Why We Started
“Lifewood was born with a single goal: to create the world’s best timber flooring, using WA hardwoods, to suit the world’s most discerning homeowners. This would be supported by our existing and award-winning operating systems for manufacturing through to installation, ensuring the expectations of everyone are met and exceeded.”
Having spent many years in competition with timber flooring installers, we came to understand the intrinsic problems of solid timber very well. We knew that timbers, as traditional as they are, are a natural product so when pre-finished boards are kept solid, they are prone to warping, cracking, buckling and all sorts of imperfections as well as having wide variations in colour tone, etc. It was for these reasons that Lifewood’s founding family initially chose not to deal with timber and instead introduced bamboo flooring to WA, offering a suitable and safer alternative for consumers.
It just so happened, that our nine years experience in working with bamboo gave us practical solutions to overcome many of the problems timber faces when produced as a pre-finished product that can be walked on instantly upon installation.
Bamboo flooring started out in Perth as an innovative way to use bamboo fibre to create a solid floor. Our product became very successful because of the cross-engineering technology behind it, to the point where bamboo is now considered a stable industry leader for hardwood flooring based on the raft of benefits it provides (being predictable, hardwearing and structurally sound in Perth’s extreme conditions).
But for those that love the character of timber, there is no alternative to traditional hardwoods. So for our customers who were set on timber, we knew their only option was to subject themselves to the unstable nature of solid timber flooring and unpredictable nature of dealing with the timber flooring industry. Knowing the high standards and more discerning character of our customers, it was heartbreaking to think of the risks that they would inevitably be faced with and potential disappointment – the very thing we had geared our flooring to overcome.
Throughout our years of installing bamboo, people had always asked us if we could sell the timbers they were seeking (Blackbutt, Jarrah, Marri etc.) because they like the way we do business and wanted to work with us, but bamboo just wasn’t for them.
We soon recognised that the processes and procedures developed and implemented over our nine years in the industry had been refined to a precise science. This science could potentially be duplicated over to timber flooring to give people the same safety we have been able to deliver with bamboo. If we were also able to put together a full colour range of flooring from WA timbers alone then, at the same time, we would also be able to benefit the communities of the South West of WA, instead of potentially buying unsustainable international products.
Lifewood was then born with a single goal: to create the world’s best flooring, using WA hardwoods, to suit the world’s most discerning homeowners. This would be supported by our existing and award-winning operating systems for manufacturing through to installation, ensuring the expectations of everyone are met and exceeded.
We began by work-shopping all the known issues with the timber flooring industry:
a lack of quality control,
inconsistent colour matching from showroom to home,
reluctance to warrant a natural product,
irresponsible use of forestry materials, etc.
And the technical challenges of making pre-finished timber floors while keeping a consistently premium look:
glossing issues, etc.
We then calculated methods of resolving all technical and process issues, and a solid plan was developed.
After a further twelve months of research, we gathered together a small group of industry specialists and scientists to develop the first batch of Lifewood floorboards. The first production run was very successful, proving it is indeed possible to produce a long, stable, wide floorboard that could be sanded multiple times. This Lifewood prototype overcame all the technical problems discovered in the initial findings.
Lifewood then began a working relationship with Australian Craftwood and Timbers to create a product that used premium face wood for the surface of the board and use the less attractive material that would usually be wasted as the unseen components of a three-layered engineered board. This ensures the sustainability of the product and responsible use of forestry by minimising waste, while the cross-engineering technology gives the product structural integrity. Effectively, a select grade product with a wide board and long length can be made cost effectively. Coming complete with a lifetime warranty, this product is setting a new precedent for timber practices and is raising the standard of timber flooring.
This is what Lifewood is able to achieve. We are bringing a much sought after innovation to a very long established trade and in turn are reviving the industry that sustains the south west. At the same time, we are removing the risks associated with timber flooring to give customers security and confidence that their home will continue to look good for years to come.
The Lifewood product has now been scientifically developed and put into practice successfully with patents now pending.