January 8/15, 2018: Volume 33, Issue 15
By Reginald Tucker
The warmth, look and feel of genuine hardwood and bamboo, combined with the performance attributes of composite, rigid-core flooring. That’s the winning combination Wellmade says it has achieved with the full-scale rollout of Opti-Wood.
Developed more than a year ago and initially sold through a large retailer on a private-label basis, Opti-Wood is now being offered to the masses. Wellmade, which is prepping the line for an expanded launch at Surfaces, says retailers will be pleased. “The initial rollout of this HDPC product had a vinyl wear layer, but over the last year we have put bamboo as a natural wear layer,” said Steve Wagner, company’s director of marketing. The color palette has likewise evolved. “We are also introducing different species of wood for a total of 16 products.”
While several manufacturers have developed products that feature real wood veneers over rigid, non-wood core. Wellmade says Opti-Wood differs in several critical aspects, beginning with the product’s high-density plastic composite core (HDPC). Because it’s 100% “closed cell” and does not contain any air pockets, the HDPC core will not absorb moisture, according to Wagner. “When coupled with Wellmade’s proprietary surface treatment and adhesive application process, Opti-Wood is among the industry’s most moisture-resistant natural wood and bamboo products currently on the market.”
Much of that has to do with Opti-Wood’s performance attributes—particularly the product’s ability to resist moisture in spite of having a real wood veneer. According to Wagner, this is due to fact Opti-Wood’s Hydri-Core moisture protection system is based on the product’s three-layer construction, which is designed to block moisture from below while sealing out penetration from above. Opti-Wood also seeks to dispel the notion that some multi-ply products that feature different materials have a tendency to expand and contract at different rates.
“Overall dimensional stability is the key to Opti-Wood’s success,” Wagner said. “HDPC experiences substantially less movement than traditional engineered hardwood. It’s a highly durable, stable product.”