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Commercial Flooring News

Now Wood Passes With Flying Colours

Harvey Booth on new shades of glory

WHEN exactly did colour become so important? It’s hard to pin-point. For years, it was all about species.
Darker woods like walnut were incredibly popular for some time but, throughout it all, oak remained a constant. Rustic grades made way for more even timbers, and then the lively look came back. But now, colour is definitely the driving force, at all price points.

This change first became evident in our dealings with interior designers and the niche press. People were specifically requesting samples in particular shades–especiallyat either end of the colour spectrum. They were keen to achieve a ‘limewashed look’ or get hold of the darkest product available. And our product designers, one-step ahead, had a raft of finishes to fit the bill.

From a personal point-of-view, I think that natural looking tones work best with wood. Different shades of grey (excuse the pun!), white, copper and black can really complement the natural tone of a timber, rather than creating an unnatural look, which is likely to be more of a fashion-fad.

Having said that, I was a big fan of the new pastel finishes at Domotex and they’re a great marketing vehicle. When any of these stains are combined with a textural finishing treatment, it can really bring a wood floor alive – and it’s this combination that’s now proving really popular in both contract and domestic markets. When it comes to stained products, quality brands really do come into their own.

Finishes will have been tested for longevity and floorswillbeofferedwitharange of suitable maintenance products.

Product guarantees and good local back-up makes a big difference too.

Less obvious is availability of accessories in suitable colours.

All too often a coloured wood floor is compromised by ill-matching beading, either in a completely different timber shade one that’s been painted or stained on-the- job, in an attempt to tie-in the floor. Most quality product ranges include mouldings stained the same shade as the floor – and they make a big difference to the

finished look.

A less obvious advantage of colour treating is the opportunity to create bespoke finishes. We’ve been involved in a number of bespoke specifications recently, including a large installation of a grey washed floor at John Lewis Oxford Street and Nor wich.

By combining the colour treatment with a wide board format and a rustic grain, we were able to create a traditional floor in a ver y distinct, contemporar y shade.

Finishing floors in this way also makes them more colour-fast in UV light which is another added bonus.
All of these benefits certainly open up a wealth of oppor tunities for our sector. Design options are now seemingly endless and there’s new scope for tailor-made solutions and additional sales, in terms of ancillar y products. Colour-driven specification is the opportunity to seize – rightnow!

Harvey Booth, UK sales & marketing director, Kährs

This article has been reproduced from the Contract Flooring Journal website. You can find them at