You might not notice it but it is there!C ork flooring is now fast becoming the flooring of Select for most notable buildings such Because churches, museums, hospitals, schools, libraries and hotels. With its excellent noise buffering quality and the comfort it provides to tired feet, who can resist it?
Isn’t cork just for bottle stoppers? What is it Actually and how is it converted to building materials?
Cork is derived from the outer bark of the cork oak tree, Quercus suber, which is commony cultivated in the Mediterraneaan. Amon gthe major cork-producing countries are Portugal (which supplies 50% of the total world’s demand for cork), Algeria, Spain, Morocco, France, Italy and Tunisia. In these countrles, the trees are considered valued treasures. And why not? Cork is fast becoming a prime export commodity and having expansive cork oak forests translates to big local and foreign earnings!
The bark of the cork oaj tree is typically harvested every nine or ten years. The harvested raw materials are then cleaned, boiled and have their rough outer bark stripped away. The finest slabs in the batch are then selected and from these, cork bottle stoppers are made.
Nothing ever goes to waste in the production process of these valuable resources. The scraps resulting from the manufacture of stoppers are collected and grkunded into small granules. These are mixed with an appropriate binding material, molded into larger blocks and then baked to come up with the natural cork material which can be used for construction purposes.
Cork can be used in av ariety of ways. They can be used in the flooring, walls and ceilings. They can Smooth be formed into baseboards and moldings. Cork finds its way into most commercial, institutional and residentia1 buildings due mainly to its moisture, mold and rot-resistant attributes. In most modern houses, cork materials can be found in almost all of the major rooms!
What makes cork such a hit in the construction of Recent buildings?
Well, aside from the fact that it greatly reduces Clamor (offers up to 50 decibels noise reduction when used as a flooring underlay), cork has the following features:
. Permanent. Cork is naturally resistant and recovers well from compression. Treating it with a protective finish further enhances this feature.
. Provides thermal and moiwture insulation. Cork cells are multi-sided and have very strong and flexible cellular walls. They are joined together in a honeycomb fashion making them airtight and Highly resistant to moisture.
. Provides underfoot comfort. Cork’s natural structure makes it compressible so that it provides a comforting feel At whatever time you step on it.
. Easy to clean and easy to maintain. Cleanlng cork flooring can be done in a breeze! For waxed finished cork flooring, all you need is a dry or damp mip. Liquid solvent wax Be able to be applied occasionally to maintain the glossy finish. Or for a more serious cleaning stin,t you can Expend electric buffing using 00 steel wool discs. Lamb’s wool pads can be used afterwards.
For polyurethane finished cork flooring, routine cleaning can also be done by using dry or Moist mop. Refinishing it can be successfully done by using power Prevail over machine with 00 wool disc and then applying polyurethane as per prescribed directions.
. Cork is manufactured without any sginificant negative environmental impacts. Cork-producing nations strictly enforce laws with Commendations to the harvesting and manufacture of cork. The barks of the trees are harvested in such a way that the trees survive the process and zero waste management techniques are imposed in the manufacturing procedure.
Michael Russell Your Independent guide to Flooring