Cork is an ecological insulation material with excellent insulating and damp-proof qualities. The material is extremely versatile, so one can use it for many insulation purposes. In this article, you can read more on the properties and applications of cork insulation.
Applications of cork insulation
Cork is available in the shape of boards or granules. Cork boards are suited to insulate walls, roofs and floors. The granules, on the other hand, function as an appropriate insulation material for cavity walls, floors or screed.
Thanks to its damp-proof properties, cork is applicable in environments where there is a risk of damp penetration (e.g. roof constructions, the cavity,…).
There is no need to wear protective clothes during the installation. As cork does not cause irritation or dust, it is not harmful to health.
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1. Cork for roof insulation
It is very simple to hammer the cork boards onto the slats of your roof construction. These panels are lightweight and easy to saw. For this reason, they are perfectly suitable for roof insulation.
The cork insulation boards are available in different thicknesses. The thicker the sheet, the better it insulates. To insulate a roof with cork, it is recommended to use boards with a thickness of approximately 6 inches. In order to avoid heat loss due to thermal bridges, one can apply the boards diagonally across each other. This way, the insulation will be more efficient in these difficult zones.
2. Cork insulation for floors
Cork insulation boards can easily be glued onto a concrete subfloor. Especially if the floor of your house exists of a carpeted floor, cork boards are the best floor insulation materials. Moreover, these boards are hard-wearing and feel warm.
3. Cork granules
Cork granules are easy to work with. They usually have a size between 1 and 10 millimeter. Because of this, they are perfectly applicable in gaps (for example gaps between the ceiling and the floor of the story on top). Cork granules are frequently used to insulate cavity walls as well.
What is the price of cork insulation?
Cork insulation boards are generally supplied in sizes of 1000 mm x 500 mm. Standard thicknesses are: 10 to 60 mm (80, 100 or 120 mm are available too). Depending on the thickness, prices range between £17 and £22 per square metre.
Curious about what it costs to have your house insulated with cork? Request free and non-binding quotes from different specialised firms in your region. This way, you can easily compare prices. Click here to receive price quotes for free.
Advantages and disadvantages of cork insulation
Just like every other insulation material, cork both has its advantages and disadvantages. An overview:
- Cork is very waterproof and resistant to damp and rot. Cork insulation is therefore interesting in rooms like the kitchen and bathroom.
- When choosing an insulation material, people often neglect the material’s attractiveness to termites. However, this is an important property which may cause a lot of problems in the future. Cork insulation is completely unattractive to mice and termites.
- Cork insulation belongs to fire class B2, which means ‘extremely fireproof’. Insulation materials are divided into fire classes from A to F; A means incombustible, whereas F stands for very inflammable.
- The insulation value of cork is very good. The Lambda value is 0.038-0.040 W/mK.
- Since cork is an excellent sound insulation material as well, it is perfectly applicable everywhere – especially on the facade facing the street. This way, you will no longer be bothered by noise from the outside.
- Finally, cork had a high sustainability. Its insulation value barely decreases over time.
As compared to other insulation materials, the price of cork is rather expensive. There are other ecological insulation materials which are cheaper. On the other hand, cork is a good option given its many excellent technical properties.
Production process of cork
After harvesting, the cork bark first needs to ‘rest’ one year before it can be boiled. When the bark has been boiled, it must dry sufficiently. Afterwards, one can grind the bark into cork granules. These granules are, under high pressure and by means of steam, expanded to cork boards in an autoclave. This all happens in a way that is environmentally sound. No chemicals or artificial additives are used in the production process of cork.
Origin of cork as insulation material
Cork originates from the bark of the cork oak tree. This tree especially grows in Southern Europe (Portugal) and North Africa. After a growing period of 25 to 30 years on average, it has developed a thick layer of bark. Every nine years, people accurately shell a part of the bark, without causing damage to the tree.
As times goes by, the bark fully grows again. This way, a cork oak can get 100 to 200 years old without having to be cut. This is one of the reasons why cork is an environmentally sound product.