Cork vs Flooring Carpet: Which Is Better for Soundproofing?

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When soundproofing your home, there are various materials that you can choose between. Two of the most popular materials for soundproofing between floors or walls are carpet and cork. So which is a better soundproofing material: carpet or cork?

Cork vs Carpet

While both are good soundproofing options, cork is the best material for soundproofing. Cork is a great way to soundproof any room of your house because it is relatively inexpensive, sustainable, and shows more versatility than carpet in its applications. 

This article will look at how cork and carpet work as soundproofing materials, some pros and cons, and why you should choose cork over carpet for your next soundproofing project. 

Also read: Cork vs. Foam for Soundproofing

Using Cork vs Carpet for Soundproofing

Soundproofing is a critical aspect of getting a home, office, or another facility ready for daily use, especially in high-traffic settings.

However, it can be a difficult task for those with limited experience in soundproofing. Many people wonder what the better option is between cork and carpet when it comes to soundproofing.

Cork is the better overall soundproofing material. It softens loud noises from room to room, both between floors and through walls. It is more versatile than carpet because it is water-resistant and lightweight.

Choosing Between Cork and Carpet for Soundproofing

There are numerous factors to consider when choosing a soundproofing material. It’s especially important to consider which part of the building you are soundproofing and your overall goals.

Depending on which part of the house or business you need to soundproof, you may prefer one material over the other.

Consider Both Acoustics and Versatility

Cork is an ideal choice for soundproofing because it provides phenomenal acoustics while being more versatile than carpet. According to SFGate, “Placing multiple cork boards in an area reduces sound distortion and reverberation, making rooms quieter.” 

Cork is good at absorbing sound waves. Because it does not distort voices inside a work setting, you will get a pleasant overall sense of communication in whatever space you are soundproofing.

Carpet is a fantastic option for soundproofing between floors because it does an excellent job of reducing the noise from people walking on them. However, it is less than ideal for use between walls.  

Pros and Cons of Using Cork as a Soundproofing Material

Cork is a great choice when acoustics are a priority in the space that you are trying to soundproof. Cork is good at sound absorption—which is different from sound insulation—while remaining a very effective method of soundproofing between walls and floors. 

Also read: How Thick Does Cork Need To Be For Soundproofing?

There are several advantages to using cork, but there are some downsides. Let’s look at the pros and cons of using cork as a soundproofing material:

Pros

  • Cork is as effective as carpet when it comes to sound absorption ability. Cork is a viable option for reducing noise between walls or floors. Like with carpet, you can purchase cork in various sizes to control how thick you want your cork to be on any wall or floor. 
  • Cork is naturally water-resistant. While not completely waterproof, cork is water-resistant and dries much easier than materials such as carpet do. Water resistance is essential because you need to consider mold when soundproofing your home. 
  • Cork is a good choice for people looking to soundproof their homes on a budget. As a point of reference, cork costs relatively similar to bamboo, but less than hardwood floors do.

Cons

  • Cork is not as durable as carpet when used as flooring. Cork material easily chips and can get worn down with frequent usage. If you are using it in an area directly exposed to high traffic direct contact, it may wear out relatively quickly. The wear and tear will reduce its effectiveness over time as a soundproofing material.
  • It is not as attractive as carpet if used in a visible space. Cork is not an attractive option to many if used in an area such as a floor or wall that is not covered up. Because it chips easily and can show dirt easier than carpet, it is not ideal for use on the floor from an interior design standpoint.

Pros and Cons of Using Carpet as a Soundproofing Material

Carpet is an excellent material for absorbing sound, primarily if you use it to lessen the noise of people walking on a floor. There are lots of different carpet types to choose from, ranging from natural animal fur to synthetic materials of varying thicknesses. Some of the best carpets that you can use are shag rugs because they have significant volume to help reduce noise. 

Let’s look at some of the benefits and drawbacks of using carpet as a soundproofing material:

Pros

  • You can add carpet to any space after construction. One of the best things about using carpets or rugs for soundproofing is that you can add them to any room with minimal effort. Carpet has excellent flexibility, and you can choose from numerous different styles and thicknesses of carpet to soundproof your floor.
  • You can find inexpensive carpets that work well for soundproofing. You are not confined to buying expensive rugs or carpets to get a product that will reduce noise between floors. There are plenty of rugs and carpets available for any budget.

Cons

  • Carpet is not ideal for soundproofing walls. While carpet works great for soundproofing floors, it is not a good choice for walls. It is not considered an attractive option by many people to have visibly hanging on their walls.
  • Carpet is not a waterproof material. Carpet will not work long-term between walls because it absorbs water, which can lead to mold and mildew

Conclusion

Both carpet and cork are good options when reducing sound transmission in your household or business. Cork is the best overall choice because it is more mold tolerant, versatile, and effective at absorbing sound. 

Cork also provides excellent acoustics due to the way that it absorbs sound. When you need to reduce sound transmission between walls and floors, cork will be the best option you can choose for soundproofing.

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