Ecologically Sustainable Cork Not Just for Wine Bottles Anymore

by | Jul 2, 2024 | Home and Garden

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The first thing you probably think of when you hear the word “cork” is a wine bottle stopper or perhaps a cork bulletin board. What about cork wallpaper? Recently, cork has exploded in popularity in the home decoration arena because of its versatility, beauty, and sustainability.

Cork is derived from the bark of a tree which regenerates after the cork has been harvested. Cork can be harvested over and over again every 10 years for the entire lifespan of the tree, which averages at about 200 years. Because harvesting cork does not lead to the death of the plant, cork is considered to be a very sustainable material. Traditional wallpaper, on the other hand, is made from the lumber of trees instead of bark that regenerates itself and therefore is not considered to be “green.” Cork wallpaper is therefore considered to be an eco-friendly alternative to traditional paper wallpaper.

Cork wallpaper is available in four forms. Cork is often applied to walls in its natural, untreated state. This means that it is unstained and untreated and not painted. Cork wallpaper also is available as a waxed surface. Wax highlights and enhances natural tones of the material, and the wax coating protects it from dirt and grime. Cork wallpaper can also be stained to match existing home décor. Generally, water-based wood stains are used. Finally, cork wallpaper (untreated and unwaxed) can be painted. Most homeowners and designers do not opt for this, since they prefer the natural beauty of the cork. However, in some cases, the cork is used for insulation and not decoration, and if natural color tones of the cork are not desired, then it can be painted any color the homeowner or designer desires.

When you think about it, cork wallpaper is an ideal choice for interior wall decoration. Besides being decorative, cork wallpaper is also highly functional. It is available in a wide variety of sizes and thicknesses, allowing the wallpaper to double as a tack or pinboard to hang artwork with ease. Additionally, the natural properties of cork make it an ideal material for home or institutional use. Cork is a natural insulator. It is also resistant to mold, mildew, and fungi. It is also anti-static and does not attract dust and is fire resistant. Furthermore, because of the natural honeycomb structure of cork, cork wallpaper is extremely durable and does not wear the way other wall coverings do.