Boating and space travel … it’s hard to imagine two industries with higher standards for building materials. So it’s quite telling that both industries embrace and depend on cork.

That’s right: Cork has been used to help build sea-worthy vessels from ancient times all the way up to the modern era. And NASA has for decades relied on cork’s thermal properties, employing the material as a heat shield in rocket engines.

Cork has even saved lives in a more direct way. One type of early life preserver was a vest of cork blocks used by Norwegian seamen. Throw in some subsequent technical and design advancements by the French and the English, and by 1861 cork had become the primary material in all life jackets.

Bottom line, cork’s diverse capabilities mean Suberra can be used outside and around water. Suberra can take the abuse and withstand the elements as marine and pool decking, stair treads, pathways and work surfaces. Amazingly, cork provides a non-slip surface even when wet – plus, it’s easy on your feet and warm to the touch.

All of this is made possible by cork’s wide array of natural strengths, including its durability and buoyancy as well as its remarkable resistance to water and heat.

Factor in cork’s high strength to weight ratio, too, and you not only have the makings of a fantastic surface material like Suberra, but also a unique organic material with a rich place in history.

Cork’s earliest uses – by ancient Egyptians, Greeks and Romans – were as shoe soles, bottle stoppers and boat decking. Since then cork has been used to make everything from bicycle grips, flooring and industrial gaskets, to thermal insulation, fishing buoys and, of course, cutting-edge countertops.

Need more evidence that cork belongs in the marine industry? Then consider this: A decade ago, a former speechwriter in Washington, D.C., (and lots of volunteers) built a boat out of more than 165,000 wine corks and sailed it down a river in Portugal.

And now, four Portuguese companies have created a consortium geared toward developing cork composites for use in ultralight civilian aircraft.

And so the story continues. Cork’s rich past becomes a promising future. Ancient uses become modern innovations. Raw cork becomes Suberra, and your hopes for a durable, beautiful, eco-friendly countertop become reality.