Raw Material | Amorim Cork Flooring

Raw Material

100 percent natural, reusable and recyclable, cork is, whether from the environmental, social or economic perspectives, one of the world’s most versatile materials.

Cork is the bark of the Cork Oak tree (Quercus suber L).  Lightweight, impermeable to liquids and gases, elastic and compressible, fire retardant and high abrasion resistant are just some of the characteristics of this nature’s jewel.

Understated but full of potential, cork is a raw material like no other due to its unique chemical composition.  

Chemical composition of cork:


Main component of the cell walls, responsible for the elasticity of the cork


Insulating compound


Components of the cell walls that help define the texture of the cork


Polyphenolic compounds responsible for the colour


Hydrophobic compounds that guarantee the impermeability of the cork

Key Characteristics

Acoustic Insulation

Cork has low conductivity to noise and vibration. This is because the gaseous components contained in cork are enclosed in small impermeable compartments, isolated from each other by a moisture-resistant substance. 

Thermal Insulation

The air inside the cells makes it an excellent insulator, leading to very low thermal conductivity, over a wide range of temperatures. 

Elasticity and Compressibility

It is the only solid which, when compressed on one side, does not increase in volume on another; and as a result of its elasticity it is able to adapt, for example, to variations in temperature and pressure without suffering alterations. 


It helps protect against allergies and does not pose a risk to asthma sufferers because it doesn´t absorb dust. 

Impermeable to Liquids and Gases

Suberin and ceroids in its composition make cork practically impermeable to liquids and gases. Its resistance to moisture enables it to age without deteriorating. 

Resistance to fire and high temperatures

It burns without a flame and does not emit toxic gases during combustion, which makes it a natural fire retardant. 

Myths and Facts

Why is cork the champion of resilience?

Cork can be compressed up to half its size without losing its flexibility. Then it resumes its original form. This is due to its extraordinary "elastic memory".

Does the quality of cork differ between countries?

Not necessarily. The Quercus suber L genome is the same, therefore there are no significant differences according to origin. There are, however, individual differences from tree to tree.

Can cork be used to produce energy?

Yes. At Corticeira Amorim, over 60% of energy needs are met by using cork dust (biomass), which is a CO2 neutral source of energy.
Due to the lightness and acoustic and thermal insulation capacity of cork, it is also used in wind turbines.

Is cork good for your health?

Yes. Research carried out by University of Porto reveal that cork has antioxidant and anti-carcinogenic properties. The University of Bordeaux II also discovered that cork stoppers pass those health-giving properties to the wine. Furthermore, when it is applied to flooring and footwear, cork contributes to improve posture and reduce physical effort.

Cork is the option of architects awarded the Pritzker Prize

Cork is the option of some of the most renowned contemporary architects in the world. E.g. from among those awarded with the Pritzker Prize, considered the Nobel Prize of Architecture, various architects have already chosen cork for their projects. Such is the case of Eduardo Souto Moura and Siza Vieira (for example in the joint project for the Portuguese Pavilion at Expo Hanover 2000) and the Jacques Herzog and Pierre de Meuron team (Serpentine Gallery Pavilion 2012).

Did you know that cork is used in special effects in cinema?

Thanks to its lightness, cork granules are used in special effects scenes to simulate explosions. This technique was used in films such as Total Recall, with the actor Colin Farrell, and Gangster Squad, with Sean Penn, Mission Impossible, with Tom Cruise, and, more recently, Tomb Raider. In turn, expanded regranulated cork was used in Ghostbusters to simulate debris falling from buildings, in Volcano and in Dante's Peak to recreate volcanic rocks. As a general rule, in films when bullets are shown hitting something, the particles projected after impact are made of cork.

The birthplace of sustainability

Cork oak forest

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