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Why Cork Cladding is a Sustainable Solution

1 Jul 2019

Cork is more than a wine stopper. It’s a sustainable cladding solution. Learn about the material, design & sustainability benefits of choosing cork here.

If you were to suddenly receive the power of invisibility and choose to wield it while in an architect or design firm you may hear the words ‘sustainable,’ ‘renewable,’ ‘recyclable’ and ‘closed loop’ come up in conversation.

In the wake of debates and discussions surrounding climate change, several industry professionals, builders and homeowners are recognising the long-term importance of adopting a ‘think green’ mindset.

Through these revelations, materials that have been hidden by their fancier counterparts are now finally entering the sphere of discussion.

One such material is cork.

Often associated with wine stoppers, the versatility of cork is relatively unknown. It can be used to create furniture, stationery, kitchenware, yoga mats and even bathroom wash basins.

It’s also used to create cladding, and has some noteworthy sustainability benefits, which we’ll take you through below. 

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Multiple sheets of harvested cork


Native to Portugal, the cork oak tree plays an important role in balancing the biodiversity of the Mediterranean region. The actual cork material refers to the outer bark of the tree. Due to the regenerative qualities of the bark, the cork oak tree can be harvested approximately every 7 to 10 years; a tree normally lives for over 200 years and it is one of the only trees to actively renew its bark.

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The cork oak tree or, as it's known by its scientific name, Quercus suber.

How is cork harvested from the tree?

From the very beginning, the entire cork harvesting process is strictly regulated to ensure a minimal amount of damage occurs and trees are not unduly cut down.

Due to the precise skillset required to correctly harvest the bark (all workers are specially trained) the process is completed entirely sans machinery. Instead, harvesters use a small hatchet to remove the outer layer of skin. This means that the ecological footprint of cork production is relatively low when compared to other industries such as the manufacturing of plastic. The industry also creates several jobs for the many families that reside in and around these harvesting locations, helping to support the local communities. 

What are the design benefits of cork cladding?

From a design perspective, cork cladding is an exciting innovation that allows savvy architects and designers to create a point of difference by producing unique and bespoke combinations.

It’s also a great choice because of its physical properties. The material does not absorb dust and is resistant to bacteria and fungus. The finished product does not cause allergies or pose a risk to asthma sufferers. Adhesives and finishing products used in the manufacturing of cork covering do not use heavy metal compounds, are formaldehyde free and are low in volatile organic compound emissions.

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Interested in cork cladding for your project?

A unique concept in wall coverings, we offer the Cork Cladding Collection in various stunning designs. The surface of the tiles offer a highly textured, raised-pattern finish that is designed to add interest to vertical surfaces, whether used as an accent panel or across a full wall scheme. They allow imaginative formats and patterns to be created with ease.

Want to learn more about this exciting new product? Get in touch with our friendly team or visit one of our showrooms to see larger samples of the cork wall cladding.