Cork is a common household material that is used for notice boards, flooring, place mats, underlay and wine bottle stoppers. Cork has been used for hundreds of years. The first recorded use in history of cork is by the Phoenicians who used cork as floats for fishing. Cork is an important resource in this day and age of climate change and deforestation that threatens to irreparably change our quality of life.
The use of renewable resources such as cork, coconut and bamboo to replace hardwoods in consumer products is one important strategy to carefully husband what resources we have and to prevent the loss of trees that are needed to absorb the dangerously high amounts of carbon in the atmosphere.
Cork is special in that unlike bamboo, coconut and other renewable resources the tree is not killed in order to harvest its resource. Cork comes from the bark of the cork oak tree. The tree takes 25 years to reach maturity after which time the cork cambium or cork bark can be peeled off the tree by hand. This does not damage the tree if done correctly; it also does not destroy natural habitat for animals. The cork oak grows another bark every 12 years.
There are about 25,000 hectares of cork oak forests in Portugal, Spain, Morocco, Algeria, Tunisia and France. These forests contain many important species of flora and fauna including the endangered Iberian lynx and the Barbary macaque. The cork industry is a great example of being able to conserve the natural environment and at the same time use it as a resource.
Although it is tempting to extol the merits of cork wine bottle stoppers, it is cork flooring and cork underlay that really show the important benefits of cork. It is a lightweight material that makes light but strong flooring tiles. Cork is composed of millions of air pockets that make cork flexible but strong. This structure also absorbs heat and so cork flooring helps to make a home more energy efficient.
Cork is not only a good thermal insulator; it also is an acoustic insulator. Cork flooring lessens the noise of people walking and so is great for an upstairs room, especially the children’s room.
Cork contains the natural antimicrobial agent called suberin. Cork flooring is thus a healthy type of flooring that protects a family from disease. The suberin in cork also makes the flooring fire retardant.
If you are looking for an environmentally friendly alternative to hardwood flooring or carpet then it is worth looking at the <a href=”http://www.buycorkflooring.info/benefits.html”>benefits of cork flooring</a>. It is made from a special material that helps nature and mankind.