"Faux" materials and prefinished sheet products have been popular with architects, interior designers and fabricators for decades. Developed as cost-effective alternatives to natural wood and stone, faux products primarily eliminate applied finishes and many of the inconsistencies associated with natural materials. Characteristics like grain patterns, color, weight and even availability are all challenges when working with natural materials. Faux wood and faux stone products are also generally much lighter, more consistent in appearance and in many cases outperform natural materials when used in interior design projects. Not to mention they preserve our natural resources for future generations and the health of our planet.
Occasionally, designers or clients may equate "faux" with cheap imitations that lack certain natural characteristics and therefore are not acceptable for a specific application. However, significant advances in recent years now offer a more realistic appearance and texture in laminates and composite panel products. Unfortunately, rigid panel products and faux stone veneer have limitations and aren't flexible enough to cover many surface applications so more flexible materials are required for these applications. More often than not, designers are forced to mix natural wood with faux wood products like HPL, melamine or TFL (Thermally Fused Laminate). This creates inconsistencies between the natural wood, which still requires an applied finish, and the faux material components. This also creates additional challenges for the fabricator who is tasked with blending all these materials which are "similar" but don't use the exact print or may vary in texture, sheen and durability.
One of the leading materials used to develop faux surface products is vinyl, more commonly known as PVC. Unlike rigid panel products, vinyl sheet products can be utilized to cover flat surfaces as well as contoured edges and even mouldings. PVC has been widely used for edge banding for many years due to its ability to match panel materials and its ease of application. Vinyl sheet products simply allow this proven material to be used for larger surface applications. Often referred to as 3DL (3D Laminate), vinyl sheet products have quickly become the material of choice for many applications from wall and ceiling treatments to cabinetry and retail store fixtures. Its ability to cover nearly every surface while offering durability, antimicrobial and antifungal properties as well as a wide variety of finishes makes it a preferred material for many designers and fabricators. However, not all vinyl is created equal. Many PVC manufacturers use additives such as plasticizers to improve flexibility of lesser grade vinyls. These additives can also lower the overall durability and decrease the likelihood of obtaining certain certifications such as fire rating which is often required in many commercial applications.
Envirawood is one of the more recent vinyl products to enter the interior materials market. Unlike other vinyl materials, it uses a high quality PVC film free of plasticizers combined with a proprietary surface coating formulated to deliver maximum scratch and chemical resistance while retaining its flexibility and overall performance. This cutting edge material incorporates realistic digital images placed between 2 clear PVC sheets which are then thermally fused to create a single, flexible sheet product. Once fused together, the sheets can'’t delaminate and create a prefinished veneer sheet that can be utilized for flat panels, edge banding, wrapped profiles and even thermoformed components. This eliminates the inconsistencies between panel products and other materials and offers designers and fabricators a single surface material that can cover nearly every interior surface application.
With the advancements in digital photography and high resolution printing, designers can now choose from a large assortment of realistic faux wood, faux stone, abstract patterns, solid colors, solid metallic colors, faux metals and even graphic artwork. Complete customization is available to match color schemes, client logos or product branding either as a stand alone print or in conjunction with other printed layers to create a one of a kind surface product in satin or a spectacular high gloss. With all of these print options also available in variable thickness depending on the application, Envirawood can easily back up its claim of offering designers and fabricators Infinite Surface Solutions!