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Cork is soft and warm underfoot and has natural sound-deadening and insulation characteristics. Cork is comprised of a countless number of individual air-filled cells, which gives it a very unique "honeycombed" appearance and makes it resistant to water, insects and fires.

Habitat: Mediterranean climates like Portugal, Spain, southern France, Italy, and the Maghreb region of north-western Africa.

Janka Hardness Rating: 200

The Tree: The tree forms a thick, rugged and corky bark. Cork is grown on farms and harvested every 9 to 12 years, making it a great renewable resource offered in a wide variety of earthly colors. A naturally occurring waxy substance in cork called suberin repels insects, mites and mold and protects cork from from rotting when wet for a long time. In addition, suberin is naturally fire resistant and cork doesn't release any toxic off-gassing when it burns.

The Wood: Cork is harvested from the bark of the tree, not the lumber part of the trunk. Cork comes in a variety of colors, patterns and textures. The same cellular structure that gives cork its depth and richness also reduces noise and vibration.

Uses: Cork is a very soft flooring, but its Janka rating doesn't reflect its durability. It is often used in public buildings because of its durability, and in libraries and churches because of its sound absorption qualities. Cork is the ideal material for products ranging from stoppers to floats, from floor and wall coverings to gasket material, from clothing to coasters.