More often the only use of cork people are familiar with is for bottle stops, but it is used in all sorts of industries such as construction, motoring, footwear, space exploration and of course flooring. It has natural warmth, friendly to the environment and Gran Orte have created some fabulous designs. Come in to our showrooms to see and feel this truly amazing product.
Cork is the outer bark of the cork oak tree, which grows mainly in the Mediterranean region of the world. It’s use as a raw material dates back to the Phoenician and Greek times. Because of its use as wine bottle stoppers, it began to be known all over the world. In fact, it is the only material that manages to make a perfect seal during the ageing of the wine.
Today, it represents for Portugal a valuable resource, being one of the most important exporting products.
Cork oak forests cover approximately 2.5 million hectares primarily in seven countries: Portugal, Algeria, Spain, Morocco, France, Italy and Tunisia.
The tree has a life span of about 250 years. Each tree must be 20 to 25 years old before it can provide its first harvest of cork bark called “virgin”. This type has a hard and irregular structure. After extracting it, a new layer starts generating. With the increasing concern for the environment, cork oak remains the only tree with bark that regenerates itself after harvest leaving the tree unharmed. It is truly, a renewable, environmentally friendly resource. Furthermore, the tree has the remarkable capacity to retain carbon and a harvested tree fixates almost five times more carbon. This exceptional characteristic makes cork a naturally sustainable product and its use contributes to the preservation of a unique habitat in the world.
A typical tree produces several hundred kilograms of cork at each harvesting. It’s production is sustainable and assured with new plantations every year. Trees are never cut down or removed without local government approval and control.
“Cork is nature’s foam, a foam with a unique combination of properties.” NASA Technical Reports Server
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