How Cork is Made at the Factory in Portugal
In addition to our extensive range of solid and engineered timber flooring, decking and cladding we stock a wide range of cork products for both internal and external use. We took some time in June to visit the Cork Factory in Portugal, home to 49.6% of the world’s Cork Oak forests. Our suppliers, Amorim Cork are based in this beautiful country. Click here to learn more about the use of cork in our products.
2019 has been a very busy year for us and it is about to get a whole lot busier with the release of ‘Cork Wise’, a carbon negative flooring product that doesn’t use any PVC and is 100% sustainable. With the release of this product on the horizon, Rez and Gary from the office visited our friends at Amorim Cork to learn more about the production process.
The trip began with a tour of the factory just south of Lisbon, we gained some valuable insights into the sustainable process of cork production. The process begins with the cork oak being stripped of its bark, this only happens once every nine years to preserve the health of each tree, this technique has not changed for over one hundred years.
Once stripped, the bark is then taken to the factory where it is heated to extremely high temperatures; a point at which it releases natural binding agents and is pressed into blocks.
Next, it was time to witness one of the most astonishing features of cork, its resistance to fire. Our guide Lino did not hesitate to point out the ability of cork to withstand exposure to an open flame, with the block only showing some char spots with no substantial structural or aesthetic damage. He was even prepared to quite literally ‘put his money where his mouth is’, the fact he has undoubtedly performed this stunt countless times before did not detract from the show.
We were then taken up to the rooftop garden, an area that really highlighted the versatility of MD Facade as an outdoor cladding option. Sections were cut out from the material to form planter boxes; this process gave the space a seamless and elegant feel. We left our tour with a greater appreciation for the process that creates our cork products, to see the skills and craftsmanship that goes into stripping the bark and then the incredible technological processes that occur within the factory walls.
Our next spot (after a few days relaxing on the beach) was Porto where we met with Andre, the account rep for our region. We were treated to a delicious meal and had the opportunity to discuss all things cork and beyond.
Visiting the cork factory in Portugal was an amazing experience, we were made to feel so welcome by everybody we met and for that we must say a huge thank you! We are now even more excited to begin dealing with cork wise in Australia, so watch this space for more updates!