Borthwick Timber Floors delivered polished results at ATFA’s awards.
After two years of Covid delays, the Australian Timber Flooring Association (ATFA) recently held its annual awards. Entries were open to projects completed in Australia or New Zealand between 1 July 2019 and 15 June 2022, and the competition was fierce in all categories.
Among a suite of well-deserved wins, the victor in the Sand and Finish category stood out. Borthwick Timber Floors won for its project refinishing the intricate Main Hall of Valentines Mansion at Caulfield Grammar School’s Malvern Campus and restoring the worn parquetry to its original glory.
Clinton Borthwick, co-director of Borthwick Timber Floors, says, “Being one of the oldest companies within the timber flooring industry, we’re fortunate to get to work within these amazing buildings, and experience the sense of grandeur when you walk into these amazing spaces. The company was established in 1948 by our grandfather, Andrew, who passed on his knowledge to our dad, Douglas. Now my brother Scott and I carry on the techniques they perfected on these heritage floors.”
The job began with handcrafted repairs to small areas of parquetry that had been damaged or worn away, particularly at the entrance to the room. The floor had originally been laid in the 1890s by Italian craftsmen using European walnut, oak and sycamore. The repairs were followed by the whole floor being carefully cleaned and then sanded with a series of machines that first removed scratches and then gave a smooth finish to the parquets. Finally, an application of oil protected the timber and revealed the colour contrasts of the parquets.
The Borthwick team fully enjoyed the job, but had to keep it quiet. “When restoring these handcrafted floors, we enjoy documenting the process with photos/images to share and to record history,” Clinton says. “However, one of the conditions of entry to the awards was ‘Promotion of your entry via social media, to further your chances of obtaining votes is not permitted’ so we couldn’t post to our social media accounts before the awards night!”
The awards are voted on by ATFA members – essentially expert peers, so the award has real meaning. “We were honoured to have our work recognised in this way by the Association,” says Clinton. “Many hours went into restoring the floor at Valentines Mansion and it means a lot to Borthwick’s that the work we are so passionate about also resonates with our colleagues. We’ve previously won the ATFA 2014 Commercial Floor of the year award, which was also an honour.”
ATFA is the peak body for timber floors and the timber flooring industry in Australia and is a not-for-profit run for the benefit of members. It implemented the awards as both a showcase for members and to show new trends in designs and techniques to the wider industry. Every year, it promotes the work of award finalists in multiple categories and, in between awards, it runs multiple education campaigns to encourage more timber flooring and better upkeep of existing floors.
Members gain access to a wide range of services, including technical support, and the public can use the member website to learn about caring for timber floors and book inspections, or find ATFA members to hire at www.floorchoices.com.au
“We appreciate the support given by ATFA and all its members,” says Clinton. “We’ll continue to support ATFA and the industry for many years to come, and are excited to participate and see the entries for 2023!”