March 28/April 4, 2016; Volume 30, Number 20
By Reginald Tucker
Domestic exotics, wider and longer planks, and wire-brushed offerings dominated much of the spotlight at many of the recent national and regional trade shows. But it’s important not to overlook the numerous innovations and advancements taking place in two other bona fide sub-segments of the hardwood category: cork and bamboo.
From fresh colors and stains to enhanced surface treatments ranging from light hand scraping to low-luster finishes and techniques that mimic other natural materials, the latest cork and bamboo floors hitting the market are proving that innovation is not limited to the more mainstream products.
In keeping with current color trends, Bamboo Hardwoods has added seven new hues across all of its product lines for 2016. Standouts include granite from the Manor collection of engineered, strand-woven bamboo floors developed for consumers seeking traditional looks. The line features a wire-brushed, hand-scraped texture to provide an “Old-World” aesthetic, according to the company. A multi-ply core and backing provide durability, enabling Bamboo Hardwoods to offer a 50-year warranty. Manor is available in six different styles and designs, features distressed beveled edges and comes in 5-inch-wide x 6-foot-long planks.
From Dasso, marketer of the EcoTimber brand, comes a line of “unfurled bamboo” that is made by pressing the round bamboo canes flat instead of cutting them into strips for the traditional formats or shredding them for the strand-woven options. Additionally, Dasso leaves the natural outer skin on the face of the material, which the company says is the hardest part of the bamboo (this layer becomes this floor’s natural finish). Products are offered in a 5-inch-wide plank in random widths.
In the cork category, EcoTimber offers both traditional and contemporary visuals. Travertine and Volcanic Slate designs are available in 17.5 x 17.5 tiles, while Azores, Lisboa, Porto Mocha and Zebra Natural come in 5½-inch-wide planks; Porto Natural comes in an 11 5⁄8-inch plank.
For 2016 USFloors has introduced four SKUs in its Muse Strand engineered HDF click strand-woven bamboo line. Available in a 5 x 72 planks, the new selections complement the current collection with two gray tones, one multi-tone gray and one dark brown offering. The Muse collection is milled with the glueless Drop & Lock installation profile, eliminating the need for messy, odor-causing adhesives or costly nail guns. Backed by a lifetime residential wear and lifetime structure warranties, Muse provides a functional floor with an eco-friendly and sustainable pedigree.
New from WeCork is the Serenity collection, a cork flooring line featuring a high-definition, three-pass, digital print technology that aims to accurately reproduce the essence of wood or tile on a cork substrate.
All products in Serenity are finished with the company’s patented “hot coating,” which provides an oil-like, satin luster while still maintaining durability. Various formats in both plank and tile options are available in a number of sizes to fit the needs of diverse applications.
Exotic wood flooring specialist Wellmade is rolling out the Villa Grand textured bamboo line, which offers the real look of wide plank European oak in an eco-friendly solid strand bamboo format. Other products in Wellmade’s expanding lineup of bamboo include solid strand woven, engineered strand and even a “clic” bamboo flooring option with an HDF core.
A full line of bamboo parquet tiles that integrate with Wellmade’s 9⁄16-inch engineered hardwood flooring products is also available.
Following its debut in Europe, Wicanders (an Amorim brand) has unveiled Hydrocork in the U.S.
Hydrocork, an engineered product that combines premium LVT with waterproof cork, integrates durability and aesthetics with comfort and improved noise-reduction qualities. Ideal for renovation projects, Hydrocork can be applied directly over an existing hard surface floor and the pieces can be easily cut to size using only a utility knife. The product comes in 5¾ x 48 planks in visuals ranging from light shades of white and gray to deep brown tones.