ArtsAutosBooksBusinessEducationEntertainmentFamilyFashionFoodGamesGenderHealthHolidaysHomeHubPagesPersonal FinancePetsPoliticsReligionSportsTechnologyTravel

About Cork Bark and Cork Flooring

Updated on December 2, 2010

Cork in History

Cork has been used since ancient times. It is an incredibly versatile material that man has been using for millennia. As far back as 2500 BC the ancient Egyptians were using cork for fishing floats. The ancient Greeks were the first civilization to use cork as stoppers for wine and olive oil vessels. And the Romans used cork for house roofs, beehives, ships and women’s shoes. Nowadays cork is used for a variety of purposes including making cork flooring tiles.

Man harvesting cork bark

Harvesting is a skilled job done by hand.
Harvesting is a skilled job done by hand.

Harvesting Cork

Cork comes from the cork oak tree. It is a renewable resource because the cork oak can be harvested every nine years for its precious bark. Removing the bark from the cork oak tree, if properly done, does not damage the tree. The secret is to remove the outer bark while keeping the inner bark on the tree to protect the tree against insect and fungal attack.

The cork oak is ready to harvest for its bark after 20 years.

Virgin cork and refugo cork

The first bark that is removed is called ‘virgin bark’. This bark has a rough uneven exterior and has too many wide pores to be used for flooring. Instead it is normally ground up and used for insulating material or cut into smaller pieces and used for ornamental pieces and for reptile habitats.

After nine years the second bark can be harvested. This is called ‘refugo bark’. This bark is much smoother and has a more even texture. It is also browner in color. However, the second growth bark still has too many wide pores and is usually ground up like virgin bark and used for insulating materials.

It is the third and subsequent harvests of ‘refugo bark’ that have fewer and more tightly closed pores that is suitable for other uses.

Once the cork bark is removed from the tree it is left in the forest to dry and to possibly be inspected by potential buyers. Then it is taken to a factory where it is boiled. This boiling process removes the outer woody part of the bark and makes the cork more elastic and easy to work with. Then the best pieces of cork are selected and they are ground up into fine pieces. These pieces are then compressed with a low VOC adhesive to produce a block of cork. From this block it is a simple matter to cut the cork into various sizes for products including cork flooring tiles.


This website uses cookies

As a user in the EEA, your approval is needed on a few things. To provide a better website experience, uses cookies (and other similar technologies) and may collect, process, and share personal data. Please choose which areas of our service you consent to our doing so.

For more information on managing or withdrawing consents and how we handle data, visit our Privacy Policy at:

Show Details
HubPages Device IDThis is used to identify particular browsers or devices when the access the service, and is used for security reasons.
LoginThis is necessary to sign in to the HubPages Service.
Google RecaptchaThis is used to prevent bots and spam. (Privacy Policy)
AkismetThis is used to detect comment spam. (Privacy Policy)
HubPages Google AnalyticsThis is used to provide data on traffic to our website, all personally identifyable data is anonymized. (Privacy Policy)
HubPages Traffic PixelThis is used to collect data on traffic to articles and other pages on our site. Unless you are signed in to a HubPages account, all personally identifiable information is anonymized.
Amazon Web ServicesThis is a cloud services platform that we used to host our service. (Privacy Policy)
CloudflareThis is a cloud CDN service that we use to efficiently deliver files required for our service to operate such as javascript, cascading style sheets, images, and videos. (Privacy Policy)
Google Hosted LibrariesJavascript software libraries such as jQuery are loaded at endpoints on the or domains, for performance and efficiency reasons. (Privacy Policy)
Google Custom SearchThis is feature allows you to search the site. (Privacy Policy)
Google MapsSome articles have Google Maps embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
Google ChartsThis is used to display charts and graphs on articles and the author center. (Privacy Policy)
Google AdSense Host APIThis service allows you to sign up for or associate a Google AdSense account with HubPages, so that you can earn money from ads on your articles. No data is shared unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
Google YouTubeSome articles have YouTube videos embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
VimeoSome articles have Vimeo videos embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
PaypalThis is used for a registered author who enrolls in the HubPages Earnings program and requests to be paid via PayPal. No data is shared with Paypal unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
Facebook LoginYou can use this to streamline signing up for, or signing in to your Hubpages account. No data is shared with Facebook unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
MavenThis supports the Maven widget and search functionality. (Privacy Policy)
Google AdSenseThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
Google DoubleClickGoogle provides ad serving technology and runs an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
Index ExchangeThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
SovrnThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
Facebook AdsThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
Amazon Unified Ad MarketplaceThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
AppNexusThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
OpenxThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
Rubicon ProjectThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
TripleLiftThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
Say MediaWe partner with Say Media to deliver ad campaigns on our sites. (Privacy Policy)
Remarketing PixelsWe may use remarketing pixels from advertising networks such as Google AdWords, Bing Ads, and Facebook in order to advertise the HubPages Service to people that have visited our sites.
Conversion Tracking PixelsWe may use conversion tracking pixels from advertising networks such as Google AdWords, Bing Ads, and Facebook in order to identify when an advertisement has successfully resulted in the desired action, such as signing up for the HubPages Service or publishing an article on the HubPages Service.
Author Google AnalyticsThis is used to provide traffic data and reports to the authors of articles on the HubPages Service. (Privacy Policy)
ComscoreComScore is a media measurement and analytics company providing marketing data and analytics to enterprises, media and advertising agencies, and publishers. Non-consent will result in ComScore only processing obfuscated personal data. (Privacy Policy)
Amazon Tracking PixelSome articles display amazon products as part of the Amazon Affiliate program, this pixel provides traffic statistics for those products (Privacy Policy)
ClickscoThis is a data management platform studying reader behavior (Privacy Policy)