Havwoods Australia is a driving force behind timber flooring in Australia. It has been involved in timber products for over 30 years, 20 of them in timber flooring. Until recently, most flooring was made out of solid timber, so Havwoods knows all about its benefits and its limitations.
As far as Havwoods is concerned there is nothing more beautiful than a timber floor, and it’s an investment. As taste and fashions change, the decor around a timber floor can also be changed – a timber floor will live with everything. However, timber is hydroscopic, meaning changes in humidity, whether due to the climate, or to the use of heating or airconditioning, can cause the timber to swell and shrink. This, in turn, can lead to the floor bowing, warping or gapping, leaving gaps between the planks.
Select Timbers – Havwoods Australia’s former name – was approached by Havwoods in 2010. Havwoods is the UK’s leading wood flooring company and its range is huge – there are literally hundreds of products in stock and hundreds more that Havwoods is able to supply. Interestingly, only a small percentage of this is solid timber. Havwoods passionately believes that the future of timber flooring lies in multi-layered hardwood, and because of the improved stability and durability of these products, its product offering provides superior alternatives for shops, restaurants, bars and residential situations.
A dyed-in-the-wool solid timber company, at first Select Timbers was sceptical; but in 18 months it had formed Havwoods Australia and increased its range of multi-layered hardwood products by almost 150%. Yet it appears there are still a number of misconceptions about multi-layered hardwood.
A multi-layered hardwood is quite simply timber that has been engineered to provide superior stability and durability. The boards consist of multiple layers of timber, every layer laid with the grain running at right angles. These are then bonded together. The top layer of a multi-layered board (the lamella) is, of course, solid timber – almost always a hardwood – and may be anything from 2 to 6 mm thick; obviously the thicker the surface layer the more times it can be sanded and refinished to remove any signs of wear. Usually multi-layered boards are pre-finished, making installation much quicker, too.
Multi-layered boards make far more efficient use of the slow-growing, lamella layer timbers, such as oak, ash and walnut, and they offer alternative,easier methods of installation. They should not be confused with laminate or veneer; the former uses only an image of wood on its surface, while the latter uses just a very thin layer of wood over a core of some type of composite wood product, usually fibreboard.
Multi-layered timber is now the most common type of timber flooring used globally and the technology has enabled the production of much wider boards, as well as the application of an enormous variety of really interesting finishes.
Havwoods is a leader in terms of both technology and aesthetics; the company has huge expertise in the use of timber flooring in Australia. If Havwoods Australia believes that multi-layered timbers will be the Australian floors of the future, then they probably will be.