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Feel every detail of the real wood in the Laminate Floorboards - Rustic finishes and a textured look are in vogue.

15 April 2004

A laminate floor with a tactile wooden texture? Feature V-grooves just like in the country houses? The latest laminate flooring designs can answer these questions with an emphatic “Yes”. Is it laminate or a real wood floor? It really is very difficult to tell, as the current designs bring their finishes ever closer to their original natural wood patterns. Authentic colouring helps create the amazing real-wood grain structures of the new finishes, which can range from “lightly figured” to “heavily textured”. But to get really close to the original timber, fibres and pores are built into the surface by the use of the latest synchronised printing and pressing technology, registering colours to textures. As a true trendsetter in laminate flooring finishes, the authentic appearance of Oak really leads the way.

The new laminate flooring designs combine modern functionality with a rustic look. These uniquely structured surfaces are totally effective. It is possible to feel the “annual rings” within the laminate floorboards! Separate from the Oak – which also comes as “Limed Oak” or “Smoked Oak” – Cherry and Wenge are well defined, together with Maple and Beech variations within the latest range of designs. The colouring of the Maple is deep and rich, while the charm of Beech comes in its wide variation and rustic nature. There are completely new reproductions of Ceylon Teak and Bergulme. While Bergulme can be considered as similar to Alder in grain and colour, Ceylon Teak clearly exists as a modern, exotic timber. Teak in its own natural colour of yellowy brown extends the colour range of the current designs and gives customers a wholly new look in laminate flooring. This is widened further by the introduction of Bamboo and Tulipwood.

While the familiar 3-strip samples of the “ship’s deck” look has dropped from favour, the look of the “country house” floorboard is growing strongly. Not only the textured surface, but also the sheer variety of natural timbers has inspired the laminate flooring sector. The classic Country House board is achieved with slender and linear sections – straight and limited spaces appear lighter and airier in this way. The new format therefore provides widths of 135 or 195mm. The country house boards are able to achieve a supremely elegant look through their narrow width – and it is not only narrow rooms that benefit from the distinctive character generated. Other board widths are also available, and within the ranges can be mixed even randomly to achieve a lively effect. Particularly interesting are the new 90mm wide which can be laid to give a parquet or herringbone effect.

V-grooves reinforce the real wood effect

A further new development is introduction of laminate flooring with the appearance of prominent joints. The difference between real, planed V-joints and the pressed version can normally be easily seen. With the real V-joints, the length and the topsides are planed all round. The striking V-joint appearance underlines the classic floorboard character of the floor and represents the true "country house" style. In particular, the use of varying widths of board gives an interesting and lively appearance to the floor. With pressed V-joints the overall impression of the floor is no less realistic. With this, the latest technology is used on the surface to create the appearance of a deep V-joint. It is really just the appearance, as this is actually a remarkable optical effect. V-joints, particularly when used in their characteristic "country house" floorboard designs, reinforce the real wood effect of a decorative laminate floor and offer new perspectives for flooring in general.

Authenticity and reality are not only restricted to timber reproductions. Stone finishes – with or without joints - have also become extremely close to their pattern originals, so that it is difficult to see a difference. Above all, a new design of small tiles, in a 40cm width provides the basis for an innovative decorative floor. The highly fashionable Terracotta, with its strong natural colour and texture, providing a warm and comfortable living environment with the look of stone, achieves a Mediterranean ambience. Further interesting effects are achieved with Slate and Travertine, while Granite and Marble represent real elegance in flooring design. A further highlight is “Labrador Stone” in laminate form, completely capturing its natural beauty and character.

Summing up, there is a multitude of innovative design ideas within the new generation of laminate flooring ranges and finishes. The true character of the natural material – whether wood or stone – is perfectly captured in these products and now provides opportunities for unusual, exciting and elegant flooring solutions for almost any environment. 

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Anne-Claude Martin

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