The building industry employs cork for a wide range of uses. It is most commonly used as a thermal barrier and sound insulator as well as a vibration dampener and fire retardant. The versatile propertiesof cork make it very useful in several applications. It can be utilized in roofs and ceilings as well as walls and floors. Its versatility makes it an excellent choice for use in the interior as well as the exterior of buildings. |
Cork is made up of several cells that are packed together in a honeycomb like structure. However, because of the irregular shape of the cells, there are a lot of chambers in between the cells and these chambers are filled with air. These air filled cells are what give cork its many insulating properties as well as its soft and comfortable feel.
The unique physical and mechanical properties of cork allow it to compress and immediately regain its original size under all weather and temperature conditions. This “memory” makes cork particularly useful in expansion and compression joints and in concrete structures such as dams, tunnels, runways and highways. Because of these properties, cork is also used as underlayment for wood, ceramic and stone coverings.
One of cork’s most useful properties is its ability to dampen, or reduce, sound. As flooring material cork has been in use for many years. Only recently has it been used in or on walls in high traffic areas such as libraries, classrooms, hospitals and museums to reduce echoes in large industrial spaces. Additionally more and more Strata buildings are now beginning to employ cork underlay (6mm thickness) as a cost effective measure against sound intrusion, while at the same time increasing the building’s “R” rating or insulation value. By simply installing cork underlay in their construction, this allows builders and Strata councils to maximize their resources while meeting or exceeding current building codes.
Cork’s insulating properties do not end with sound. The thermal insulating properties of cork have brought it to the attention of the industrial refrigeration industry too. As a cheap, naturally renewable resource the industry is turning to cork as an important energy saving material. Cork’s heat retention also makes it ideal for use in housing and commercial interiors. Flooring made from cork is warm, quiet, easy on the joints and easy to clean.
In the home, cork is appropriate for bathrooms, kitchens and living rooms. Gone are the days when cork was not recommended for high humidity areas. New innovations with cork tile products and their adhesives make cork extremely versatile and easy to install in the kitchen and in the bathroom.
With cork’s ability to compress, it makes walking and standing easy on the legs and back. Couple that with cork’s natural anti-slip property and you have the perfect flooring solution for seniors and their living areas. Caregivers, such as nurses and other health professionals, find cork to be the answer to their aches and pains; not to mention cork’s protective qualities should a fall occur.
Cork tiles and cork floors are increasingly being used in the building industry because of the many favorable properties of cork. If you are considering cork flooring, take a look at the wide range that iCork Floor has on offer.
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