|A production line to manufacture MDF planks at Geruco Quang Tri. Wooden floors have only become popular among local people in recent years, and the market is already flooded with foreign products at various prices — VNA/VNS photo Ho Cau
HCM CITY (VNS) — Wooden floors, typically used in villas or high-end housing, are becoming more popular in residential and commercial housing in Viet Nam.
Market analysts attributed the increased demand to higher incomes and a rising standard of living among the Vietnamese, who want to beautify their homes and enhance their value.
Apart from their attractive colours, flooring made of wood, in contrast to other materials, can evoke warmth in winter and coolness in summer.
The wood-floor market is divided into two segments, solid-wood floors (made of planks milled from a single piece of timber) and engineered wood floors (made of planks composed of two or more layers of wood), according to Nguyen Manh Dung of the Department of Process and Trade for Agro-Forestry-Fisheries.
Natural solid hardwood floors are preferred for personal homes because of their beauty, homogeneous structure, hardness, mild aroma and ease of installation.
However, prices are between VND350,000 and VND 600,000 per sq metre, he said.
On the other hand, engineered wood floors are durable and structurally strong.
Unlike solid wood floors that can shrink and expand when the room temperature changes, engineered wood floors are not prone to the same problems. This makes them suitable for offices where heating might be installed under floors.
In addition, their prices are lower, about VND200,000 to VND300,000 per sq metre, Dung said.
According to Nguyen Ton Quyen, general secretary of Viet Nam Timber and Forest Products Association, said that the engineered wood-floor market has a wide range of products, with about 50 trademarks.
Of those, 20 are from Europe and Asia, such as Classen, Witex, Kronotex of Germany, Pergo of Switzerland and Malaysia, Alsapan of France and Gago of South Korea.
However, up to 80 per cent of the foreign engineered-wood flooring originates from China.
"Because the domestic wood-floor market has become profitable, many foreign and domestic enterprises want to invest in this industry, so dozens of factories have been built in Ha Noi, Hai Phong and HCM City's neighbouring provinces," Quyen added.
Truong Dinh Loi, director of the Long Binh Timber Company in the Dong Nai Province, said that hundreds of companies in the province were producing wood products but few of them made wood floors.
The high level of investment needed to purchase technology and production chains has prevented small- and medium-sized companies from engaging in the business.
"Wood floors have only been used by local people in recent years, and the market is already flooded with foreign products at various prices, so Vietnamese enterprises find it very difficult to get a foothold in the industry here," Cao Binh, director of the Cao Binh Wood Company in Dong Nai Province, said.
Binh also said that most machinery and materials needed for wood floors had to be imported, and transport fees had continued to rise as well. Many businesses would like to invest in making wood floors, but they are afraid of incurring losses.
Pham Thanh Thuy, director of a wood company in HCM City's Binh Chanh District, said: "The market has huge potential but local businesses have been unable to grasp this opportunity to develop." — VNS