Cork Soundproofing: Does It Work and How Effective Is It?

Soundproofing your home, especially your floors, is not only time-consuming but expensive. But noise coming in from both outside and inside can be unsettling. And using acoustic foam or heavy ugly drapes and carpets can ruin your interiors.

Cork flooring, on the other hand, absorbs sounds very efficiently thanks to its soft composition and open structure.

Let’s find out how efficient cork is as a sound absorption material.

What Is the Noise Reduction Coefficient of Cork?


The noise reduction coefficient (NRC) is the measurement of sound absorption. It ranges between 0.00 and 1.00, meaning that the material reflects sound waves, with 1 indicating complete absorption.

Materials with a coefficient over 0.4 can be used for soundproofing. Cork has a coefficient of 0.7 which means it absorbs 70% of sound waves and reflects 30% of them. It is close to mass loaded vinyl (a popular soundproofing material) which has a coefficient of 0.8.A 3mm cork layer can reduce sound up to 10dB. And that makes using cork flooring for your home a good choice.

What Makes Cork Good at Absorbing Sound?

Cork flooring is made from the bark of the cork tree. Cork is also used to make shoe insoles, safety helmet liners, and, of course, corks! Their open structure and light weight make cork great for thermal and sonic insulation.

Cork can contain up to 50% air. This percentage is usually lower in cork flooring because it is made from compressed and chipped cork, but it still contains enough air to absorb sound effectively. Cork flooring compresses when it comes into contact with something, like footsteps, and stifles the impact. This reduces the sound it makes.

The air pockets of cork work like acoustic foam panels, with sound waves entering the open structure of the cork but not escaping. Instead, they bounce off multiple surfaces, expending their energy in the process. This makes cork soundproofing extremely effective. In simple terms, cork’s air pockets and open structure make it excellent for dampening and absorbing noise.

How to Take Advantage of Cork Soundproofing


While we sell hardwood floors in Toronto, we also sell cork flooring which can be used to dampen sound in several ways.

1. Floor Underlayment 

Cork underlayment goes under hardwood flooring or carpet and is the perfect option for adding a layer of sound dampening and insulation. Consider using cork if you are re-laying a floor because it will reduce the amount of impact noise transfer drastically to the floor below.

2. Main Floor

Although cork works well as an underlayment, it is also a good option for your main flooring. In fact, it has been used as a flooring option for over 150 years and can last around 80 years if maintained properly. Some companies offer a wide range of designs. For better soundproofing, use it with cork underlayment.

3. Wall Tiles 

Cork can also be used to insulate walls. Adding it to a sheet of drywall will improve its sound dampening properties. You will have to include it on the outside of the wall much like acoustic foam as it won’t do much good hidden inside a wall cavity. Although it will not be very pretty to look at, you can give the room a rustic look or use it as a wall-sized pin board.

4. On Solid Surfaces 

If you have solid walls and floors made from concrete, adding cork will block noise. Concrete has a noise reduction coefficient of just 0.2 which means any noise will create horrible reverberation and echo. Attaching cork flooring panels to solid concrete surfaces will reduce sound reflection massively. You can use glue to stick cork to the surfaces but using too much can clog the cork’s pores.

Cork flooring offers many benefits, including soundproofing. Stores that sell hardwood and cork flooring in Toronto swear by it, assuring they can dampen the sound like most floors can’t. If you are choosing between cork or carpet, cork is undoubtedly the best choice. Also, cork flooring is inexpensive, sustainable, and durable; hence, cork soundproofing is the best choice for a quiet home.


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