The flooring market has, for decades, presented a parallel reflection of the lifestyles and decor of urban and rural communities across Australia. Those who get all teary eyed about the past often forget that the so called simple life, more often than not, usually just meant fewer choices. In post war 1950’s Australia your average bloke drove the FJ off to the local hardware store for a steel edge ruler, a Stanley knife and a roll of lino. With this he could ‘do up’ the kitchen floor and maybe even the bathroom. If there was any left over, the kitchen table completed a job well done.
For those with a few more ‘quid’ to spend and in search of a more genteel lifestyle, carpet was, as dictated by the Vogues and Home Beautifuls of the day, the classier option.
So, what changed?
The arrival of innovative flooring companies like Kenbrock is what changed the flooring landscape. Resilient flooring took on new forms such as the iconic Pirelli rubber range that Kenbrock imported from Italy in the 1960’s. By the 80’s Kenbrock became the first and only company ever to be licensed to manufacture this range of rubber flooring. In the 90’s Kenbrock also added the very stylish Kinetics rubber range with its multiple applications and visionary colour and chip selection options.
Creative architects and specifiers embraced these new product innovations and proceeded to blur the boundaries between residential and commercial spaces in urban design. Previously aspirational double fronted brick veneers were shunned for what were once inner city slum cottages, small factories became homes, back yards became too small to swing a cat let alone kick a footy and grunge became a fashion statement.
Look, feel, comfort, health
Even a decade before the turn of the century approached, Kenbrock’s search for technological advances delivered commercial grade vinyl flooring from Gerflor in France and homemakers were treated to cushioned vinyl from Germany to ease their aching feet and legs, at the kitchen bench, after a hard day at work.
Medical researchers concluded that these hard floors harboured less mites and allergens than others, particularly carpet, so could only be a benefit to the increasing number of sufferers of asthma and other respiratory conditions.
Next came the call for Phthalate free ranges and the Hexamoll Dinch phthalate free plasticiser was developed for a safer environment, particularly for our children. Later health developments have included anti-bacterial and anti-fungal technology.
Those who were still wedded to the notion of what they regarded as ‘natural’ flooring, such as timber, slate, cork, ceramic tiles etc came to realise that issues such as time management and cost of maintenance, comfort, noise, waterproofing and resilience were far better answered by the newer more modern incarnations of Kenbrock vinyl planks and tiles.
Advanced reproductive processes could accurately replicate any image from popular stone colours and patterns to the rarest timbers, from anywhere in the world, without cracking a single stone or cutting down a single tree.
You could comfortably enjoy a rural floor decor in your inner city nook, a slick clean floor in your farmhouse or a practical and comfortable underfoot solution to your cold, hard concrete slab.
Not only could the colours and grains be visually reproduced but so could the tactile finishes and textures which have become part of the Kenbrock flooring experience.
Lifestyle, the new mantra and the millennium
Midnight 31st December 1999 may have proved an IT non event but flooring technology marched on at an ever increasing pace. Recognising LVT as the future of resilient flooring, Kenbrock launched the Harmony and Floorworks ranges to deliver to Australia a comprehensive range on patterns, grains, styles and choices. Including planks in various sizes, thicknesses, protective finishes and coatings to match almost any practical or aesthetic requirement whilst at the same time, matching almost any lifestyle.
As the new millennium progressed at a rapid rate lifestyle became a major driver of Kenbrock technical innovation. Once Australians bought the mantra that working faster, harder and longer was the path to true happiness, who had the time to stay home polishing the silver and scrubbing the floors. Minimalism became the new catch cry in both domestic and commercial environments and Kenbrock innovation turned its gaze to simple, quick to install, low maintenance floors. The goal was a quick sweep, a quick mop over and Bob’s your uncle.
Kenbrock’s development of self locking and Smartdrop loose lay planks in a new 5mm modular LVT format, delivered the faster and simpler installation, also reducing the need for gluing. Smartdrop Acoustic, modular plank technology, also addressed the lifestyle and health issues of excess noise. Given Australia’s unique climatic conditions locally developed AloxPlus created a barrier to minimise abrasion. And further research into protective surface treatments, of various thicknesses, promoted longer product life and reinforced the goal of minimal maintenance of Kenbrock flooring.
Protecting the Planet
The team at Kenbrock realised very early that we are all jointly responsible for the maintenance of our planet and as such the goal to produce flooring that:
- maximises the use of post consumer recycled content and minimises manufacturing waste
- is fully recyclable
- is free of harmful fillers and plasticisers
- has low VOC and OOP free
- promotes low maintenance minimising the use of energy, detergents and water
Kenbrock is a member of Green Building Council, PVC Product Stewardship and Green Edge Technology. Products are manufactured in ISO9001 and ISO14001certified facilities to minimise energy consumption and greenhouse emissions.
The innovation continues
Never a team to rest on their laurels, recent Kenbrock technical advances have continued to put product development front and centre of the company ethos.
New Hybrid ranges, such as Kenect 5G, combine the best of LVT with new core technology, delivering highly stable, multi layered construction, advanced locking systems, waterproof floors that feel softer and quieter, wear better and can simply be picked up and relayed.
2020 has seen even more advanced Modular Hybrids such as Eclipse that now add additional plank flexibility and can be installed even without a locking system.
The Future …
Looks bright and promising.
After many years of collaboration Kenbrock has strategically transferred ownership to Gerflor SAS, one of the world’s largest and most progressive resilient flooring companies, with factories and facilities that will enable and support Kenbrock innovation to continue well into the future.Strap in and stay tuned for the successes to follow.