Material spotlight: CORK
Hands up, who knew that the material cork was so amazing?! Whilst it might conjure up memories of the 1970s for some, over recent years it’s been given a fresh facelift and repurposed in such inventive, creative ways. This article is about celebrating the wonder that is cork.
First things first. The material itself is incredible. Why? Because it’s extremely waterproof (despite what you might think!), it’s resistant to abrasion, it acts as a fire retardant. AND it’s an acoustic insulator!
What’s even better is how it’s made: Most cork is grown in Portugal in forests of cork oak trees called “montados”. The process by which cork is made also could not be more sustainable. It is harvested by stripping the outer layer of skin off the tree with a small hatchet that then regrows in time for the next harvest. The cork is shredded and compressed at high temperatures, causing it to expand and the sap to melt to form a glue that binds it all together. Once cooled, it can be cut to measure ready to be put up as cladding. None of the harvested bark goes to waste in the process apart from the dust produced along the way, and that’s it. No added ingredients!
Are you totally sold on cork already? Let’s take you through some awesome examples of just how you can incorporate it into your home!
Clad it inside and out
We are completely in love with this project by nimtim architects! They used cork to externally and internally clad the rear extension to a terrace house in South London. Not only does the cork complement the existing brickwork on the original house but the pop of pink on the window and door frames brings vitality to the whole design.
nimtim architects have a brilliant collaborative approach to making projects, and this project was a co-creation with the clients – a graphic designer and photography agent. “It’s important for us to create an outcome that everyone could feel a sense of pride and ownership in” – Allie Mackinnon, project runner.
“The cork offers so much as a building material,” Mackinnon said. “It ticks all the boxes when it comes to thermal and acoustic performance. But it is also breathable, free from chemicals, synthetic resins and carcinogenic materials and creates a healthy environment inside the house.”
Too good to be true? Well, there is also the added benefit of cost savings. The cork cost approximately £35/m2 and was a saving of approximately £66/m2 if compared to the traditional internal wall build up (plasterboard, plastering, paint).
Lay it all down
If cladding your home in cork is a step too far, then consider cork as a great material for your flooring. It’s durable, easy to clean and easy to maintain and is a VERY budget friendly flooring finish.
It looks great in small spaces like bathrooms, with its natural warmth and texture, but also works in larger living spaces. Check out these projects below for some inspiration!
One of our favourite suppliers is the Colour Flooring Company who do a great collection of cork flooring, all for £44 per sq/m. See our top 3 favourites below:
Pinpoint a wall
Some might claim that the concept of a “feature wall” has had its day, but there is definitely still a place for a functional backdrop like in the images below. It’s a great choice for that study nook or the designated home office corner. You can use it as a giant pin-board; but it can also be used in one area or on one wall to signify that this is a designated study area.
Add a little something
We totally get that incorporating cork as a external cladding material or as an internal wall or floor finish to your home might feel like a big commitment! So we wanted to end this article of exploration by showing you just a small sample of the array of products that have been developed with cork.
These products demonstrate just how versatile and wonderful this material is. It also means that whatever the budget or aesthetic you are going for, including a splash of earth-friendly cork is a must for every home.
Our HomeNotes Journal is here to bring you clear and up-to-date information for homeowners renovating their homes. For more in-depth help we provide online courses to help you get started the right way!
Natural Plaster – and why we can’t get enough
Want a material that is beautiful, and works hard for you? Look no further than Natural Plaster. We explain why we can’t get enough of it!
The New DIY: Online Renovation Courses
More homeowners are turning to online renovation courses as a way to save costs on their renovations. Take a look at our top picks!
Where NOT to scrimp on your renovation
Sometimes it’s tempting to cut corners and save a few pounds but it’s likely you’ll regret it in the long term. We share our top tips of where it doesn’t pay to scrimp in your dream home.
Open House Festival: 8th – 21st of September
For those who have decided THIS is the year that they’re going to bite the bullet and renovate, Open House London is a chance to go and see some projects up close and personal. Here’s our list of recommended projects to go visit.
Why do we still not have a national retrofit strategy?
We talk to Paul Testa of HEM Architecture about why we need a national retrofit strategy and why it needs to happen now.
How to prepare your house for builders: 10 things you must do
When getting ready to receive contractors into your home it’s important to prepare your property. Get started with these 10 must do tasks!
Our 10 top tips to buying a house
Buying a house is potentially the biggest financial commitment you will ever make, so take the time to prep with our tips!
Don’t move, Improve! 2022 Shortlist
Check out the 15 incredible London renovation projects shortlisted for this year’s Don’t Move, Improve! Awards and get inspired!
Viewing a property: The ultimate checklist
You’ve done your research! But when you’re in the actual property, remember to consider the following things…
How much will my extension cost in 2022?
When it comes to home-renovating this is the most common question we get asked. So let’s get right to it, how do you work out the REAL cost? Read on to find out!
How to make the most of a Trade Show
Returning to thoughts of renovating your home? Then jumpstart your project by attending a trade show. But first make sure you read our top tips on how to make the most of your visit!
Top tips for renovating from industry experts
We asked a range of architects and experts working in the residential sector to give us their top tip for homeowners who want to renovate.
Worried about increasing construction prices?
Everyone is concerned about increasing construction costs. We talk to BuildPartner about what measures home renovators can take to reduce risks for their projects.
Your handy guide to assessing builders
Linden from Weaver shares his a handy guide to assessing builders. So before a spade is in the ground, it’s worth taking a moment to prepare.
Product spotlight: Little Bishop Hook
A neat solution for pendant lighting; we take a look at the clean design and appealing simplicity of the Little Bishop Pendant Hook
The ‘Iron Triangle’ you should embrace
It may sound daunting, but knowing about the ‘Iron Triangle’ in advance can help you plan your project and set realistic expectations.
Making the most of your outdoor space
If you’re living in London, then chances are you’re severely lacking in one department: outdoor space. But even if you only have a small patch to play with, this space can do so much for you with a bit of care and forward planning.
Your ultimate guide to extractor fans
Our complete guide answers all your extractor fan questions (even those you didn’t know you had!)
EJ Ryder and the world of joinery
Edwin J Ryder and his team specialise in bold, creative design and impeccable workmanship in their joinery and interior finishes. We spoke with Edwin to find out how they work with clients on their property renovations.
Why well designed homes cost more
Good design isn’t just a luxury for those with the biggest budgets; it’s a sound financial decision for everyone. We take a look at The Modern House and their approach.