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!

Open-House-London-Cork-House-By-Nimtim-Architects-Internal-Cork-Wall-Finish
Image Credit: Megan Taylor
Cork-Material-Used-Internally
Image Credit: Megan Taylor

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:

Camada Cork Flooring By Colour Flooring Company
CAMADA
Lasca Cork Flooring By Colour Flooring Company
LASCA
Espira Cork Flooring Product By Colour Flooring Company
ESPIRA

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.

Use Cork In Your Home Office
Image credit: Petra Bindel
Cork Gives Interior Interest As A Backdrop
Image credit: Nyde
Cork Works Well As Inspirational Wall
Image credit: Catlin Mills

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.

Founders-Of-Home-Notes-Amy-And-Jane

Our HomeNotes Journal is here to bring you clear and up-to-date information for Homeowners renovating their homes.

Sign up to receive our monthly newsletter with latest news, articles and offers for homeowners.

Continue reading >>

Should I stay or should I go?

It’s tempting to try and ‘live in’ while your house is being extended or improved. Here we explain why that might not be the best option…  

Read More →

Why we're over open plan living...

Open plan spaces look great in the magazines, but are they practical for the realities of family life? Read on to find out why we think there's a better solution.

Read More →
Millennials-Managing-Money-Front

True or false: millennials are bad at managing money?

Research shows that millennials are the group most likely to overspend on their home improvements. Poor money management, or is there another explanation?

Read More →
Dont move improve front image

Don't Move, Improve awards 2020

Once again, the ‘Don’t move, Improve’ awards run by the NLA has brought a bevy of beautiful inspiring residential projects to the fore! See the full 25 shortlisted projects here.

Read More →
New Decade of Sustainability 2020

The new sustainable decade is here

2020 is here and change is afoot. In light of the global shift to action, we want to help homeowners in the UK to make sustainable choices for their projects. Read our commitment to you at the start of this new decade.

Read More →
The Round House by Michaelis Boyd Associates

Open House London: 21st-22nd 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.

Read More →

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.

Read More →
Katie Flaxman from Studio 31

Meet the team: Katie Flaxman from Studio 31

There’s plenty to shout about when it comes to landscaping your garden – even if you’re on a budget. We talked to director Katie Flaxman of Studio 31 to get her insights on the whole process.

Read More →
Home-Notes-Play-Area-Ideas

Inspiration for play within the home

An IKEA hack … A token mural wall? Put down your Pinterest and let us help you with some wild and whacky inspiration for introducing play areas within your home.

Read More →
Fenix-Front-Image

It's laminate, but not as you know it

It’s the kitchen designers’ current favourite material; Fenix is as versatile as laminate but smarter and better looking. We had to know more…

Read More →
The-Modern-House-Front

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.

Read More →

get the latest from homenotes

Sign up to receive our latest news, articles and offers for homeowners - straight to your inbox!

Coming soon . . .

Our membership is launching at the start of June.  Sign up to get notified when it goes live!