Cork – A Gift From Nature
Cork comes from the bark of the cork oak tree. The first extraction of cork (which is called stripping) occurs by hand 25 years into its life cycle without ever damaging the tree. The tree is then stripped every 9 years after that. Since the cork oak tree has a lifespan between 200– 350 years, it allows it to be harvested at least 16 times during its lifetime. This truly makes the cork tree an eco-friendly, sustainable and renewable resource.
One cubic inch of cork contains millions of flexible cells resembling a “honeycomb structure” which not only protect the tree from temperature changes but also gives cork flooring its insulating quality. This allows it to be warmer and quieter than other hard surfaces making it a perfect choice for basements and family room. It is these millions of cells that also gives cork its elasticity and resiliency, making it very resistant to wear and tear.
The cork material itself is mainly composed of a waxy substance called suberin, a natural material that makes it impermeable to liquids. That is why it has been used to seal wine bottles for centuries. When used for flooring, being it resists moisture more effectively than say hardwood, it is an ideal choice for use in a kitchen. We must caution you, however, that while cork is inherently moisture resistant, excessive water accumulation can be damaging over time just as with other flooring material.
Because of its chemical structure, cork is also hypoallergenic. Cork is nearly immune to mold, mildew and pests due to the lack of moisture retention and is an excellent choice for households with individuals who are hypersensitive to the elements.
The designers at Floors of Distinction enjoy working with cork due to its natural and organic properties which allows it to coordinate with various materials and design elements.
“We have found our customers have been very pleased with their decision to use cork in their homes because of its many benefits and style.”
The intricate designs cork provides, the extreme functionality it gives to a space and its increasing availability in planks and tiles rather than sheets is giving it a popularity boost.
“There are just more design options available with many widths and sizes in planks and tiles. You have the option of installing all one color or mixing the pieces for designs that you can truly call your own. “
Additionally, cork’s natural sound-insulating properties gives you the hardwood or tile look you want without the unwanted echo; this is particularly useful in homes with vaulted ceilings in their home. “We love that the cork today is much more varied in colors and designs than it previously was however we also love the natural shades of cork by themselves that compliment any interior. That gives homeowners and designers alike several options to make your project perfect.”Submitted by Interior Designers Colleen Kelley & Heather Sandberg