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Cork floors have been around for over 100 years. Warm and comfortable under foot, sound and heat insulating. Sustainable and biodegradable.
A cork tree can live for more than 200 years. It takes 25 years before a new tree is big enough to have its outer bark harvested and from then on harvesting is usually every 9 years.
Cork trees are a type of oak tree, Quercus Suber, which grow in Southern Portugal and Spain and other countries around the Mediterranean. Cork tree forests are well adapted to these hot climates and the forests are important to help stop desertification.
The thick outer bark acts as a preventative barrier against grass fires and heat. In the hottest months of summer, May to August, the cork tree outer bark expands and comes away from the inner layer of the tree. When this happens, the bark is ready to be harvested.
Cork is both renewable and biodegradable. It has a honeycomb structure, with each square centimetre containing about 40 million cells filled with nitrogen and oxygen. This makes cork extremely light and buoyant, able to withstand shock and vibration, be compressed yet still able to be flexible.
All this makes cork an excellent natural and renewable material for the building industry, sustainable and biodegradable. Cork is durable, resilient, elastic, impermeable and an excellent insulator for both sound and heat.
Cork tiles are made by granulating the cork bark into small pieces then adding an adhesive binder, compressed, and fired in a kiln to produce cork blocks from which the tiles are cut. Cork floor tiles have a density of around 450 kilos per cubic metre for domestic use and 500 kilos per cubic metre for architectural density. All House Martin cork is manufactured to ISO 9001 certification and European Standards.