sound insulator that, in addition, has a very sustainable production and, once installed, requires very little maintenance. It is marketed in tiles, plates and rolls, and admits that it can be given a decorative use. This article reviews the insulating characteristics of this material, the existing types of cork and their main properties and virtues.
Cork, a great thermal and sound insulator
Cork is obtained from the bark of the cork oak, a species that grows mainly in areas of Mediterranean climate. Its production is sustainable, because even during its extraction the generation of waste is low. Cork is a natural product that resists chemical agents, is very light and hardly requires care It is composed of polyhedral cells very close together, almost empty inside and very waterproof. It is very resistant to rain, droughts and high temperatures, making it an optimal material for thermal insulation. In addition, its structure is composed of small cells that absorb noise very well, which is why the acoustic insulation it provides is also very good. In addition, it resists chemical agents, is light, elastic and does not smell. As for its maintenance, it hardly demands care, which makes it a very useful coating on walls and floors, even in wet rooms such as the bathroom. Given its insulating character, it is very practical to install also in floors, since it never cools excessively. It does not deform easily, even with the weight of furniture or knocks, and responds well to the passage of time. It can be put on tiles of different sizes, colors and textures. After application, a layer of varnish is usually applied, in order to achieve a smooth finish.
Types of cork
Cork is marketed mainly in three formats: tiles, plates and rolls. In the first case, it is used as a decorative coating for walls and floors, where varnished or waxed tiles are placed. Its installation is simple in both types of surfaces and ensures great durability, although it requires the previous work to eliminate the imperfections of the places where they have to be installed. The tiles are used mainly as decorative material, while the plates in insulation works For its part, the plates of agglomerated black cork, granulated or expanded, with a greater thickness than usual, are used in insulation works. They are placed on the wall and can be kept in view, after a polishing process, or covered with paper or paint. These plates guarantee a good thermal and acoustic insulation and, thanks to their light character, they can even be put on the roof. They act as an effective barrier against extreme temperatures. However, they are not impervious to steam, so it may be necessary to subject the cork to some specific treatment before its placement. The rolls of cork, by their characteristics, are similar to those that are marketed in sheets or plates. Their flexibility makes them very practical. In addition, currently, most include a self-adhesive system that makes it easy to place.
Properties and virtues of cork
One of the main virtues of cork is its condition of very light material. Its density and weight are very low, which allows to place several layers to improve its efficiency as insulation or use expanded cork plates. In front of the water in liquid state, on the other hand, it presents a great impermeability, hence its use in the corks of the bottles. In addition, the cork has a high resistance to wear, which is due to its ability to resist pressure. It is able to recover practically all its initial volume, although it is subjected to a very high pressure. And it also has a great adherence to smooth surfaces, on which it exerts a windy effect due to the holes in the cells that make it up.