Cork is the outer bark of the cork oak tree; it grows mainly in the Mediterranean region of the world and has a life span of about 200 years. Each cork tree lives to 20 to 25 years old before it can provide its first harvest of cork. After extracting the cork, a new layer starts generating which will take nine years until a new harvest can take place. Cork harvesting is conducted in a sustainable manner and does not harm the tree as it is never cut down or removed from its roots.
With increasing concern for the environment, cork oak remains the only tree where its bark can regenerate itself after a harvest, leaving the tree unharmed. It has a remarkable capacity to retain carbon and a harvested cork tree consumes almost five times more carbon when compared to other trees. These exceptional characteristics mean that cork is a naturally sustainable product and contributes to the preservation of a unique habitat in the world.
Cork is an environmentally friendly material and is the ideal option when looking for floor and wall coverings. It is amazingly versatile so designers can explore the material in a surprisingly creative fashion. By altering colour and the way the cork is “laid up” it becomes possible to create a whole range of textures and visual effects without upsetting the performance of the product, while maintaining its natural properties.
With over 40 million natural cushion cells per cubic centimetre, cork is a natural sound and thermal insulator, comfortable underfoot, quiet, warm and pleasant to the touch. Cork floors do not absorb dust, are resistant to bacteria and fungus and do not trigger allergies or pose risks to asthma sufferers. Portugal Cork also has proven low volatile organic compound (VOC) emissions.