Tests Show Cork’s Superior Resiliency as an Underlayment

Cork underlayments are more durable over time compared to foam-based solutions.

Two comparative tests were conducted by Amorim Cork Composites between cork and 100 per cent foam-based underlayments in order to assess the durability of cork-based solutions versus synthetic solutions from the same category.

The results of the dynamic load and compressive creep tests revealed cork underlayments are the best option to guarantee the floor’s durability and performance over the long haul. Given this, choosing a cork-based solution delivers savings for the end consumer, thereby avoiding the need for an early replacement of the floor.

The dynamic load test is conducted in a laboratory. It simulates the pressure exerted on the floor, caused by the movement of people, suitcases with wheels (trolleys) and office chairs with castors, among others. To be effective, the underlayment must be able to withstand such pressure without losing its absorption characteristics. To assess the performance of the materials, a sample of a cork underlayment and another made entirely of foam, both 10 millimetres thick, were subjected to 100,000 cycles of 75 kilopascals of pressure. After the load cycles, the cork underlayment lost only five per cent of its thickness, while the foam-based solution lost 55 per cent.

The compressive creep test determines the weight that can be placed on a given floor over time, with a 10-year period as reference. For example, the weight of furniture. In a comparative test between cork and foam-based samples, the cork-based solution, due to its resilience, demonstrated higher resistance to compressive creep. In other words, cork maintains almost the same thickness while compressed over time, with less than a 10 per cent loss in thickness and, consequently, maintains the system’s performance when applied. In the case of foam-based solutions, whenever the underlayment is pressed this causes the cells to break, which resulted in 30 per cent less thickness, and consequently lower density and effectiveness.

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