During the last decades, Engineered Wood Flooring and Laminated Flooring experienced dramatic increase in demand from consumers in Europe and Asia, and those two products have taken large market share to the traditional hardwood strip flooring and to other floor covering material like textile, vinyl, etc. In North America, these new multi-layer parquets are just taking off, in 1997, Engineered Wood Flooring share of hardwood flooring was 34% and growing fast. This compares with a market share of 67% in Europe. There appears to be much room for growth in North America. The rapid increase of hardwood flooring products in the world in recent years associated with the decrease of available hardwood raw material made the multi-layer and laminated flooring products interesting alternatives for the hardwood flooring industry. Canada is an important supplier of the hardwood raw material for the European production of both hardwood and EW Floorings. Since some volumes of EWF production from Europe are exported to North America, we do not see any reason why they should not be manufactured in Canada with a competitive advantage. The window of opportunity is there to be exploited.
High Pressure Laminate flooring, a composite product made of High Density Fiberboard (HDF) overlaid by coated paper and presenting a very high-resistance surface finish, is also growing very fast in the U.S. The focus was less on this product in this report since contrarily to EWF, HPL flooring is already being produced in Canada. Also a high capacity for manufacturing this product is currently being built in S-E Asia and in China and we know these countries are low-cost producers, very hard to compete with.
Standards and methods for testing such products were reviewed. It was observed that the European market is very much standard driven, German standards leading the way in that respect. North American are more driven by "lifetime limited warranties”, although some voluntary standards have been defined by the industry. In any case, all testing methods that were observed in these standards can be performed in Forintek materials testing laboratories.
The main problems associated with such products are certainly their negative reaction to variation of moisture content. In this report, methods for predicting those reactions were elaborated in terms of quality of construction and performance. More specifically, testing methods were defined, tried and found to be effective to test surface planeity, gap formation associated with shrinkage and cupping. A process quality control method was also proposed to help eventual producers to control their gluing process. Certainly more research needs to be done to find the best parameters in terms of products and methods of production to develop high quality products that consumers will like to use in their home. Additional research is also required in order to find which backing and core materials could provide the future Canadian EWF industry a sustainable competitive advantage.
In wood products, such as parquetry, cabinetry and furniture, some of the performance criterions are related to moisture transfer between their different construction layers. Non homogenous moisture transfer usually results in the product’s deformation . Engineered Wood Parquet Flooring (EWPF) is an important case, which presents non homogenous moisture transfer due to its utilisation in service. Many types of varnish are available on the market. Physical properties of those varnishes such as hardness and abrasion resistance are readily available from the manufacturers. No data on water vapour diffusion is available, so this study is focused on this specific topic. Water vapour coefficient was determined for 6 commercial and industrial varnishes. These values will be used in further modelling work on EWPF.
Cette étude avait pour objectif principal de déterminer les exigences techniques requises par les architectes pour prescrire des lames de planchers dans le but de diriger les manufacturiers dans la rédaction de leurs fiches techniques et dans la réalisation des tests associés. Pour ce faire, deux approches de recherche ont été utilisées. D’une part, des interviews semi-dirigées auprès des manufacturiers de planchers en bois ont été conduites afin de détailler la nature de leur relation avec les architectes et la nature des demandes reçues de ces professionnels. D’autres parts, deux groupes de discussion ont été réalisés auprès d’architectes des régions de Montréal et de Toronto afin d’évaluer les habitudes et les besoins de ces professionnels lorsqu’ils spécifient des lames de planchers en bois. Ces rencontres ont également été l’occasion de sonder les besoins des architectes en matière d’information techniques pour les moulures en bois, ainsi que leurs besoins plus généraux en matière de communication et d’innovation en ce qui a trait au secteur des produits de recouvrement de planchers en bois.
Bien qu’ils partagent à l’occasion cette responsabilité avec les clients, les designers d’intérieur, les promoteurs et entrepreneurs, ainsi que les techniciens en architecture, cette étude aura dans un premier temps permis de valider le rôle important des architectes dans la spécification des produits de revêtements de sol dans les projets de construction au Canada. Le bois est ressorti comme étant un matériau de base dans la gamme de matériaux couramment utilisé pour les revêtements de sol par ces professionnels qui ont cependant affirmé qu’il était plus difficile de l’intégrer au sein des bâtiments non résidentiels que résidentiels. Cette situation s’explique notamment par des raisons d’entretien, de coût, d’insonorisation, de résistance à l’humidité, d’hygiène et de durabilité dans les zones à forte occupation.
En matière d’information technique, les architectes se sont montrés généralement satisfaits de l’information disponible sur les sites web des fabricants et de celle qu’ils peuvent obtenir des représentants. En d’autres mots, ils ont affirmé trouver assez facilement l’information technique nécessaire à leur travail de spécificateur. Les informations qu’ils souhaitent retrouver en priorité sur les fiches techniques des fabricants sont notamment : le type de produit (massif ou ingénierie), les essences, grades et finis offerts, les dimensions du produit, les garanties, les usages pour lesquels le produit est destiné (résidentiel, commercial, commercial léger, etc.), les lieux d’origine de la matière première et de transformation, les directives d’entretien dans un contexte non résidentiel, les données techniques permettant de constater si le produit respecte les normes du code du bâtiment, ainsi que les différentes certifications environnementales. Les besoins d’information technique pour les moulures sont sensiblement les mêmes que pour les produits de plancher, avec une attention particulière pour les informations qui touchent l’entretien et tous les aspects en lien avec l’apparence des produits.
Bien que chaque architecte ait ses habitudes et préférences en matière de communication, ces professionnels ont affirmé que les sites web des manufacturiers, les représentants et les échantillons constituent tous des médiums importants lorsqu’ils sont en phase de recherche, de sélection et de spécification des produits. Les représentants ont fréquemment été cités comme des intervenants majeurs dans le travail de spécification des architectes. Selon eux, les représentants constituent la source d’information la plus fiable notamment pour voir la gamme des échantillons et connaître la disponibilité des produits, les délais de fabrication et de livraison, ainsi que les prix de vente. Les échantillons demeurent des outils incontournables pour les architectes. Toutefois, ils servent davantage aux architectes pour valider leur choix en fin de processus de sélection et pour présenter aux clients, que pour explorer la gamme des produits disponibles sur le marché. Ce sont plutôt les sites web qui constituent fréquemment le point de départ pour les architectes en recherche de produits.
En plus de présenter des fiches techniques complètes, il est important que ces sites web soient à jour notamment, en ce qui a trait à la disponibilité des produits mais également en ce qui concerne la qualité des images exposées pour les différents produits offerts.
This project sought to evaluate the consumer acceptability of some of the lesser-used Canadian wood species with respect to value-added applications. Based on the recommendations of project liaisons across the country eleven species were chosen for the study. Of these there were four hardwoods and seven softwoods. Within this group of species some special topics such as old and second growth differences and blue-stained wood were addressed. In addition to the eleven “lesser used” species two “industry standard” species were included in the study to provide a benchmark.
Data was collected at the Toronto and Vancouver fall home shows. A booth was set up to display samples of each of the wood species. Consumers were asked to fill out a five to ten minute survey which asked which samples were most attractive, which best fit a set of ten descriptors, and which they would like to see used for a series of furniture and interior finish applications. In addition, information was collected on product purchase intentions and respondent demographics. A total of 1031 usable surveys were competed over the fours days of the Toronto show and the four days of the Vancouver show.
Furniture was more common than interior finish with respect to recent purchases. However, interior finish items were the top planned purchases. Of all products in the survey wood floors were the top product in terms of future purchase intentions.
As expected colour and grain are the most important attributes consumers consider when evaluating the look of wood. The top descriptors were warm and classic. However it is interesting that the lower ranked descriptors of modern and cool saw the greatest differences based on demographic segments.
Demographics played a major role in species selection. There was a marked urban / suburban split in the selection of wood species. Urban respondents selected a wider range of species and were looking for looks beyond just warm and classic. Suburban respondents tended to choose red toned species with a warm or classic look. With respect to gender, women generally gravitated to one or two species while men’s species choices were more diverse. From a provincial perspective Ontario respondents chose more red toned woods while BC respondents chose lighter woods for some applications.
The flat grain profile of white birch was one of the top selections of respondents in this study. The red tone of white birch heartwood is viewed as warm, one of the highest ranked attributes respondents were seeking. While other hardwoods finished above white birch for furniture it was generally among the top choices. The strongest result for white birch was in floor applications.
Red alder was noted by respondents for its classic look. It was often chosen for diningroom and livingroom applications where a classic look is desired. Red alder was also chosen quite for kitchen cabinet applications. Red alder finished much stronger than industry standards, and was chosen over red oak for flooring.
Broadleaf maple was the top hardwood species in the study. It is also only the species in the study where edge grain was consistently chosen over flat grain. The edge grain was viewed as both classic and warm. Application opportunities are good for all furniture and for flooring. In the flat profile broadleaf maple was viewed as more neutral. Overall, it was a popular species in both profiles.
Trembling aspen was chosen consistently as the least attractive species in the study. This was due to its very bright colour, not its grain. This said there are some opportunities for aspen. It was generally viewed to have a modern and cool look. This look was popular with younger urban respondents. Kitchen cabinets were the best application prospect for aspen.
No notable results, positive or negative, emerged for amabilis fir.
Douglas fir (Old, Second)
Second growth Douglas fir was a popular sample set in the study. Flat grain was viewed as warm, but not classic. Overall, it was viewed to be in the top half of the samples as most attractive. Edge grain second growth Douglas fir on the other hand was highly cited as least attractive. This was due to its very pronounced grain. When both flat and edge grain appeared in the same survey the flat grain was viewed as most attractive of all samples and the edge grain was viewed as least attractive. There is a niche for edge grain however. It was viewed as modern, distinctive, and to a lesser extent exclusive. It was more popular with men and with Ontario respondents.
Western hemlock (Old, Second)
Old growth hemlock in the flat profile showed strongly in the study. Its erratic grain pattern was viewed as an exclusive and sometimes natural look. It was generally chosen for use in cabinets and floors. Bedroom furniture is the best furniture prospect.
Lodgepole pine (clear, major blue stain, minor blue stain)
Lodgepole pine generally did not register as an attractive or non-attractive species. Edge grain lodgepole pine was seen to have a natural look.
Blue-stained samples were viewed to be very unattractive in general. Some respondents did chose these samples for a cool, natural, and distinctive look. The sample with mild blue stain was a surprise choice for bedroom furniture.
This is the top softwood species in the study. Western larch was viewed as both warm and classic for its deep red tone. In the survey setup with two industry standards western larch was the clear favourite for most attractive. It was chosen over red oak for flooring. Western larch was strong for all furniture applications and for flooring.
Subalpine fir was a surprisingly popular species. In the flat grain profile it was popular for its gradual transition for earlywood to latewood, giving it a clean and natural look. Bedroom furniture is the best prospect for subalpine fir.
Due to a sample with significant defects no clear conclusions can be made about tamarack.
Red oak was noted for its classic look. It surprisingly was not seen to be a warm species. The application where it faired well against the other species was floors, a traditional market for red oak.
Sugar maple was viewed as modern and cool, the two least important attributes. It is interesting that it did finish strong for kitchen cabinets, a current strong market for the species in new homes and renovations.
In general, respondents were seeking a warm look for furniture. For diningroom and to a lesser extent livingroom furniture respondents also looked for a classic look. In bedrooms there were some respondents who chose a lighter natural look.
Of all application looked at in this study, kitchen cabinets saw respondents being most adventuresome. Though a warm look still dominated, a good portion of respondents chose lighter cabinets, and cabinets with distinct grain patterns. For wood floors respondents usually chose species with warm red tones and soft grain patterns. Wood moldings did not generate any significant trends.
The number of occupant complaints received about annoying low-frequency footstep impact sound transmission through wood floor-ceiling assemblies has been increasing in proportion with the increase in the number of multi-family wood buildings being recently built. Little work has been done to develop solutions to control low-frequency footstep impact sound transmission. There are no code provisions nor are there any sound solutions in the codes. Current construction practices are based on a trial and error approach. This two-year project was conducted to remove this barrier and successfully expand the use of wood in the multi-family and mid- to high-rise building markets. The key objective was to build a framework for the development of thorough solutions to control low-frequency footstep sound transmission through wood floor-ceiling assemblies.
Field acoustic tests and case studies were conducted in collaboration with acoustics researchers, builders, and producers of wood building components.
This study found that:
1. With proper design of the base wood-joisted floors and sound details of the ceiling:
with no topping on the floor, the floor-ceiling assembly did not provide sufficient impact sound insulation for low- to high-frequency sound components;
use of a 13-mm thick wood composite topping did not ensure satisfactory impact sound insulation;
use of a 38-mm thick concrete topping without a proper insulation layer to float the topping did not ensure satisfactory impact sound insulation;
use of a topping system having a mass over 20 kg/m2 and composed of composite panels and an insulation layer with proper thickness achieved satisfactory impact sound insulation.
2. Proper design of the base wood-joisted floors was achieved by the correct combination of floor mass and stiffness. The heaviest wood-joisted floors did not necessarily ensure satisfactory impact insulation.
3. Proper sound ceiling details were found to be achieved through:
use of two layers of gypsum board;
use of sound-absorption materials filling at least 50% of the cavity;
installation of resilient channels to the bottom of the joists through an acoustic anchoring system; this resulted in a much better impact sound insulation than directly attaching the resilient channels to the bottom of the joists.
A four-task research plan was developed to thoroughly address the issue of poor low-frequency footstep impact insulation of current lightweight wood floor-ceiling assemblies and to correct prejudice against wood. The tasks included: 1) fundamental work to develop code provisions; 2) expansion of FPInnovations’ material testing laboratory to include tests that characterize the acoustic properties of materials; 3) development of control strategies; and 4) implementation.
The laboratory acoustic research facility built includes a mock-up field floor-ceiling assembly with adjustable span and room height, a testing system and building acoustic-simulation software.
It is concluded that with proper design of the base wood floor structure and the use of the right topping and sound ceiling details, a lightweight wood floor-ceiling assembly can achieve satisfactory impact sound insulation. As planned, solutions will be developed in the next phase of this project.
Engineered Wood Parquet Flooring (EWF) are gaining in popularity since they appeared in Europe in the 70’s. In 1999, two third of the wood parquet installed in Europe was EWF. For the same year, a third of the wood parquet flooring installed in USA was EWF. Even if EWF captured this important market share, the knowledge on the product and its behaviour is very limited. Hygrometric condition variations, which happen in transition from summer to winter conditions in North America can induce hygromecanical deformation and permanent fatigue in the composite material which can result in a decrease of the mechanical performance of the glue line. The objectives of this study were to support the development of strong Engineered Wood Parquet Flooring industries in Canada, to increase the knowledge on engineered wood parquet, to develop engineered wood parquet flooring made with Canadian wood products components and to become competitive in performance with actual products in the market. Methodology has been developed to determine the performance of EWF and their glue line. In accordance with the manufacturing parameter in this study, the best construction was made of a 4 mm sugar maple surface layer, a 8 mm heart of white birch core layer and a 2 mm yellow birch veneer as backing layer. Varnish appears to play an important role in the performance of EWF by reducing the cupping deformation by 50 percent. Finally, the best adhesive to bond the EWF layers was found to be a polyurethane adhesive for the stability and strength of its glue line following ageing cycles.
This project main aim was to increase knowledge on substrates and construction on a long term use. In this project, aging schedule was used to obtain accelerate aging. Aging was performed to generate fatigue in the products assessed. The assessment performed provides knowledge on the component used in the products. Substrates assessed were Russian plywood, HDF and OSB. The nature of the process used to obtain the surface layer was also evaluated. Slicing, peeling and sawing processes were used to obtain sugar maple wear layer on the EWF. Finally, cold set adhesive were used to bond the component. These adhesives were PVA type II, polyurethane, EPI and epoxy.
The prototypes were first studied in order to assess their performance before aging. The method used was systematic measurement trough indoor winter and summer conditioning. All parameters studied were significant. These parameters were type of adhesive, type of substrate, and the process used to obtain the surface component. Interactions between these parameters were also significant. The type of substrate was the heaviest parameter. Process used to obtain the surface component was also an important parameter.
Long term performance was also assessed. Aging cycle was determined in order to have dry condition at the end of each cycle to allow cupping measurement. The results of the ANOVA have shown heavy F value for the effect of aging cycles, type of substrate and the interaction of the substrate and the aging cycles. These numbers point out the substrate as the mean source of fatigue in the material. OSB prototypes have presented an increasing cupping deformation according to the number of aging cycle achieved.
For prototypes made with PVA, every substrate has generated significant different fatigue performance. Ranking was as follows: OSB with the high fatigue observed, followed by the HDF and the Russian plywood. Similar raking can be determined for surface component: sawn surface component with the highest fatigue observed, followed by peeled component and sliced component.
For the prototype made with epoxy observation are not as stable as for PVA. This was caused by wide variability of the measurement observed in the prototypes.
For the prototypes made with hot melt PU adhesive, fatigue performance ranking (order as previous) associate to surface component was sawn, sliced and peeled surface components. Taking into account substrate, ranking was OSB, HDF and Russian plywood.
Observations with EPI were the same as for PVA except that curves are closer and the maximum deformation observed were roughly 15-20% lower.
Aging of adhesive was specifically assessed. Aging cycle was similar to the one used for the aging of the prototypes. Shear strength was the criterion used to assess the adhesive. Both the type of adhesive and the aging cycle were highly significant as well as the interaction of these. Initially, all adhesives had similar shear strength but after 10 aging cycles, EPI, hot melt PU and PVA were similar and PU hot melt, PVA and PU liquid were also similar. In fact, EPI and liquid PU were different as they were respectively the best and the worst adhesive used.
Engineered wood flooring (EWF) is a well established product on the market. In order to differentiate their product from others, manufacturers offer long warranties on the product's integrity even though knowledge of its long-term performance is limited. The main objective of this study was to shed some light on the long-term performance of EWF, and to identify the main parameters responsible for product fatigue.
The study showed that the flooring substrate is one of the main EWF components to impact aging performance. The process used to produce the surface component (sawn, sliced or peeled) also affects the hygrometric variation of the product, and the aging performance. This study provides information to help design better and longer lasting products.