Cork slabs – use in construction and at home

The European Union is the largest producer of cork (over 80%). It is most common in the western Mediterranean countries, of which Portugal stands out the most (over 50%) as the world’s largest producer and processor.

Cork trees are extremely well adapted to the climate of southern Europe and North Africa, they prevent soil depletion and the emission of large amounts of carbon dioxide. They are also home to many unique plant and animal species. It has an average density of about 200 kg / m3 and a low thermal conductivity.

The cork boards that we offer are used, among others, in as thermal insulation of floors and walls, in the footwear industry as shoe soles, as cork boards or in modeling.

https://cork-shop.co.uk/category/cork-sheets/


They protect or limit moisture condensation on the surface of walls and ceilings. In the field of acoustics, we deal with the so-called acoustic correction by acoustic absorption and reduction of reverberation time (echo reduction) in certain environments, as well as sound reduction by impact (drums).
In the anti-vibration field, where denser and thicker plates are used, they are specially used as vibration dampers on the machine supports, in order to reduce the transmission of working vibrations to the structures on which they are based, the same is done with the insulation of foundations.

Cork slabs also have a functional and decorative function in everyday life. In addition to pinboards in the home office and school, very often the entire wall is used as a wall for pinning important information.


Cork slabs - use in construction and at home

Most often, such a solution can be observed in the office of large companies, where good work organization is important and many things should be remembered. However, this solution is also gaining more and more popularity in children’s rooms and in the home offices of adults who work remotely.

Cork boards are often a material used to cover various parts of furniture. A thin layer of cork can be used to cover the table top, sliding wardrobe doors, the inside of a drawer, or the fronts of cabinets or chests of drawers. A cork top made of a thick cork board is also often an element of ecological tables, the advantage of which is, for example, the muffled sound of falling objects, cutlery or the natural resistance of cork to moisture and stains from various liquids.


Cork hive cover for bees

Cork hives are an innovative approach to bee breeding that promotes the health of bees while providing all the benefits of modern beekeeping. Wild honeybees typically colonize tree hollows – voids left in trees by woodpeckers, fungi, or other accidents. These depressions have thick, rough walls and are usually about 40 liters in volume. The most commonly used material in this case is expanded cork, although technical cork is also used. In Portugal, you can also often meet the so-called cylindrical cork hives made of cork oak bark.

Cork hives mimic those on trees as much as possible. Natural, additive-free cork cladding provides insulation for four inches of wood, yet is lightweight. Rough interior walls encourage bees to coat their home with immune-enhancing propolis. The hive’s small size is ideal for supporting bee health, as confirmed by researchers such as Thomas Seeley.


Cork hives have all of these bee-friendly benefits and much more, while also being adapted to the Langstroth frames used by conventional beekeepers. The research of Italian scientists has shown that cork hives have a more regular course of the daily internal temperature than wooden counterparts, more efficient winter thermoregulation, shorter time needed to restore the hive temperature after opening (in relation to the breeding chamber).

In the case of the latter, the temperature drop during the extraction of frames (5 min) was smaller in cork-wooden hives as compared to wooden hives. Due to the lower heating needs, less honey was consumed by the families during the winter months, with an average of 3.5 kg of honey per hive saved under Mediterranean conditions. Below is a link to a full description of their research: https://oppla.eu/casestudy/20812


The results of Italian research suggest the use of cork to build modern, but at the same time traditional, wooden and cork hives. This could contribute to greater economic and environmental sustainability of multifunctional Mediterranean pastoral systems, but also to a reduction in the amount of fossil fuel-based insulation materials, especially where winter temperatures may be lower than those experienced in this study.

The use of cork in the construction of modern hives seems to be promising and may constitute an interesting synergy between beekeeping and forest management with cork oak. Considering the mild environmental conditions in the experimental site, interesting prospects for increasing honey production under more severe climatic conditions can be expected.


Product packaging made of cork

Innovative cork material is used in packaging design and more. This is how the story of this ideal material for sustainable packaging designs began. Cork materials come mainly from the Mediterranean region. The cork oak, from which the cork is obtained, is native to south-western Europe and north-western Africa and is one of the most common tree species in Portugal.

Portugal produces 61%, then Spain almost 30% and Italy less than 10%. No trees are damaged during cork extraction. When uncorking, the outer layer is removed. After extraction, the cork oak simply produces a new layer of bark. This process can be repeated every 9 years. Just as we collect wool from sheep, the trees will be uncorked and will produce it for 150 years.


What makes cork an amazing natural raw material, ideal for ecological packaging?

Cork has unique properties and textures. It’s a natural plant tissue – like a hive of microscopic cells surrounded by gas and covered with polymer and wax. These elements give it rigidity, impermeability and resilience, making it an excellent choice for sustainable packaging design.

Our current technology has not been able to mimic this in the lab. Just a tiny piece of cork, similar to a sugar cube, contains about 60 million of these air-filled cells, making it a unique material like layers and layers of microscopic bubble wrap.


Cork is a very effective insulating material with excellent shock absorbing properties. Because of this, it has an excellent property of protecting the contents, making it a very suitable packaging material. It is fireproof and does not produce toxic gases. A non-slip surface can be created by simply cutting the surface. Its high flexibility and impermeability is one of cork’s best-known characteristics.

However, cork is not wood as it is dead tissue, it is indifferent to the substance meaning no taste or smell is released. This great hygienic value is appreciated in many creative industries. Using cork for sustainable packaging design can be an ideal solution for many types of products.


Cork is a raw material, 100% reusable, 100% recyclable, 100% natural, eco-friendly option, packaging design idea that stands out on the shelf. The possibilities are endless, and what we don’t often hear about materials, the recycling process never ends. Now it’s time for innovation.

From the original cork to wine bottles, we can now see the cork packaging used Bottle design, food packaging, wine labeling, cosmetic packaging and more. In a world where eco-friendly packaging solutions are increasingly in demand, this versatile material is the perfect option. A packaging made of cork, a purely natural material, also sends a strong message to the target group.


Cork is now being transformed into unique designs ranging from furniture to tableware to lighting products. There are countless uses for cork. Cork material might be an unconventional approach, but it’s 100% eco-friendly. It offers creative freedom to product designers, packaging designers, and innovators in general. You can use this material for food packaging, wine labels or boxes. Despite this, it easily attracts customers’ attention.

Warming the truck with a cork

Cork is a durable, breathable, insect-resistant, fire-resistant, mold-resistant and renewable raw material. So why not use it as vehicle insulation as well? The same question was asked by a German couple of travelers 3 years ago and decided to implement their idea. She described the whole process on her blog https://nebendemweg.de/

Cork as an insulating material was first used in historic wooden hulls of ships. Until now, cork material has been used in motorhomes and vans, but it was not the main insulation material, so the idea of a pair from Germany is pioneering. They used contact adhesive to make the cork withstand all vibrations from the vehicle.

The cork panels on the truck floor will withstand even walking in dirty shoes after multiple layers of paint have been applied. Cork insulation remains breathable so there is no risk of thermal condensation.

The decisive factor in selecting the appropriate type of cork was the cork’s thermal conductivity. Depending on the variant, it is from 0.04 to 0.06 W / (m • K). This unit means Watts per meter and Kelvin. A lower value therefore means worse thermal conductivity and therefore better insulation. plastics with a thickness of at least 20 mm are used for insulation in the construction of expedition vehicles.


The choice fell on a 25mm technical cork. The boards and gluing are best done by two people, which is a much faster and more convenient solution than working alone. Before actually starting work, we recommend several adhesion tests on a given substrate. The glue sticks to the walls so well that the pieces of cork can only be removed with a chisel.

https://cork-shop.co.uk/product/cork-sheets/cork-sheet-25-mm-coarse-grained/

By far the most time-consuming job is measuring and fitting the cork boards. The table saw was most practical for long straight cuts or bevels. The recesses were cut with a fine metal saw blade. The fit or rework went well with sandpaper and a cutting knife.

The application of the cut panels is best for four hands. It is no longer possible to slide or slide the cork as soon as the glue sticks. This is first applied to the cork board and the wall with a 4mm velor roller. At a processing temperature of 15 to 27 ° C, the glue dries until it is no longer white, but transparent.


As with laying cork as flooring, freshly glued panels still need to be hit with a white rubber mallet (black leaves stains). With contact adhesives, the adhesive strength is no greater the more adhesive is applied, but depends on the pressure. It was also important to fit and install the cork panels at a similar temperature. The cork can be painted, however two coats of paint were needed before the color evenly covered the cork. The bostik sealing plug can be used for the joints between the panels. This mass is much easier to break into cracks.

https://cork-shop.co.uk/product/expansion-joints/dilatation-spray-cork-bostik/

Further travelers from Germany describe that during their trip to Asia Minor, there were no problems with cork insulation. From an internal temperature above 40 ° C to -11 ° C during a winter excursion, neither the heat nor the cold hurt the binding of the cork boards. The different bumps did not have any effect on the durability of the adhered cork. In terms of cleaning, the cork surfaces are easy to maintain.

Especially on the walls, where there is still paint under the cork paint, the dirt was easy to wipe off. Only where the varnish is applied to the bare cork it is better to use three coats of varnish instead of two. The insulation reliably protected against the cold from the outside. In practice, cork stood out as promised with its resilience, resistance to mold and pests, good heat and sound insulation, sustainability and a good indoor climate.

A unique cork palace in Poland

In Moja Wola (formerly Kuźnica Sośniewska, a settlement in the district of Ostrów, in the Greater Poland Voivodeship in the commune of Sośnie, located on the edge of the village of Sośnie, about 25 km south-west of Ostrów Wielkopolski, Poland) there is a wooden palace on a bog iron foundation built for the Duke of Brunswick. of Oleśnica Wilhelm. The architecture of the palace refers to the Swiss style, but this is not what distinguishes it from other buildings of this type. The façades of the palace are covered with cork oak bark, which is unique on a European scale. It is one of the two buildings on our continent where such an unusual facade has been used. In our store you can also find a cork similar to a cork from this unique palace:

https://cork-shop.co.uk/product/cork-wall/wall-cork-virgin-25mm/


The palace was built in 1852. From year to year, its technical condition is deteriorating and it begins to raise concerns about the future of the building. It is said that there are only two such palaces in Europe, although all sources mention only a Polish palace and a few small pavilions, e.g. in the Roman Barbarini or on the Peacock Island in Berlin. So there is a high probability that the Polish monument is unique.

The oak bark covering the walls of the Palace in Moje Wola was specially imported from Portugal. Located in the English-style park, the palace, thanks to the unusual facade material, becomes an element of the surrounding landscape, and the whole creates an amazing atmosphere. Initially, the palace facilities were part of the Międzybórz estate, from 1886 they were the center of the property of Baron Daniel von Diergardt’s My Wola, and from 1891 his widow, Agnes von Diergardt.


After the war – like many monuments – it was nationalized, and its wooden walls housed the first female technical school in Poland, which educated foresters. They were transferred in 1975 to Stary Sącz. Until 1992, it remained in the hands of the State Forests, then it became the property of the commune, and then it was sold to a private owner. The palace and the surrounding park have been entered into the register of immovable monuments in the Greater Poland Voivodeship.

Since another private owner is unable to do anything about the precious palace, lovers of culture and monuments have gathered to save the precious building. You can follow the progress of the work of this Facebook group at the address below:

Let’s save the Palace in My Wola.

https://www.facebook.com/ratujmymojawole

Wood stove with natural cork casing

Wood stove with natural cork casing

Wood stove with natural cork casing – Natura is an award-winning wood-burning stove designed by Portuguese design studio Inngage.

https://www.inngage.pt/project/natura/

The structure gives a unique character thanks to the cork outer layer.

Natura is a wood stove designed for Fogo Montanha.

https://www.fogo-montanha.com/

Its projectants design it to give an industrial product a more natural feel. The idea of using cork as the main cladding material arose from the desire to give the user a tactile experience. Thus it gives a better sense of heat.


Following the philosophy of simple construction, the stove body is from steel. Cork profiles are laid on and fixed to its structure. These profiles are separated from the steel structure. It prevents the cork from darkening over time.

Wood stove with natural cork casing manufactured from modular cork profiles, it resembles vintage radiators. At the same time this material reinforces safety by allowing users to safely touch and feel the wood stove. It makes this equipment suitable for any room in the home.


Nature as a research project is over two years old. The relationship between the cork and the combustion chamber has been studied and improved. That ensures proper air circulation, ease of installation. This ensures also user safety when interacting with the wood stove through rigorous use tests.

House of natural cork in Barcelona

House of natural cork in Barcelona

Architect Elisabetta Quarta Colosso from Spanish studio El Fil Verd designed a single-family house covered with natural cork panels on the edge of Barcelona’s Garraf Park. The cork is here not only energy-saving and insulating. It was also used to best fit the building into the natural surroundings. The house was built for a retired couple who dreamed of living in nature in a house with low energy consumption.

Design of house of natural cork in Barcelona constraints included a steeply sloping plot facing north and a limited customer budget. With this in mind, the architect saw the project as an opportunity to demonstrate that it was possible to construct passive, bioclimatically designed buildings at an affordable cost.


House of natural cork in Barcelona 2

Town planning regulations allowed for the development of up to three levels. Instead, the architect decided to shape the house as one cubature on two floors to better fit it into the surroundings. The building opens to the north to the Montserrat mountain and has a beautiful view of the park.

On the other hand, the facades facing the street and the neighbors are intentionally devoid of openings. This ensures privacy for residents. The living area and one bedroom are on the ground floor. On the first floor there is a second bedroom and a large terrace with a solarium and a garden. Each room in the house allows you to contemplate the forest from a different perspective.


House of natural cork in Barcelona 3

To achieve an ultra-energy-efficient building, the architect conducted a detailed study of the local climate and topography of the site,. She applied a series of bioclimatic design strategies that take into account both cold winters and hot summers. One of these strategies involves building orientation. It is positioned along the North-South axis to maximize solar radiation in winter and promote effective natural ventilation in summer.

To heat the house of natural cork in Barcelona, the south façade, in its glazed part, acts as a solar heater. This is due to the greenhouse effect. Solar radiation, which has a reduced angle in these months, penetrates inside and turns into heat, increasing the temperature of the apartment.

The Trombe-Mitchell walls on the façade on the south side act as hot chambers. When they which reach high temperatures during the day and transfer them by convection and radiation to the interior. On the northern side, the openings have been minimized so that they do not adversely affect the heat balance.

Cork Mats for Turntables

Cork Mats for Turntables

Not many people know, but cork is a useful material even in such a narrow field as the production of turntables, or more precisely, gramophone mats. A gramophone mat protects records from scratching and improves listening comfort. The most popular gramophone mats are most often rubber mats and those made of cork. Cork mats for turntables tend to be slightly softer in terms of sound, while rubber mats have a more damping effect on playback. If the air is dry in the room, it may be profitable to switch to a rubber or cork mat to minimize static effects. A cork mat is often used because it absorbs vibrations generated by the motor and produces less static electricity than felt mats.


Cork Mats for Turntables 2

An interesting fact is that turntables also use a rubber cork material as a mat. Both cork and rubbercork work best on metal plates. One thing to remember when adding a rubber turntable mat or a cork mat to your turntable is that you will have to reset the turntable VTA as these mats are almost always thicker than the felt mat they are replacing.


Cork Mats for Turntables 3

Cork mats seem to be a bit softer in terms of sound. Probably the cork makes the biggest difference in sound of all disc mats. This mostly inexpensive option is great for creating a smooth contact between the plate and platter, making it incredibly easy to separate the disc after use. An additional advantage of cork mats is that they are a very grateful material for printing all kinds of patterns on it. The Internet is full of unique mats for lovers of analog audio. And if you don’t find anything for yourself, you can make such a pattern yourself and put it on the mat.

Cars covered with corks

Car covered with corks

Bottle corks are used in truly unusual areas. One of them, which has been used in at least several places around the world, is the use of cork stoppers for cars covered with corks. The first of the cars we found on the internet is the BMW Isetta. Its American buyer Daune Sanders spent almost a year gluing 1,900 cork stoppers to the surface of his small car.


Car covered with corks 2

Another vehicle of cars covered with corks was noticed in Los Angleles, and its owners also boasted about their new acquisition on the web. The third example that we can come across when looking for information about similar ideas of car owners comes from France. Claude Penin, a retired former cyclist and lover of good wines, combined his two passions through unusual work with cork stoppers.

He has been recycling cork plugs for five years. Initially, his passion was covering bicycles with corks. But when a friend gave him a used Renault, he could not pass up the opportunity and the vehicle ended up completely covered with wine corks. Thanks to his work in the area, he is known as “Papa Bouchon“.


Car covered with corks 2

In Texas, and more precisely in Houston, an American, Jan Elftman, covered her car with wine corks in the 90s. She collected corks during her studies while working as a waitress. The idea for such a decoration was born when she and a friend from Houston went to the Artistic Cars parade (https://www.artcarexperience.com/), which took place in the area. She used about 10,000 to cover the car. traffic jams. But as the artist emphasizes – it was not just about making the car more comfortable or safe. Elftman wanted to create a work that people would come into contact with in places where art is not usually communicated.

We have not found a similar example anywhere else. But it may inspire you to create a car that no one will pass by indifferently, of course, using corks from our store:

https://cork-shop.co.uk/category/bottles-stoppers/

Expanded cork guitar

The world’s first cork electric guitar was developed in Viana do Castelo by designer João Rodrigues. The main material used to manufacture this guitar is expanded cork, which is usually used as a coating and thermal insulation in buildings. The remaining 25% of this unique guitar is reclaimed wood used for the shoulder and middle of the body. It makes the instrument lighter and greener.


“When I started the project, I searched the entire internet and couldn’t find anywhere in the world that anyone had built a cork guitar. There was one in Portugal, but it was natural cork,” says Jose Rodrigues. It took two years to build the guitar. It was created as part of the master’s thesis. The artist spent the first year on academic research and the next designing and manufacturing an instrument whose mass is 75% expanded cork. The project started in 2019 with a brand launched by Joao Rodrigues and his colleague. The company Mai’Land Guitars already offers such a guitar for 1000 euros and several cases made of expanded cork.


Mai’Land Guitars guitar was officially presented by Alto Minho on November 12, 2019 at a concert at the Viana do Castelo Cultural Center as part of the program of the 8th National Meeting of Design Students (ENED) to be held in the capital this year , with the theme “Design, Industry and Crafts”.

All products created by João have a stylish design, minimal finish, strong Portuguese trait and use cork. Currently the designer/musician is already developing a new guitar while improving the craftsmanship of this beautiful first model. Another novelty in 2020 was the instrument case made of natural cork sheets (90%) and wood, giving a solid and light structure. All wood used for the guitar or case is recycled.

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