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According to the Encyclopedia Britannica, the make-up of the vascular tissue and secondary tissues is the same as vegetables with an inner tissue forming the “meat” of the tree or vegetable and the outer tissue forming the “bark” of the tree or protective skin of the vegetable.  (However, this does not justify having the bottle of wine for lunch because you could eat the cork – you said it was a vegetable!  I am quite sure it’s not on the Surgeon General’s list of healthy foods.)  So what does this mean for you – the consumer?  This cellular nature is what makes cork such a remarkable product and so versatile in many different facets of your life.  The spongy qualities, the hypo-allergenic properties, and the self-healing structure of cork are all possible only because of this unique spongy cellular nature of cork.
This is one of the many reasons cork has been used for centuries and seems to gain even more recognition with each passing day in our current culture as an important environmental and healthy selection for materials.  We have mentioned numerous times how cork flooring and cork wall tiles are this up and coming trend, but really, they are a mainstay in home décor and design and have been around for thousands of years. The ancient Egyptians, Greeks and Romans reference the use of cork as the primary method of stoppering wines and oils to maintain their freshness and to help in the transport of said goods, as well as footwear and roofing materials.  In the 1600s, Dom Perignon developed his “methode champenoise,” replacing wooden stoppers with cork ones in the production of his wines and champagnes.  The popularity of this improved format grew over the next two centuries to include using cork stoppers for maintaining the quality of food products as well as wines, oils, and other liquids.  And now we have brought it into our homes in a more direct fashion with cork floor tiles and cork wall tiles.
The commercial consumption of cork for the purpose of flooring needs and more recently wall covering needs has been emerging for well over 100 years since the early 1900’s.  It has been found in many of our historic buildings throughout the United States in government buildings, libraries, and churches just to give a few examples.  Cork’s insulating  properties were a heavy determining factor at this time to maintain a temperature as well as keep noise levels to a minimum in these public places.  In the 1970’s, cork flooring really took off in the residential market as a viable material for flooring that was easy to install, maintain, and accessorize that even made the flower child happy with its eco-friendly nature.  Since then, cork has been on an upward trend.  
And that brings us to now; where your cork flooring and cork wall tiles are 30 million years in the making since they began flourishing in the Mediterranean climates of Portugal.  They have been protected through legislation conservation since 1209 to protect them from deforestation.  The harvesting of the cork oak bark actually helps sustain the trees longevity.  So, as you contemplate whether or not to install cork flooring or cork wall tiles, think no more!  It is the right choice both for you as the consumer, and for the environment.  It is a material that people have been using for centuries and as the old adage goes – if it ain’t broke, don’t fix it!  We have only continued to improve it for our clients because as you can tell – it certainly ain’t broke.

April 30, 2013

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