Cork is best known for its association with wine and the office pinboard, but when applied to interiors, it is an incredibly green and versatile material. Many design projects are now guided by ethical and sustainable initiatives, and architects and designers are selecting cork as a leading building and interiors material. Cork, like hardwood timber floors, has a raw and timeless aesthetic because it is sourced from nature. Each piece is unique, with a wide range of grain, texture, and color finishes.
Cork's sustainable features
1. Cork is truly renewable
Cork's natural renewability is regarded as its most valuable characteristic, as it can be harvested from the outer bark of the cork oak tree (Quercus Suber) without causing harm and allowing the tree to regenerate. Cork trees, which are mostly found in Mediterranean countries, are slow growing and can live up to 250 years, with harvesting taking place every nine years. The tree must first mature for approximately 25 years in order for its cellular structure to mature, which produces the thermal and acoustic properties of cork.
2. Cork is beneficial to our health
Cork's naturally anti-microbial properties combat mould, and its anti-static surface eliminates dust and toxin absorption, making it ideal for allergy sufferers and a material that contributes to cleaner air space. Its soft surface also relieves pressure on people with knee problems or seniors looking for absorption support under their feet.
3. Cork can help you be certified for sustainability
Cork's renewable and biodegradable properties can help spaces achieve Green Star and LEED certification. According to the World Wildlife Federation, a cork tree whose bark is removed every nine years absorbs up to five times as much CO2 as a similar tree that is left alone.
4. Cork is a durable and long-lasting material
Cork has been known to last up to 50 years when used in interiors due to its resistance to pressure, making it ideal for high traffic areas such as hallway flooring or kitchen counter tops. Cork is widely used as a backing material for many other materials because of its compressive strength and acoustic and thermal properties.
5. Cork has multiple applications
Cork furniture and decor are gaining popularity in interior design, in addition to flooring, benches, and wall coverings. Cork can be ground and shaved for use in soft furnishings, and its natural grain can be tinted and stained to create a wide range of pattern and color finishes. Because cork is waterproof and fire resistant, it is widely used in bathrooms, kitchens, and laundries for everything from flooring to cabinetry and bench tops. Its insulating properties allow it to absorb and retain heat, and it is used for acoustic purposes in many commercial buildings. Cork, like many other natural materials that have been around for centuries, is expected to resurgence in the design industry due to its environmental benefits and flexible application opportunities in interiors.
6. And even more! Interesting information on cork sustainability
Cork forests are home for a variety of endangered spaces
One of its most distinguishing features is the ease with which cork products and byproducts can be recycled. Cork Oak forests also help to prevent desertification and provide a unique habitat in the Iberian Peninsula for a variety of endangered species.
Cork is the smartest choice as bottle stopper
Corticeira Amorim, Oeneo Bouchage of France, and the Cork Supply Group of Portugal conducted carbon footprint studies and concluded that cork is the most environmentally friendly wine stopper in comparison to other alternatives. Pricewaterhouse Coopers created the Corticeira Amorim study, specifically "Analysis of the Life Cycle of Cork, Aluminum, and Plastic Wine Closures," in accordance with ISO 14040. According to the findings, each plastic stopper emits 10 times more CO2 than a cork stopper, while an aluminum stopper emits 26 times more CO2 than a cork stopper.
If you feel like using more cork in your interiors, try our stunning, award winning, Cork products at Forest Homes.