UNILIN Panels claims that its decorative panel, Master Oak “is better than the real thing” and that it is indistinguishable from real oak and is “a more sustainable and affordable alternative to oak and oak veneer”.

The company added that it is Master Oak’s ability to combine performance, design integrity and sustainability in use that makes it an ideal decorative panel to elevate interiors with a high-quality surface finish.

Like any of UNILIN Panels’ performance HPL or melamine finishes, Master Oak is designed to be exceptionally scratch and stain resistant. In fact, it’s up to three times more scratch-resistant than real oak for a surface that’s suitable for use on desktops shelves, doors, hotel furniture, storage, cupboards, partitions and more. It is colourfast and remains easy to clean, said the company.

At the heart of Master Oak’s true-to-life look and feel is UNILIN’s Timber Touch Technology. This gives Master Oak the feel of real oak – from rough to smooth and everywhere in-between. It also gives a uniquely matt finish that has almost absent shine levels for a natural ‘unfinished’ effect. Along with more colour play and depth, and better sharpness and contrast from its printed layers, Master Oak looks exactly like oak. The same technology also allows UNILIN Panels to create the largest pattern in the industry for an authentic effect and fewer repeats.

Regular HPL and melamine-faced panels have around three or four depth levels, which limits how much texture can be applied to the surface. The Timber Touch Technology has 64 different depth levels for 20 times more texture than regular structures.

“With Timber Touch Technology, we’ve pushed the envelope of expectation for authenticity in decorative panels, developing a look, texture and feel that’s inseparable from genuine oak,” said Caroline Van De Populiere, R&D director at UNILIN Panels.

“Combined with the durability and ease of use of our melamine and HPL surfaces, this makes Master Oak something of a marvel – a wood-based panel product that combines a true to nature appearance with class-leading sustainability and performance.”

A sustainable pioneer since its foundation in the 1960s, UNILIN Group has a circular philosophy to the production of Master Oak, committing to keep wood in circulation for as a long as possible. For Master Oak, it uses 100% recovered wood, of which more than 90% is recycled wood such as old furniture sourced from cities and towns surrounding production sites.

Using more than 90% recycled wood in the making of Master Oak is made possible by the industry’s most advanced sorting and cleaning process. An ultra-modern machine sorts the post-consumer wood, using a mix of processes including magnets, wind sifters and centrifuges to remove impurities.

UNILIN Group has invested €40m over the past six years to develop the technology and through using wood that would otherwise have been incinerated, it gives continued life to more than a million tonnes of recycled wood every year.


Unilin said Master Oak is already a beautiful and performant surface in a range of commercial projects, demonstrating its ability to deliver high function under different applications.

For example, at Huis van de Kappers, a hair salon in the Belgian town of Waregem, Master Oak has been used for the built-in cabinets and partition walls. Giving a stylish look, Master Oak is also far more resistant to scratches and stains than real oak, making it more suitable for the durability and maintenance needs of a busy hair and beauty salon, where chemical dyes and exposure to heat and moisture are commonplace.

Meanwhile, the stylish stairways and sleek built-in cupboards at the new Izegem, Belgium offices of pet product manufacturer Moderna, use Master Oak Brown as an eyecatching feature. Master Oak brings the look and feel of genuine wood with the durability and performance benefits of a surface made with busy commercial interiors in mind.

Master Oak is also proving its worth in the Ghent offices of specialist hotel software firm OTA Insights, featuring on Clicwall partitions between desk areas and meeting rooms. The look is continued in built-in office cupboards for a unified look that maintains a high-quality aesthetic. Clicwall is UNILIN Panels’ fast and easy to install wall and partition panel system.

It’s not just retail and office projects where Master Oak is making its mark. At Belgium’s Hotel Corsendonk, Master Oak Natural is used on the tabletops of the restaurant. Stain-proof, scratch-resistant and colourfast, Master Oak has the relaxing and welcoming look of genuine oak in a table surface that’s durable and easy to look after.


Master Oak’s excellence in design, performance and sustainability has already been recognised at international awards with the decorative panel picking up top honours in two high-profile awards.

At the DNA Paris Design Awards, Master Oak has been recognised for its innovation in sustainability. Winning the ‘Product Design: Responsible Design’ category, Master Oak’s sustainable construction has been recognised by an international panel of architects, designers, curators and editors. Entries into the DNA Paris Design Awards are evaluated on criteria that are constantly adapted to current standards.

The decorative panel has also been recognised at the Muuuz International Awards (MIAW). Organised by Muuuz, a leading French architecture and interior design news website, along with D’A magazine, the awards have been running for a decade, rewarding the most innovative products in architecture and design. Master Oak has won in the ‘Design (Furnishing) Materials and Surface Finishes’ category.

Also a finalist at the Mixology 22 and FX International Design Awards in the UK, which celebrate the best in commercial interior design, Master Oak is becoming recognised as a high-quality alternative to real oak for designers looking to elevate interiors.