Cork is on the fast track to the stars amongst homeowners and interior decorators. It’s a topic that is creating a buzz and everyone wants the low-down so they can decide whether or not it would be a great addition to their home. Well this article is for you then. |
First and foremost, cork is an all-natural product, produced from the bark of the QuercusSuber tree, also known as the cork oak tree. Found mainly in the areas of Portugal, Spain and the Mediterranean Basin, the bark is carefully harvested from the tree using hand tools. Only highly trained professionals are permitted to do this as it is done in such a manner so that the tree is not damaged or injured. After the top layer of bark is stripped off, the tree is then left to regenerate and grow new bark. This interim will take up to about nine years before the regenerated bark is ready for to be harvested again.
To maintain the integrity of cork oak trees and to prevent over-harvesting, laws were passed during the 1930s that stipulated that the bark could be stripped from a tree only once in nine years. Moreover, no tree that was less than twenty five years in maturity could be harvested for the manufacturing of cork. Older more mature trees not only provide better quality of cork, buthas a richer texture.
Once harvested, the bark is then sorted and stacked and left exposed to the elements for at least six months. The wind, sun, rain and air create continuous changes that enhance the appearance and the quality of the bark or the cork. When the cork is sufficiently aged, it is ground into small granules, mixed together with binding adhesive and compressed under tremendous pressure; or baked to produce planks or tiles of cork.
That’s just the basic. In order to create a variety of patterns and colors, manufacturers also burn or singe the cork before compressing. They also compress together different sizes of granules. Both of these processes work in tandem to produce the wide array of colors and designs that can be seen in the cork flooring available today.
Cork comes in a wide range of colors, shapes and designs. It is very durable as well as very lightweight. The cellular structure of cork allows for millions of minute chambers that are filled with air. This gives cork its sound and its shock absorbing properties. The shock absorbing quality makes it a favorite in physical therapy centers and gyms. It is simply more forgiving on the joints. The sound absorption qualities make it an ideal choice for flooring in churches and libraries where silence is desired.
Cork is an ecologically friendly material. It is a renewable resource as no living plant is destroyed in the process of obtaining it. The tree it was taken from regenerates and produces new bark. Moreover, the bark is not just harvested to make cork flooring. Its first use is to produce wine stoppers, the leftover bark is what is then ground and compressed to make cork flooring. To keep it all natural and environmentally friendly, only finishes and adhesives that are water based are used.
You can find an affordable and attractive cork wall tile and Cork Flooring selection at iCork Flooring.
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