What is Cork Flooring?
Cork flooring is such a remarkable material that even modern technology has been unable to match or surpass it. A completely natural product, cork is harvested without damaging or chopping down a single tree, making it the ultimate environmentally friendly product.
Cork floor is made of millions of cork cells – each cell functioning as a miniature sound and thermal insulator, as well as a miniature pressure and shock absorber. By regaining its shape time and time again, no matter how much it is walked on or how long furniture stands on it, cork always retains its elasticity. These unique qualities make it ideal for use in flooring, as it reduces sound, is warm to the touch and comfortable to walk on.
Cork Flooring’s Natural Properties
Cork comes from the bark of the cork oak tree. It is a renewable and sustainable resource, making it ideal in terms of the ever increasing demand for conservation of natural resources. In cork oak plantations the first cork bark will not be harvested from a tree until it is 25-30 years old, as only then it is considered a fully grown tree.
The process of stripping off the bark in sections is a traditionally manual one dating back many hundreds of years. The tree is not damaged and the bark regrows completely, taking on a smoother texture after each harvest. Harvesting only occurs once every nine years and a cork oak can live for 150-200 years, so it can be safely harvested up to 20 times during its life cycle. It is a truly inexhaustible and natural resource.
There isn’t a man-made material that can match cork, nor is one ever likely to take its place. Cork flooring’s structure is very similar to that of a honeycomb: each square centimetre is composed of 40 million cells. These cells, as well as the spaces between them, are filled with a gaseous mixture similar to air. That is what makes cork floors so remarkable. The unique structure and composition of cork flooring creates the three most important characteristics in its application as flooring: Thermal Insulation, Sound Reduction and Elasticity.