Sustainability is the primary driver in building design and construction today; therefore, architects, builders and specifiers are constantly looking for green building materials that support their sustainable objectives.
Cork flooring products are increasingly being used in buildings thanks to their strong green credentials. However, the use of cork in everyday life goes back centuries. Cork products are produced by stripping the bark from the cork oak tree. The stripped bark is taken to the factory where it is heated to extremely high temperatures, at which point it releases natural binding agents and is pressed into blocks.
The bark is stripped once every nine years to preserve the health of each tree, during which time, the oak tree captures and stores additional CO2, making the manufacturing process carbon positive.
Portugal is home to almost half of the world’s cork oak forests. Cork is used across the world in sustainable projects.
Cork is a popular material thanks to its sustainable qualities. Cork Wise, for instance, is a carbon negative flooring product that doesn’t use any PVC and is 100% sustainable.
Cork products are excellent for thermal insulation. Thanks to this quality, cork has been used on spacecrafts since the 1950s as protection against the spread of flames. Additionally, cork’s performance as a thermal insulator increases the building’s energy efficiency and reduces heating and cooling costs.
Cork is also extremely waterproof, which can be seen in its use on wine bottles. Cork holds strong when exposed to water – since the material absorbs very little water, it is dimensionally stable.
AcoustiCORK products can be totally immersed in water for 30 days or more without showing any signs of structural deterioration.
Cork also has excellent sound absorption qualities that prevent noise from travelling between rooms or different living units.
Cork’s great shock absorbing qualities make it soft and comfortable underfoot. Cork flooring is a good choice for homes, especially where elderly people reside. Additionally, cork tiles reduce the impact on the floor when heavy objects are dropped.