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Everything You Need to Know About Sprayed Cork Coatings

everything you need to know about sprayed cork coatings

From sealing bottles of wine to manufacturing modern bulletin boards, cork has been used by humans for thousands of years. In fact, the earliest recorded use of cork dates to around 3000 BC, when the Ancient Egyptians used cork stoppers to seal containers used to store valuable items like food and cosmetics.

The modern construction industry is the latest sector to embrace cork, with manufacturers coveting the material for its excellent thermal properties. Wondering if sprayed cork coating is the right solution for your home or business?

Read on to find out more about the innovative insulation solution and how it could benefit your property. We'll take a deep dive into the world of sprayed cork coatings, covering everything from the origins of the material to different applications and benefits.

Where does cork come from?

Cork comes primarily from the bark of cork oak trees, scientifically known as Quercus suber. These remarkable trees flourish in the hot climates of countries such as Portugal, Algeria, Spain and Morocco. They have evolved to withstand the heat and developed a thick layer of cork bark as a defence mechanism.

This unique bark possesses natural insulative properties, as well as fire resistance and water impermeability. This makes it ideal material for modern construction applications.

Harvesting cork

Cork harvesting is a highly specialised process that occurs at specific times of the year, typically from late May to late August. Skilled harvesters, often referred to as extractors, are tasked with the job. Cork can only be harvested when a tree reaches the age of 25. After the initial harvest, the tree can provide cork every 9 to 14 years.

Harvesting bark, as opposed to felling the entire tree, gives cork amazing environmental credentials. As well as allowing the tree to regenerate, the process of stripping away bark releases oxygen into the air and actively reduces carbon dioxide in the atmosphere.

During the harvesting process, extractors use an axe to make precise incisions into the cork bark. They gently pry away the cork-rich bark, ensuring that no damage occurs to the inner part of tree, as this could hinder regrowth. After harvesting, cork slabs are boiled to clean and soften the material, making it easier to process.

Different types of cork products

After cleaning, cork slabs are sorted based on quality. Various products are created from these cork slabs, including:

Natural cork

The highest-quality cork slabs are used to make natural corks. Natural corks are often punched directly from the cork sheets, either by hand or by machine. These are generally considered a premium product and are used to seal wine bottles.

Cork leather

Another unique product made from natural cork is cork textile, also called cork leather. Cork slabs are sliced into thin sheets that resemble the look and feel of leather. These cork sheets are then backed with a layer of cotton fabric for extra strength and support. Cork leather is a fashion-forward product used to make everything from handbags to homewares.

Agglomerated cork

Nothing goes to waste during the cork manufacturing process, with leftover scraps ground into granules, then bonded together to create agglomerated cork. Applications for this waste-conscious product include technical corks used to seal wine, which feature an agglomerated cork body with natural cork discs glued to the ends. Sprayed cork insulation is another application for agglomerated cork, with the material ground down into fine dust and applied to surfaces.

Benefits of cork as an insulator

What makes cork such a good insulator? Below we’ll delve into the exceptional natural properties of cork and how they make it one of the most effective insulation materials on the British market.

Energy efficient

Cork has natural insulation properties and can retain heat more effectively than other materials. Buildings coated with cork spray insulation can be up to eight times more thermally efficient than those coated with traditional lime or sand renders. This high level of thermal performance helps to reduce energy consumption and lower heating costs.


Reduced energy consumption makes sprayed cork a great way to lower your carbon footprint. As such, sprayed cork coatings a great choice for eco-friendly insulation. CorkSol’s SprayCork has even gained the seal of approval from personalities like Kevin McCloud, presenter of popular TV show Grand Designs.


Unlike many other insulation materials, sprayed cork is made entirely from natural, sustainable resources. The production process doesn't involve harmful chemicals, making it a safe choice for those looking for a high-quality product that doesn’t compromise on ethics.

Cost savings

Excellent thermal efficiency translates to lower monthly energy bills for homeowners and reduced overheads for businesses. This means that over time cork insulation can eventually pay for itself.

Acoustic performance

Beyond heat retention properties, cork excels as an acoustic insulator. It creates an effective audio barrier and helps to reduce noise pollution in and around buildings. This is particularly beneficial for homeowners living near busy roads, beneath flight paths or in busy urban areas.

Fire resistant

Sprayed cork coatings are fire-resistant, which can help reduce the spread and impact of flames in a worst-case scenario. For example, premium products like SprayCork boast a Euro-class B safety rating, offering an added layer of fire protection for homes and buildings.

Low maintenance

Sprayed cork insulation is durable and requires minimal maintenance. It has a naturally long lifespan which means you won't incur excessive costs for repairs or upkeep.

Highly adhesive

One of the standout features of sprayed cork is its ability to adhere to a wide range of surfaces and materials. Whether you need to apply it over asbestos sheets, stone walls, ceramic tiles, metal sheets or wood panels, cork spray effectively covers surfaces and creates a permanent bond.

Unique colourways

Most people associate cork with caramel hues. But you don’t have to opt for this colour. The latest sprayed cork coatings are available in a wide range of colours – a benefit that gives the material an edge over traditional renders that often require painting. From ash, charcoal and slate to ice white, ivory and vanilla, it’s easy to find a perfect match. Alternatively, make a statement with bold colours like lavender, lemon and sky blue.


Sprayed cork incorporates non-soluble materials that protect against the elements while allowing surfaces to breathe. This makes it especially suited to the British climate, which can be persistently wet. Sprayed cork coatings not only trap heat indoors but help to reduce condensation and damp, making it suitable for both internal and external use.

Sprayed cork applications

As explored above, there’s plenty to love about sprayed cork coatings. Now, let's dive deeper into the different applications for sprayed cork renders:

External wall renders

Sprayed cork can be an efficient and cost-effective way to insulate external walls. It adheres to various surfaces, making it ideal for a wide range of buildings. Natural insulative properties help trap heat indoors without creating issues like damp and condensation.

Cracked render repair

Highly versatile, sprayed cork coatings can be a great solution for repairing damaged or cracked render. They provide a protective layer while allowing property owners to choose a colour that matches the original surface.

Asbestos encapsulation

Sprayed cork renders can be a safe and cost-effective solution for containing asbestos. The material can be sprayed onto asbestos-containing materials and used to create a barrier that prevents the release of harmful fibres.

Residential roof coatings

Cork coatings can be applied to roofs to improve insulation and protect against the elements. The material creates a waterproof layer that repels moisture while allowing the property to breathe. Like wall coatings, sprayed cork for roofs can be applied to a wide range of materials. This includes flat, tiled and corrugated roofs. Sprayed cork can also be used to encapsulate asbestos roof panels without stirring up harmful fibres.

Industrial roof coatings

Unlike other protective roof coatings, sprayed cork is tough enough for use on industrial buildings. Thin and flexible, the material can be easily applied to industrial buildings with minimal disruption to operations. Productivity is paramount for most businesses and unplanned downtime can cause major disruptions. Industrial roof coatings overcome this issue with a quick and easy application process.

Sprayed cork application: a closer look

From exterior wall renders to roof coatings, sprayed cork insulation is suitable for a wide range of applications. To fully appreciate its benefits, it's worth understanding how the innovative material is applied. In this section, we'll take a closer look at the sprayed cork application process.

Surface preparation

While sprayed cork insulation requires less surface preparation than other materials, it’s best to ensure the area is as clean as possible before starting.


Applying sprayed cork coatings calls for specialised equipment and materials. This means it’s a job best outsourced to a professional contractor. The most important tool is a spray gun designed to break down cork granules and apply them smoothly onto the surface.


The sprayed cork material itself consists of finely ground cork particles combined with a natural adhesive. This allows the cork to bond seamlessly with the surface. Both the sprayed cork particles and adhesive are combined before being loaded into the spray gun.

The application process

Once loaded into the spray gun, cork is applied to the surface in stages. The first coat is sprayed evenly across the surface and forms a base layer. A second coat is then applied to enhance the thermal and acoustic insulation properties.

Depending on the unique needs of the property, additional layers may be applied. For best results it’s important the sprayed cork is applied by skilled professionals. Finally, a plaster finish is applied over the sprayed cork to provide an additional layer of protection and create a flawless finish.

A solution for the indoors and outdoors

Sprayed cork is a highly versatile material that can be used both indoors and outdoors. This makes it suitable for a wide range of projects. For internal applications such as wall insulation, sprayed cork coatings are a thin and unobtrusive solution. Unique natural properties, including thermal and acoustic insulation, make sprayed cork ideal for improving the energy efficiency and comfort of indoor spaces.

For outdoor use, sprayed cork is a durable and weather-resistant solution ideal for external wall renders and roof coatings. It forms a protective barrier that repels moisture and protects against the elements, while improving the overall thermal performance of the structure. The ability to blend sprayed cork with adhesives makes it ideal for a wide range of surfaces, including stone, wood, metal and more.

An eco-friendly future

In a world where energy efficiency and sustainability are becoming increasingly important, sprayed cork coatings have emerged as cutting-edge solution. From improving the thermal efficiency of buildings to minimising the presence of harmful chemicals and toxins in homes, sprayed cork is a great way to enhance the performance of your property while contributing to a greener and more sustainable future.

In recent years, it’s become clear that cork is so much more than a natural material used for wine stoppers. The advent of cork spray has set a new standard for the modern construction industry and offers a win-win solution for homeowners, builders and the planet.

Leverage the benefits of cork with Total Trades

Looking for an insulation solution that excels when it comes to performance and sustainability? Get in touch with Total Trades to discuss how sprayed cork coatings can work for your property.

As approved contractors, we have exclusive access to premium products like SprayCork. This allows us to apply sprayed cork coatings to a wide range of wall and roof surfaces, using products independently or as part of a system. With a guaranteed lifespan of 15 years+ and minimal maintenance, sprayed cork sets a new standard for both residential and commercial projects.

Whether you’re looking to improve the energy efficiency of your home or safeguard an industrial building against the elements, we can help. Give us a call today on 0333 5771139 or email us at to find out more. We even have payment plans that allow you to spread the cost into manageable monthly installments, so you start enjoying the benefits of sprayed cork coatings sooner.

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