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Why Contractors Should Talk To Designers

Craig Pawson on natural materials

THIS month I will discuss one of the topics discussed at Ecobuild in May. This particular workshop focused on the different uses of natural materials in construction and how contractors, architects and other design communities should help to stimulate discussion, transfer technology and investigate the wider potential use of natural materials.
The event was hosted by the Natural Materials Association (NMA), a specialist group within the Institute of Materials, Minerals and Mining (IOM3). It provides links to a diverse range of natural materials. These include wood, stone, clay, natural rubber, wool, leather, hemp and shell, as well as enabling an understanding of biomimicry to learn from nature.
From a flooring point of view, wood is one of the most eco-friendly choices, especially if obtained from a sustainable source. Wood remains popular with homeowners, not only for its sustainability, but also for its attractive appearance.
With this in mind, contractors need to be aware about various species of wood so that they can specify a sustainable option and understand what protective finish it requires.
At the same time, contractors should create a relationship with the design community for those projects where the end users work with an interior designer and a specific type of wood is specified for the interior scheme.
Both aspects – sustainability and appearance can be achieved from certain species. This is the case with some exotic hardwoods such as Jatoba and Merbau. Jatoba is a hard wood species from South America and its vivid colouration is balanced with fine graining. Merbau is a primary dark wood with an attractive red to reddish-brown and occasional yellow tone from South East Asia.
Once the flooring has been installed, it is time to consider a finish. Jatoba and Merbau are dense woods and have high oil content. This is intrinsic to their beauty and demand, but does have to be taken into account as this high oil content also reduces their capacity to absorb other coatings.
My advice for flooring contractors is to get up to speed on different wood species, wood finishes and also begin discussions with interior designers. CFJ Craig Pawson is Osmo’s wood and finishes specialist n
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This article has been reproduced from the Contract Flooring Journal website. You can find them at