Innovation - A luxury look without the maintenance of timber

Aug 06, 2019

If you’re looking for a floor that uses modern technology to get a fantastic timber look without the upkeep of a traditional timber floor, laminates might be the solution you’ve been waiting for.

Once seen as a cheap solution for DIY’ers, with the finish quality to match, laminates have progressed to being a very popular choice in Australian homes for their look and durability over a long lifespan.


Unfortunately, the way we still think about laminates comes from these early days, even though much has changed. If looks are important to you, laminate flooring will look more realistic than vinyl, but both have luxury options that can make your space look stylish.

Now-days, laminates, along with hybrids, are seen as one of the best choices for young families, or renovators and first home builders needing a durable floor with the timber look.

How realistic is the timber look? Almost indistinguishable.  In the past, texture and imaging was used to achieve the timber look, modern laminates have variations in finish, bevel, treatment as well as texture and imaging to achieve a realistic look, no matter what style of floor you’re after.  

The quality, and low repeatability of laminate flooring now available in Australian species is second to none. But apart from the look, innovation in laminates has impacted how floors will wear.


With a pressed timber core, topped with the laminate image and wear layers, early laminates were susceptible to cupping (where edges rise up where they meet) and other effects from changes within the core over time.

Because of this, while original laminates were visually more appealing than their vinyl cousins, they could not be used in wet areas of the house, like kitchens, laundries and bathrooms, because their wood particle components were susceptible to moisture, swelling and drying.   The impact was that laminates could be used in high traffic areas, but kitchens and laundries would end up tiled.

Fortunately, laminates have come a long way, and that’s great for us, because their realism is second to none.  


Now days, laminates can be 60% more stable than their predecessors, and able to handle standing water for up to 24 hours.  

This is done in 2 key ways.  First, the composition of the core and board is far more tolerant to water, meaning that if water does end up on the floor, whether a short term spill, or standing water while you’re out of the house, the floor is far less likely to be affected.  

The second update in laminates is that many laminates are now treated on every side with a waterproof barrier, so it’s very difficult for water to contact the core of the board.  And this layer is added in the factory, so they’re just as fast to install.

For Australian households, that means you don’t need to worry when water from the backyard sprinkler session comes inside on muddy feet, or the new puppy has an accident, your flooring is going to go the distance.


Finally, Laminate flooring is a little greener than it’s vinyl counterpart, if this is important to you, it’s core being made up of wooden materials and some manufacturers have recycled content products.  But be aware that the wear layer is still a plastic surface layer. It’s not as environmentally friendly as engineered timber, but with 90% wood content, it’s definitely got the leg up on the vinyls.

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