FLOORS in Africa magazine recently interviewed Sakkie Pretorius, wood and laminate product specialist at FloorworX. We talked to Sakkie about his career to date, how the industry has changed and what new trends are taking over the wood and laminate flooring sector.

How did your career lead you to become a wood flooring specialist?
The flooring industry has developed drastically over the past 15 years. When I started selling Kährs engineered wooden flooring in 2005, I was completely new to the industry. During this period, engineered wood products capitalised a very small portion of the flooring market and few companies were offering the product. After spending more time with architects, interior designers and on site, I quickly learned what type of amazing designs and concepts could be achieved using wooden flooring.

Where did your passion for green design and product development start?
In 2007, I was invited to Sweden to visit the Kährs factory in Nybro. During this trip, I realised how evolved the flooring industry was overseas and to what extent environmental policies were changing the game for manufacturers. Sustainability became tactile and a passion overnight.

During this trip, I also visited the Bona factory in Malmö, which further broadened my perspective on the importance of environmentally conscious product development. I came to understand why the renovation and maintenance of wooden flooring is more important than merely supplying and installing wooden flooring. In 2009, FloorworX acquired the Kährs and Bona brands and it was at this time that the paradigms started to shift. I was introduced to the Quick-Step brand of laminated flooring, which cemented FloorworX’s slogan of being the “The flooring solutions company” in my mind.

Why do you believe in the brand?
Quick-Step is a market leader and innovator of new products and the company leads the market. I think Quick-Step continues to be flattered by the sheer number of manufacturers who are trying to emulate their product innovations. The brand was the first to succeed in developing waterproof laminate floors without using additional coatings. Reaping the benefits of innovative flooring technology, Quick-Step’s Impressive and Impressive Ultra laminate floors come with a protective and 100% waterproof HydroSeal finish, thus preventing water from penetrating the floors’ joints. In 2017, wider and longer planks were added to the assortment in the Majestic range, as well as a more cost-effective version in the new relaunched Eligna range.

Besides a water-resistant finish, the Impressive and Impressive Ultra floors have another innovative feature worth mentioning – the floors’ joints are pressed into the surface layer during production. Not only does this succeed in keeping water out, it also assists in creating a unique, authentic look. The colour variations of the product beautifully blend into the joints, while the planks’ wood grains seamlessly merge into the floor surface. This cutting-edge technology also makes the floors completely anti-static, which means that dirt and dust don’t cling to the surface and the floor even easier to clean.

What other products do you recommend?
Once again, at the forefront of innovation, the luxury vinyl plank floors from Quick-Step called Livyn have a scratch-resistant coating which is similar to that found in all Quick-Step laminated floors. I am of the opinion that this attribute, coupled with the fact that Livyn is the only click-vinyl that can be installed in any size in any direction, is unsurpassed when it comes to any other click-luxury vinyl plank on the market in South Africa.

In the years following 2009, the management at FloorworX afforded me a number of opportunities to attend Bona Master Training Seminars in Salzburg, Austria. During this period, South Africa pioneered the Bona Certified Craftsman Programme and became the third in the world to launch the BCCP-program.

What are the latest trends and product developments in wood and laminate flooring?
After the acquisition of Suntups in 2013, the product complement at FloorworX became even more complete. Since 2013, the trends, colours and demands for engineered wooden flooring have changed rapidly. Innovation in various patterns created with the same construction has recently seen Herringbone evolve into a multitude of different patterns. FloorworX has a number of strategic partners and these new patterns can be pre-coloured to match any pallet, interior design features or market trend.

At FloorworX, we pride ourselves on being a dynamic company, supported by world-class and innovative suppliers. One of our winning slogans is: If you want to sell well, you have to buy well. The management team have phenomenal vision and are excellent mentors, treating all staff with respect, integrity and honesty. These values are reflected in our relationships with our suppliers. FloorworX reacts speedily to international trends and we are able to adapt to the requirements of the South African market and consumer. These are only some of the reasons why I am proud to be part of the brand.

For more information, contact FloorworX on Tel: +27 (11) 406 4024 or via www.floorworx.co.za.

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