3 Ways Cork can change your acoustics

When designing or remodeling, the acoustic properties of a room should always be considered, and ultimately be based on the type of activity intended within the space. Each activity has its own challenges, and therefore would benefit from its own acoustic design. Oftentimes large spaces and hard surfaces result in unwanted sound that interferes with the function of the given space. This can vary from room to room because what is disturbing and unacceptable in one design application, may be acceptable to another. When sound reflections are focused rather than dispersed, it can cause reduced speech intelligibility and adverse effects on music.

Here are 3 things to consider in order to optimize the acoustics for your design.

Sound Absorption

Unlike regular wall surfaces which can reflect sound, cork wall panels can help absorb and reduce acoustic noises. Cork is often used in music recording environments as noise reduction material because of its excellent sound absorption. All of our cork bricks and panels are easy to install for a great-looking solution for reducing excess noise and reverberation. For example, the Noise Reduction Coefficient for our cork bricks is 0.15 NRC (absorbs approx. 40% of sounds in the human voice frequency range, which is where cork excels). Using cork on the walls in conference rooms and office spaces is a simple way to create an ideal meeting room.

Noise Reduction

Cork is naturally good at noise reduction and it also prevents sound and vibration transmission. Using cork on walls and floors can reduce the sound level of noise due to impacts on the surface, such as those resulting from movement of people, dragging furniture or falling objects.cork acoustics

In multi-family construction in the United States, there are minimum IIC and STC values that a floor/ceiling assembly must achieve. The Uniform or International Building Code (U.B.C. / I.B.C.) call for a minimum 50 IIC and 50 STC values. Each of our cork flooring options (Ceramicork Tiles, Ceramicork Planks and Comcork) exceed these requirements, with an example being for the Ceramicork Planks that have the following acoustic values: over an 8” concrete slab: STC – 58dB, IIC – 68 dB; over an 8” with dropped ceiling: STC – 60dB, IIC – 73 dB. For a summary chart of these values for all other products, please see here.

Acoustic Insulation

Cork products are a great choice for building projects such as apartment buildings and office spaces where there is a need to reduce sound from adjoining rooms. Our cork bricks and blocks are a quick and easy way to add sound insulation to any wall while also looking great.


We love cork – its sustainable nature, its usefulness, its beauty. But what’s really behind our love affair? What’s the back story on cork?

It’s got European roots.

The majority of cork production takes place in Portugal, Spain, and North Africa, where the Mediterranean soil, temperature, and rain conditions are ideal for the species to flourish. During harvesting, the outer bark of the cork oak’s trunk and major branches are carefully stripped by hand (no mechanical devices are allowed). The tree is not cut down and continues to live and grow, thus maintaining natural habitats for the wildlife in the area.


Bark peeled from the cork trees is air dried for about 6 months, then sorted by quality and boiled and flattened into slabs. Better quality slabs are used for wine/champagne stopper creation, and the rest used mainly for industrial components (like gaskets), construction products (like underlayment and insulation), and as a component in flooring and other decorative materials (this is where we come in).

It’s Simple – yet Complex – all at the same time

Why do we care so much about cork and cork products? Well, not only is cork a sustainable and environmentally friendly resource, by its very structure it is both simple and complex in function, all at the same time.

Cork is basically made up of cellular pockets of air, some 200 million per cubic inch of material. These air pockets severely limit the conductive properties of the material, which correlate with the reduction of the transfer of heat and sound, giving cork tremendous thermal and acoustic values.

SM Debuts the Innovative Metalegance, Metallic Large Format Cork Wall Covering at HDExpo

Boulder, CO – Sustainable Materials LLC will introduce Metalegance™, a new large-format, fire-rated, metallic panel made of cork at HD Expo 2017. Metalegance™ provides a commercially viable and hospitality driven interior wall finish, that takes cork in directions it has never been.  Available in 3 distinct finishes – Metallic, Oxidized, and Cementitious, ‘sustainable’ interiors have never looked so elegant and refined.  Offered in panels measuring 3’ x 2’ that are only 4mm thick, Metalegance™ breaks from the tradition of what ‘cork’ wall products have historically looked and felt like, to become what cork can be. Suitable for many applications, including large scale spaces, curved areas, and feature elements, installation is a breeze.

“We are extremely excited to showcase Metalegance™ at this year’s HD Expo,” comments Pete Nichols, CEO of Sustainable Materials.  “Though we have never exhibited at HD Expo, we feel it is an ideal location and event to introduce Metalegance and some of other innovative cork wall products that have been garnering tremendous feedback through our one-on-one presentations to date.  Though I won’t say we are shaking up the industry, we are bringing ‘sustainability’ to the forefront of design – making it sexy, and bringing innovation to the market, where it is really needed.  I am over the moon excited about some of the new products we are currently launching, and can’t wait to see the feedback at HD Expo.”

Some of the other products being shown at HD Expo include: Organic Blocks™, high-relief, color-infused molded shapes made from by-product cork granules; Cork Bricks™, natural cork bark pieces, which are beveled and designed to look like natural brick, but inherently offer high levels of sound absorption; Korkstone™, a highly densified, ‘stone-like’ 3-dimensional cork wall finish available in both organic and metallic colors, among others.

About Sustainable Materials LLC – Sustainable Materials is product development, marketing and distribution company that focuses on strategically bringing interior finish products made from sustainable materials to market.  Though we have products for the retail and residential markets, most our products are geared for the commercial specification markets that include hospitality, corporate offices, multi-family, education, and healthcare.  For more information, please visit www.sustainablematerials.comInstagram at https://www.instagram.com/sustainablematerials/  and Pinterest at https://www.pinterest.com/sustainmaterial/

Media Contact:

Nathan Pacheco
720-449-3063 (x103)
[email protected]


Upcoming Opportunities to Connect with Sustainable Materials

Cork Bricks Installation 2
Cork Bricks Installation

Sustainable Materials will exhibit The Muratto Cork Wall Design Collection at two upcoming trade shows. We hope to see you at the International Contemporary Furniture Fair (ICFF), May 16-19, 2015 at the Jacob K. Javits Convention Center in New York, booth #1676 and NeoCon, June 15-17, 2015, at the Merchandise Mart in Chicago, booth #8-1101. We look forward to seeing you.

Sustainable Materials Introduces Organic Blocks

Organic Blocks are now available in the U.S. A wall décor alternative fashioned in molded cork, Organic Blocks bring dimension, depth and distinctive visual appeal to interior surfaces. Part of The Muratto Cork Wall Design Collection imported from Portugal, Organic Blocks convey a contemporary European design aesthetic in five high relief, geometric shapes, each pre-finished, infused with a selection of ten vibrant, fashion-forward colors.

Beehive Yellow
Beehive Yellow

Sustainable Materials Successful at NY Now

The Muratto Cork Wall Design Collection, now available in the U.S. exclusively from Sustainable Materials, LLC, was judged the Winner in the Wall Art Category at NY Now, the Market for Home and Lifestyle, in January 2015. The New York Metro Chapter of the American Society of Interior Designers (ASID) recognized the products for superior, exceptional design.

NY Metro Chapter - Best of the Best Award
NY Metro Chapter – Best of the Best Award

Sustainable Materials is Here for YOU

Sustainable Materials, LLC specializes in exceptional interior design and lifestyle products imported to the U.S. from Europe. Are you a manufacturer of sustainable, interior products that are distinctive in design, versatile in function, and proven in performance? Are you a U.S. buyer seeking sustainable products that captivate discerning customers who desire to create interiors that are contemporary, cosmopolitan, and natural? Sustainable Materials is here for you.
We bring together European manufacturers and U.S. buyers. We connect the right sellers with the right products to the right buyers and help both succeed. Can we help you?

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