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PostPosted: Wed Sep 01, 2010 5:59 pm 
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Joined: Fri May 21, 2010 12:58 pm
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Location: Monção, Alto Minho
I'm looking for cork insulation products, either granules to mix with lime and sand (limecrete) or slabs to put inbetween rafters or in the floor. Being a Portuguese product I was hoping it would be available everywhere... Not so. Does anyone know where I can find a good supplier who does not charge a small fortune?

Hope this is the place to discuss this, and a few other ecological building products and systems we are working with here in the Minho.

Cheers
Magnus


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PostPosted: Wed Sep 01, 2010 6:26 pm 
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I bought mine from Isocor

www.isocor.pt

Other people sell it, too, but these only do cork for insulation. I must say that I didn't compare prices, but according to a conversation I had recently, it seemed that they charged less than Amorim (the big cork company). Also, as they are from Abrantes and I wanted it in Tomar, they didn't charge for transport.


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PostPosted: Wed Sep 01, 2010 6:58 pm 
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Location: Central Portugal
hi magnus :)

ask wendy where she got hers from - have you seen her latest blog post?

http://permaculturinginportugal.net/blog/still-more-roof/

wish we could have found cork insulation when we did our roof.

x sophie

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PostPosted: Wed Sep 01, 2010 8:07 pm 
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This is a new one on me and I am very interested as we must insulate our new floor and were going to get man made nasties to do it with.
Having read the websites and seen the cork shrug off the fires I would be happier using this.
Can anyone tell me if it encourages woodworm, or would you treat it like we did the timber as I dont wish to reintroduce the little bligters.
They have eaten one floor allready.
Hoping for replies,
Many Thanks

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PostPosted: Wed Sep 01, 2010 9:40 pm 
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No, cork is quite resistant to bugs, you don't have to treat it

It has got lots of qualities(it insulates very well from the heat, it doesn't change shape, you can reuse because it doesn't rot, etc)

But one quality it doesn't have; cheap it ain't

It"s about 3 times more expensive than the equivalent man-made nasties, unfortunately


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PostPosted: Wed Sep 01, 2010 10:34 pm 
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Location: Arganil
Amorim (the company that makes the cork wine bottle stoppers) manufacture cork insulation in 500x1000cm boards. It comes in several thicknesses. We used 50mm. My local builders merchants in Coja (Cercol) had no difficulty obtaining it.

See http://www.amorim.com/cor_neg_isolamentos.php

Price? Not cheap, but this was one thing I wasn't prepared to compromise on. And not just for all the usual eco reasons, or for its superior qualities as insulation. We put the original schist slabs back on, so I'd hate to see what the polystyrene stuff would look like after a few years compressed by the weight of that! Around €15 per square metre if I remember rightly.


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PostPosted: Thu Sep 02, 2010 8:11 am 
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I certainly didn't want to use any styrofoam, a material that I hate but it is the standard solution, as it id cheap an efficient). And the way I use it (flat above the ceiling and not under the slopes as Wendy is doing, as my house has an unusable attic), doesn't cost a fortune. But is true that you won't find on the shelves of Aki, in part, I think, because the cork industry only recently started to diversify away from stoppers.

Anyway, this friend negociated 10 €/m2 of 6cm cork, I think, because he enveloped his whole house with it (and is very happy) but he also said that later he found out he could have a better price. I've just checked and paid 8,228 €/m2 for 232 m2 of 4cm boards (I decided to put 2 layers crossing each other).

Edit, Mmmmm, maybe I should change 8,228 for 8.228. Well, a bit more than 8€/m2 for 40mm boards.


Last edited by lobito on Thu Sep 02, 2010 5:23 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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PostPosted: Thu Sep 02, 2010 10:29 am 
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Location: Arganil
Wow!! €10/m2 for 60mm is a good price! I'll mention that next time I'm in negotiations over the price of building materials ... :-)


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PostPosted: Thu Sep 02, 2010 12:27 pm 
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spinach wrote:
Wow!! €10/m2 for 60mm is a good price! I'll mention that next time I'm in negotiations over the price of building materials ... :-)


This was with Amorim, but I can check with him where did he found out later that he could have had a better deal. And remember, it was a humongous quantity (and also an interesting work, as it was cork for outside insulation of a house).

You can also check with Isocor what is their price for 60mm.


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PostPosted: Thu Sep 02, 2010 4:43 pm 
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Joined: Fri May 21, 2010 12:58 pm
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Location: Monção, Alto Minho
Good feedback:)
There seems to be two ways to insulate your floor, either with the boards Spinach I think mentioned, or with granules, that you mix in to a 100mm mortar, usually cement based, but I would advocate a hydraulic lime (NHL5) available in Portugal for around 4.50 euros per 40kg bag.
So far it's looking like being about 300 euros for the granules for a 20m2 floor, so I will need to spend on lime and labour too. Still quite expensive if you ask me.

But we should also discuss insulation levels. U-values and all that. (for reference u-value refers to the energy, in watts, that is conducted through a material for every degree of temperature change (in celcius) between the outside and internal surfaces). The lower the number (or energy transfer) the better.

Cleary all materials have different levels of conductivity, so the depth of different insulative materials does not correspond. Petro-chemical based foam, for example, can offer a U-value of 01.6 with a depth of 200mm. Sheeps wool at 200mm gets you a U-value of about 0.22, and cork at this depth gets around 0.18 on the U-scale.

OK, fine, but what does all this mean? I've been wanting to know for some time what is the appropriate, or necessary U-value for Portugal, for floors, walls and roofs. My engineering report was not very specific, stating that anywhere between 0.15 and 1.60 (U) is OK, though it failed to specify the difference between floor, roof and walls.

In a British natural building book (the Whole House Book) it recommends the roof should be between 0.16 and 0.12,
the floor between 0.25 and 0.15
the walls between 0.35 and 0.14

Should we use these to specify our Portuguese buildings? After all it gets damn cold in winter, similar to plenty Scottish winters of memory...

If we do chose to use these, or close to these recommended, energy efficient u-value guides, and we chose to use cork, then we're in for a shock. To achieve the lowest end of the roof insulation scale (0.16) we would need to buy 262mm of cork, which would cost around 40 euros a m2. (!!).

Or we go for the cheaper option, insulate less, choose say 70mm, which gives you around 0.60 U-value, many times worse than the new Part L in English building code, which states 0.16 as a minimum u-value. In fact, it seems that 0.6 was last recommended as the UK's minimum roof insulation standard in 1978, when we hardly bothered to insulate at all.

Oh, and for the record, 70mm of cork board would cost about 12 euros a m2 from Amorim, probably not including IVA or transport.

I think I'll just use old wine bottles (with the corks in!) in the floor area. I'll research possible U-values, surround them in limecrete, organise a party to consume said bottles and worry about the consequences later

:roll:


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