Installing timber flooring in bathrooms is not supposed to work, admits Mafi but this Austrian manufacturer been doing just that for over 30 years.
Known in Europe for artisan-made boards from top quality material, Mafi uses the entire tree and here supplies 13 timber species including oak, Swiss stone pine, cheery, ash and walnut. Mike Milling of Mafi says the company is committed to developing new products that use “100 per cent of the tree therefore minimising waste and expressing the tree's natural features”.
One of the company’s latest blogs refers to timber in bathrooms “as a hot trend at the moment” and with its philosophy to work with the natural quality and characteristic of wood, the timber processing of moisture and letting the material breathe is encouraged. In Australia floorboards used in wet areas still have to meet Building Code of Australia requirements (in part 3.
Architect Nicholas Murray put Mafi engineered floorboards on his bathroom floor in a house in Melbourne about two years ago. His young children splash around in the bath and there is no visible evidence of timber degrading in any way, Murray says. “There is no cupping or delamination” though he is comforted by the fact that Mai offers a warranty for work in wet areas.
“We believe that by controlling the whole process and not sub-contracting out any process we can guarantee the best quality”, Milling says. Some 95 per cent of Mafi timber products can be used in bathrooms, as long as installed correctly and following the BCA. The timber is suitable for commercial and residential use, and Mafi supplies, installs and maintains the products. To clean, use Mafi oil soap which contains natural plant fasts and acids use with warm water and a mop.
Deborah Singerman is a Sydney-based journalist and editor, specialising in architecture and design, including city, community, society, economy, sustainability and culture.