Cork is a great insulator, providing both a thermal barrier and excellent noise reduction. It’s also naturally resistant to fire and insect damage. These properties make it a great choice for flooring, but why stop there? This sustainable building material can also offer outstanding insulation within wall structures as well.
One of the best sources for cork insulation in North America is the Jelinek Group, which is based in Canada with a US distribution facility in New York. In addition to a wide variety of other cork products, Jelinek offers cork insulating tiles in dark large-grain and lighter-colored small-grain styles. 12″ x 12″ tiles come in thicknesses ranging from 4mm to 9.5mm (approximately 3/8″); prices start around $2 per square foot, depending on the thickness.
While other insulation options like blown cellulose or sprayed foam may be cheaper for general use, cork can be a great supplement where noise or vibration is an issue (for example, a living space adjacent to a roadway or a shared wall between apartments).
Cork insulation can also provide credits toward LEED certification in numerous categories, including the following (list provided by Jelinek Group).
• MR3 – Resource Reuse – applies with cork underlay which is made from salvaged cork.
• MR 4.1: Recycled Content, 10% (post-consumer + ½ pre-consumer)
• MR 4.2: Recycled Content, 20% (post-consumer + ½ pre-consumer)
• MR 5.1 Locally Manufactured Materials – applies to comfort finish flooring that is colour, finish and adhesive added in Ontario and within a 500 mile radius.
• MR 6: Rapidly Renewable Materials
• EQ4.1 (1 point): low-Emitting materials – Adhesives and Sealants
• EQ 4.4 (1 point): Low-Emitting Materials, Composite Wood & Agrifiber Products
• ID Process (1-4 points): Innovation in Design, using the unique natural cellular property of cork in sound transmission reduction (underlayment, wall and floor tiles), thermal insulation, acoustical properties, anti-vibration, expansion joint filler, etc.
For more info, or to locate a distributor, visit the Jelinek Group website.