The Finnish manufacturer of wooden flooring Timberwise held a seminar at the Pavilion Downtown Dubai, displaying alternatives to wooden flooring that contain hazardous adhesives.
Most wooden flooring products come with such adhesives like formaldehyde which releases vapours and fumes into the air, causing health risks, irritation and allergies.
Timberwise was the first manufacturer that switched to completely formaldehyde-free products.
“I would definitely say that the formaldehyde issue is the biggest in flooring and having no emissions is really important,” said Laura Lankinen, marketing manager, Timberwise.
The flooring firm distributes in the Middle East but Lankinen confided that “it has been quiet,” mainly because there hasn’t been too much time dedicated to focusing on the region.
Timberwise products have, however, been used for a number of projects in the UAE including the new shoe store level Shoe District in Dubai Mall as well as the recent Dorma showroom.
When asked what type of wood is most suitable for the region, Lankinen said: “Definitely oak. It is the best selling species at the moment. Oak with a birch plywood structure would be great for the Middle East because it’s good for withstanding humidity and changes in temperature.”
She explained that the firm is mainly targeting designers and not looking to go into retail.
“It is more important to contact designers about our products than go to retail stores because it is the designers that decide on the products especially with wooden flooring. If it’s a specialised designer and a specialised distributor then that’s the best for us,” she said.
Currently tiles with a wooden finish have become popular in the market as they are easier to install and due to new technologies, appear very realistic.
Lankinen said she’s seen these tiles, and they do look very realistic, almost like real wood. However, it has not had any effect on the firm’s market.
“I don’t see it affecting wood very much because tile is still very cold compared to wood which is a very warm material. It is soft to walk on and gives a more natural feel and a lot of people still want that,” she declared.
“It is good to have these tiles with wooden finishes for places where you simply can’t use wood, for example hair salons. But I don’t see it affecting us too much,” she concluded.