In Kenya, homeowners moved from wood floors to tiles, then they switched to 3D epoxy flooring which comes with aquatic, floral themes and other eye-tricking patterns. But now they are slowing turning to the 19th century look.
But before we jump back to wood, how would you take care of it? If treated right wood can last for many years. A hardwood fitted kitchen which can cost about Sh3 million or staircase evokes some rustic elegance. Also, windows lined with hardwood to give the architecture an interesting look.
Arjun Bhachu, the business executive at Wood Products, one of the oldest companies dealing in wood in Kenya says it evokes elegance and texture in any room. “Just like art, wood helps restore the natural state in a room”. Mahogany and mvuli are two of the most sought-after wood due to their natural state. Also, they do not decay and are water-resistant therefore good for all weather conditions.
Most homeowners will pick hardwood as it is very durable compared to softwood which is why it is chosen when making doors, skating, stairs, rails, frames and for wood paneling.
Arjun says their best-sellers are hardwood flooring and doors. “Wood is now a premium product and having it in your house increases the value by up to about 20 per cent,” he says. Mercy Gathoni, a real estate agent says most homes with wood finishing either flooring or wooden ceilings have a higher value than those with ceramic tiling.
“Fitted kitchens and wardrobes which are mostly made from wood are a must-have in most houses and without these few people are attracted to buy or rent,” says Mercy.
One of the new products and a cheaper alternative in the market is the post form wood which can be used on kitchen countertops in place of granite.
“This is a special form of formica that covers highly compressed wood to form a laminated product that can be used on any countertop. It is cheaper than the granite and marble countertops,” says Arjun.
If you fancy Mvule doors, one can cost you about Sh250,000. A post form is priced at about Sh25,000 per liner meter while fitting a kitchen with medium density fibreboard (MDF) which is light and easy to clean ranges from Sh350,000 upwards. Post form is also also softer than marble but if not well maintained it can last for only three years. When installing, it is important to cover all the gaps to avoid water from leaking into the wood.
Developers also use wood on window frames, on the staircase and floors. The growing demand for rare woods has seen most companies import timber from Congo.