How many of us have popped the cork on our share of champagne bottles over the years, and not once considered it as anything more than an afterthought? Did you know that cork has also been used for flooring at least as long as its practice as a bottle stopper? Have you ever wonder where cork comes from? |
Cork's extraordinary nature makes it one of the most perfect versatile, durable, and sustainable products on the market for flooring. Being environmentally sustainable is the new byword. And it is a global movement. Everyone is on the search for a product that regenerates so well and so quickly that the environment is basically unaffected. That's what we have found with cork.
The Mediterranean area is the leading exporter of cork, having established a thriving commercial business out of maintaining and harvest the Quercussuber, or the cork oak tree. The cork oak, as it is called, has amazing bark. It is the only tree species known to man that is able to shed its bark. This, scientist believe, was a trait evolved over time as a deterrent to fire. With only the bark surrendered, the cork oak could repopulate faster and stronger than any other species in the affected area. The bark of the tree, not the tree itself, is what provides the world with cork.
The trees, after 25 years of initial maturity, have their bark "harvested”, a delicate skilled process that generations of cork workers have developedinto anart form. Once a tree is harvested, strict laws prohibit it from being harvested again for another decade, thus giving the tree time to regenerate new bark.
Amazingly, this is not damaging to the tree whatsoever. In fact, the quality of the cork increases with each harvest. This is sustainability at its optimum. There is no waste permitted in the manufacturing of cork products, every part and parcel of the bark is used, with the exception of the very tough outer layer. Stoppers are first punched from the cork bark sheets, then the "left over" cork (what remains in the bars of cork left after the round pieces are cut out) is reprocessed and used to make numerous products, including flooring tiles and planks.
What characteristics make cork such a superb material as a flooring product?
Cork is exceptionally resilient and durable. The cellular structure that comprises cork fibers resembles a honey-comb. These pockets are filled with a gaseous substance whose walls are very flexible. This combination makes for an extremely resilient product that is naturally airtight and water –resistant. Because of this ability cork is also shock absorbent, sound proof and a thermal insulator. Cork as well produces a natural wax-like substance known as Suberin. This factor helps to make cork anti-microbial, rot-resistant, and allergenic. It acts an insect repellant as termites and other boring insects can find no home within its flesh.
Cork is an excellent choice for flooring because it will take punishment and come back for more.
Want to know more about Installing Cork Floating Flooring or Installing Glue Down Cork Tiles ? You will get all the information you need as well as a wide range of cork tiles at icorkfloor.
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