“Lifewood was born with a single goal: to create the world’s best timber flooring 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.”
Before moving across into the timber world, having actually spent many years in competition with hardwood flooring suppliers, we came to understand the intrinsic problems of solid timber very well. These were challenges we just weren’t sure how to solve and so we resigned to the fact timber flooring just couldn’t be produced to the standard we demanded for our clients. It was for this reason 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 homeowners.
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.
Bamboo flooring started out in Perth as an innovative way to use bamboo fibre to create a solid floor. Our product become very successful because of the cross-engineering technology behind it, to the point where bamboo is now considered a staple industry leader for hardwood flooring based on the raft of benefits it provides (being predictable, hard-wearing and stable in Perth’s extreme conditions etc).
But for those that love the character of timber, there is no alternative to traditional hardwoods. Knowing the high standards and more discerning character of our customers, our concerns were the risks that they would inevitably be faced with – and the potential disappointment from – how solid timber performs. These are the very issues we had geared our flooring to overcome.
Throughout our years of installing bamboo, people had always asked us if we could also sell the timbers they were seeking (Spotted Gum, Blackbutt, Jarrah, Oak, 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 homeowners 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 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.
When we started Lifewood, we begun by looking at all the known issues with the traditional timber flooring industry:
- unaccountable installers,
- a lack of quality control,
- inconsistent colour matching from showroom to home,
- reluctance to warrant a natural product,
- irresponsible use of forestry resources,
- inherent instability of timber flooring materials.
There were also a number of technical challenges associated with prefinished timber floors that we needed to address to ensure Lifewood could offer a premium floor at an attractive price. These included:
- cupping & warping,
- excessing shrinkage,
- inconvenience of sanding & polishing,
- wasting lower grades of timber,
- inconsistant gloss/shine issues.
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 contract timber manufacturers that were able to meet our stringent manufacturing requirements. The result was the creation of a product that used premium grade timber for the surface of the board and used the less attractive but structurally stable material – that would usually be wasted – in the centre and back of the solid multi-layered board. This ensures the sustainability of the product and responsible use of forestry resources by minimising waste, while the cross-engineering technology gives the product enhanced 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 homeowners security and confidence that their home will continue to look good for years to come.
The Lifewood product has now been scientifically developed, patented and put into practice successfully.