Timber floors have come a very long way in the last couple of decades: modern processes dramatically reduce the need for exotic timbers, and lacquers and impregnation processes (like Xtreme) ensure such superior durability that these timbers may be specified even in high footfall locations.
Of course, near indestructibility is the ultimate goal for timber flooring manufacturers, but the limitations are due, not to technology, but to the cellular nature of wood itself. Some years ago, the Americans caused great excitement by introducing timber floors coated with an aluminium oxide lacquer. Unfortunately, whilst it delivered simply amazing abrasion resistance in the laboratory, it proved too hard and inflexible for the timber underneath, which naturally compresses on impact. The result was a surface with a tendency to shatter or go white when scratched.
Finally, however, there is a solution: a reproduction engineered plank we call Fusion.
The process itself is highly advanced but, put simply, it involves re-creating our favourite floors on perfectly prepared High Density Fibre planks. These engineered timber planks are considerably harder than hardwood, are totally consistent in their hardness and, unlike wood in it's natural state, are not cellular in structure. This means that they will not compress on impact and so can be successfully finished with the very latest aluminium oxide technology – no fewer than seven coats of it, in fact. The result is a beautiful, warm, matt lacquered 14mm PEFCTM certified bevelled plank, which is installed as a floating floor, exhibits excellent acoustic and slip resistant properties, and yet is virtually impossible to accidentally scratch, mark or dent: a plank which really will look as stunning in years to come as it does on the day it is laid.
At Havwoods, we have been intimately involved in timber technological innovations for more than 40 years; in our opinion, these planks are the ultimate in engineered wood. Customers who have seen Fusion are equally as impressed, and several are undertaking their own project-specific trials. For example, Yamaha tested it under unprotected piano castors for 24-hours with no subsequent dents or marks in the finish and, as a result, are installing it in their London Margaret Street showroom. Fusion products carry a lifetime residential/15-year commercial warranty.