A trend that indicates great popularity
By PETER MEEHAN COMMERCIAL MANAGER SWI UK
An insider’s guide. SNEEK Wood Industries (SWI Group) is a Dutch organisation that specialises in the manufacture, import and distribution of timber products.
Now with the third generation of the Sneek family, the SWI Group has outgrown its origins of importing traditional timber products to becoming a global provider of real wood timber solutions.
We have production facilities across the globe including sites in northern Europe, and Asia which gives us a worldwide footprint when it comes to manufacturing.
We primarily distribute to mainland Europe, the UK and the US. Each of these regions requires a unique approach to provide customers in those areas with an exceptional level of service, product and quality.
With this in mind, in recent years we’ve built relationships with some leading industry partners such as Valinge for award-winning flooring profiles and SGS and FSC for auditing and environmental suitability.
These partnerships are vital to our success and provide us with the most up-to-date knowledge, technical advice and support that we then use to manufacture our beautiful range of flooring innovations.
A main focus point for the SWI Group is its UK business, where we trade under the name of ‘SWI-UK’ with the core ‘Timba Floor’ brand now fully established in the UK flooring industry.
Now in our 8th year of UK import, our product portfolio has grown to exceed more than 20 categories of smooth flooring including a wide selection of laminate, engineered, solid and innovative design floors giving our clients a multitude of flooring options no matter the scale of the project.
As a company our supply policy is constantly evolving as we specifically develop new, exciting products to align with UK market trends; as such we actively consult with clients and tap into the extensive knowledge we have in our UK-based team of experts to ensure we provide innovative, quality and affordable floors.
Our strong links with industry partners helps us ensure sustainability and the environment sit high on our agenda and as company policy we continue to monitor and be certified in many areas. These three synergies that all work together allow us to create an excellent range of flooring solutions to enable us to stand by our company motto Innovate | Import | Distribute
In the UK market, we’ve noticed a trend that engineered wood flooring seems to be the most popular not only among our customer base but in the industry as a whole. Today engineered flooring makes up about 90% of our wood flooring sales.
The construction of engineered wood flooring is made from several layers of wood bonded together to provide high-strength flooring solutions with the core of each board being made from layers of HDF, plywood or softwood.
These run in different directions, generally at 90deg angles to each other giving the floor much better stability throughout its lifecycle.
The top layer, known as the wearlayer is manufactured from a lamella of solid wood often between 2.5mm and 6mm thickness depending on the overall board specification. This allows the top layer to be aesthetically pleasing as it’s most often made from a single piece of solid wood veneer, the added benefit being that it holds the visual characteristics of a solid wood floor.
Core material options
At Timba Floor, we promote three different constructions of engineered wood flooring and have various products in our range to suit all types of installation.
- 13mm and below: HDF core
- 14-17mm: Engineered block core
- 18mm and above: Structural multiply core
So why would you consider the different options? There’s no right or wrong answer to this question, but each type of core can offer you different values when it comes to how and where the product will be installed.
HDF (high-density fibreboard) is an efficient core material for domestic and commercial flooring installations. It’s often considered extremely friendly and backed by a PEFC or FSC certification allowing it to be popular among environmentally conscious interior designers.
The material itself offers high stability with limiting expansion that delivers the perfect base for the top layer of lamella to be bonded on. The added density of the HDF core allows the fixing profile to be accurately profiled resulting in a near-perfect, quick installation.
Block core is possibly one of the founding concepts of engineered wood flooring and is widely accepted by manufacturers across the world. It’s made entirely from real wood using three layers of timber in a cross-ply style that sits at a 90deg angle to the top layer.
By constructing this way, it provides excellent stability, is easy to handle and can be profiled in many different locking formats or a standardised T&G profile. Birch, poplar and spruce often make up the raw material found in block core products as they’re considered fast-growing timbers, sustainable and are readily available for manufacturers to source.
Multiply construction is one of the newer methods of constructing engineered wood flooring. Notably in the past six to eight years, multiply construction has made deep inroads into the engineered marketplace largely owing to its load bearing and structural benefits.
The key benefit is the performance of the plywood core that very effectively restricts movement and adds stability while ensuring the floor looks great and also performs as a structural component in the home.
All the core materials of engineered wood flooring are great for underfloor heating systems, with HDF being the most effective owing to its stable core. However, block core and multiply are very close behind with respect to heat transfer and suitability.
Engineered flooring comes with a host of finishing options, whether that be factory pre-finished or an unfinished board that can be coated onsite by bespoke craftsmen for a truly unique look and feel. At Timba Floor we specialise largely in factory pre-finished options including:
Lacquered Floors use a polyurethane coating which is applied onto the surface of each board by a series of brushes or rollers. This layer provides a coating over the grain of the wood and forms a hard coating that will, in turn, protect the product from dirt and moisture seeping into the wood.
Lacquer is available in many different formats, but traditionally is often seen in a satin shine level, generally used on flat surfaces. A modern take on this practical finish to reduce the shine to create a Matt appearance, perfect for use over colours, as it keeps the colour true.
Matt Lacquered floors provide a stylish yet practical finish to any engineered floor. Upkeep and maintenance are kept to a minimum with an annual refresh to heavily trafficked areas to keep the floor looking its best.
Oiled floors use synthetic oil that penetrates deep into the wood allowing the colour and texture to be brought to the surface creating a visually stunning floor. Also, the oil provides an easy-to-maintain protective single-coat surface layer.
Board styles commonly include 1-strip, 3-strip, plank, Herringbone finishes, with current trends for added design and patterned floors offering many project options. We’d outline most popular board formats as:
3-strip contains a lot of colour variance and looks very different. These boards are designed to look like two, three or even four smaller boards and often come with no bevel on the board edges to allow them to seamlessly flow into each other. The strip illusion created works perfectly in smaller or rooms of an unusual shape.
1-strip (or plank as it’s sometimes referred to); as the name suggests, this is one board that has a continuous piece of wood going across the whole board surface. No joints are present mid-board, delivering the timbers natural grain and character in its clearest format.
These boards often display a bevel on all four sides or on the two long lengths of each panel to enhance the singular unique appearance of every plank.
Patterned flooring, although very much in vogue, is much more complex. Common names found within patterned flooring include herringbone, chevron, blocks and parquet. These all refer to small blocks of wood that fit together in specific pattern to create a highly unique and stylish floorcovering. Parquet is one of the most common floors for artisan installation, offering the installer the option to make each floor a bespoke design.
Maxiply is all about simplicity – 100% natural appearances, no colours, tints or enhancements. We feel the natural beauty of our oak and walnut is a characterful statement in its self. Maxiply offers about 30 products in the range with many different specification options to transform your interior space.
Timba Floor is the core brand we offer for the UK market. Inspired by the latest colour trends, Timba Floor is guaranteed to provide a beautiful range of flooring that portrays style, touch and practicality.
Manufactured in our own production facilities our floors are available from between 14-18mm thicknesses offering 14 different colour-ways in three finish styles, giving the client an unrivalled choice.
Made in German by MeisterWerke, this is a leading premium flooring brand aimed at those who like the latest and greatest when it comes to innovation. This multi award-winning manufacturer is based on a long-established policy to constantly provide innovate solutions, develop products for future generations while maintaining exacting standards of excellence.
The extensive product portfolio uses many varying surface technologies suited to commercial and domestic projects.