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Bamboo flooring comes in many types. The look and feel of bamboo flooring can be
customized to some extent in order to
better meet aesthetic and practical needs. In this bamboo types section you will learn about the common construction of
bamboo, and the three main types; solid, engineered and strand woven. Beyond the construction of bamboo we explore the common
colors of bamboo flooring which include; natural, carbonized (amber) and multiple stain colors. Do you want to glue your
bamboo flooring down to the sub–floor or are you going to click lock it together and let it float? Click lock and
traditional tongue and groove bamboo types are explored below as well as their finish types, unfinshed and prefinished.
Read this section to learn about the differences in bamboo styles, patterns and construction so you can find the bamboo
floor that's right for you. Still have questions about bamboo flooring types? No problem, the bamboo flooring professionals
at FindAnyFloor.com® are here to help you. Just click on the Chat Live icon and let us assist you today.
Bamboo has three common types of construction. Each manufacturer may have their own version of constructing bamboo
flooring, but they generally fall into these categories; solid bamboo, engineered bamboo and strand woven bamboo (sometimes
refered to as compressed bamboo).
Individual strips of bamboo are glued together to create solid planks of bamboo flooring. These planks are installed
with either flooring adhesives or by nailing/stapling them in place. Solid bamboo flooring is available in two different
NOTE: Nodes are often referred to as bamboo knuckles, the nodes are the joints of the
bamboo stem located between hollow points along the culm pole. The node is made up of a stiff membrane spanning the culm
where buds and branches can be found. These joints help reinforce the bamboo stalk.
Engineered bamboo flooring consists of a surface (wear) layer of either vertical or horizontal bamboo. These top layers
of bamboo are attached to another layer of wood (such as plywood, pine or fiberboard) with special flooring adhesives under
extreme pressure. The result is a floor that looks identical to solid bamboo from above, but the core and backing are
non–bamboo materials. Engineered bamboo floors are available in 2 types:
As a general rule, the higher the ply count in multi ply engineered, the more stable the product will be, especially in
extreme humidity conditions. Just like hardwood engineered flooring, engineered bamboo floors tend to be more dimensionally
stable (surface height and width evenly balanced) and easier to install than solid bamboo flooring.
Strand woven bamboo flooring is the hardest bamboo floor type available. In fact, it's comparable in durability to many
of the hardest wood flooring types, and is nearly two times stronger than Red Oak and horizontal/vertical bamboo flooring.
Strand woven (compressed) bamboo flooring is made from strips of bamboo that are shredded into thin strands (or fibers)
and combined with resins in rectangular steel molds. (These resins help protect the finished product from moisture,
scratching, and UV light exposure). Under high levels of heat and pressure, the strands are pressed together to form a dense
bamboo beam. These beams are then cut into floor planks and sent to the milling machine, where a tongue and groove is cut on
all 4 sides. The planks are sanded until smooth and sent to the finishing line to receive multiple coats of finish.
Bamboo floor comes in three common color types; natural, carbonized (amber) and stained.
Natural bamboo flooring is literally just that, the natural pale golden tone of bamboo. The color is neutral, and pairs
well with most décor, and can truly light up your living space.
Bamboo contains natural sugars. To achieve a darker color, natural bamboo strips are steamed which caramelizes the
natural sugars and darkens the bamboo. The longer the bamboo is steamed, the darker it becomes. Shades will range from light
amber to dark brown. The steaming process adds extra stress to the bamboo which weakens it slightly compared to natural
bamboo; check the Janka Hardness scale for the differences between natural and carbonized bamboo.
Many bamboo flooring manufacturers are now staining bamboo to offer a wider variety of colors. Stained colors vary and
can resemble the colors of natural wood flooring species or can be extreme colors for an artistic statement. While you can
sand and stain bamboo flooring that is already installed, it is more cost effective and easier to purchase a
pre–stained and finished product.
Bamboo flooring is manufactured using various construction processes. Read below about the different types of edges and
The edges of bamboo flooring are cut at 90° angles so when individual flooring planks are placed together, the
transition is smooth with no groove between the edges.
Micro–beveled bamboo flooring has very small angles cut into the edges so when flooring planks are placed
together, a small groove or seam will appear. The main reason for this type of milling is to hide minor imperfections that
may be in the subfloor. Subfloor imperfections can cause squared edged bamboo flooring to have areas that are higher or
lower than others.
Milling refers to the type of bamboo locking or fastening mechanism. There are two popular types; tongue and groove and
Click and lock bamboo flooring is individual planks of engineered floor that quite literally click together, requiring
no adhesive between the planks. This type of floor is meant to be "floated", meaning that flooring fasteners such
as nails or staples are not used. For more information on floating click and lock engineered flooring, refer to the Bamboo
Installation Instructions at FindAnyFloor.com.
NOTE: Floating is the installation method used when a floor is placed on top of a
subfloor, only separated by an underlayment and not fastened using adhesives, nails or staples. This is considered the easier
and quickest of all installation methods.
Tongue and Groove (T & G) is the most common milling system used for bamboo and wood flooring. T & G bamboo
planks are manufactured like puzzle pieces, with a groove in one side and a tongue–shaped ridge on the other. The
grooved side acts as a slot for the tongue–shaped edge, minimizing the space between planks. Most tongue and groove
floors are installed using flooring fasteners (nails or staples) or special flooring adhesives. Some T & G engineered
floors can be floated by applying glue between the tongue and the grooves to hold the planks together.
Bamboo flooring is manufactured with two finishing options; Pre–finished (finished) or unfinished.
Pre–finished bamboo floors are sanded and coated with flooring finish at the factory. This allows the bamboo to
go from the factory to the floor with no additional processing. After bamboo flooring has been constructed, milled and
sanded at the factory, multiple coats of finish are applied using a process called UV finishing. This finish bonds quickly
to the surface with the help of ultraviolet lamps. Many manufacturers are starting to use water–based (environmentally
friendly) finishing systems rather than the common types which are urethane–based. Some manufacturers also add a
product called Aluminum Oxide or Ceramic to the finishing process to promote a more scratch resistant and durable product.
Unfinished bamboo floors require sanding, staining (if you want a color other than natural or carbonized), and several
protective coats of finish after installation. Warning: Unfinished bamboo floors can only be sanded and finished once the
boards have had time to acclimate (or adjust) to the environment where installation is taking place. Finishing floors after
installation lengthens the installation project time line, and will always be more expensive then buying pre–finished
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