What is bamboo flooring?
Bamboo flooring is a type of flooring manufactured from the bamboo plant. Bamboo is actually a type of grass, not a wood. The species of bamboo that is often used for flooring is known as "Moso," or Mao bamboo.
How is bamboo flooring made?
Bamboo flooring is split into pieces which are flattened, boiled to remove starch, dried, and glued together under high pressure into planks. The grain may be vertical or horizontal across the planks, which can be varying widths and lengths. They are then sanded and stained, varnished, or used as is. Engineered bamboo flooring is manufactured with a wooden core, usually plywood, and a thin sheet of bamboo for the surface layer. Strand woven bamboo is made up of shredded bamboo strips compressed together under extreme pressure.
What colors are available in bamboo flooring?
The two main color variations available are natural, a pale blond shade, and carbonized, which is darker. Bamboo flooring is also available from some manufacturers in a variety of stained colors.
What are the advantages of bamboo flooring?
Bamboo flooring is durable, attractive, and sourced from a renewable resource. It is more resistant to expansion and contraction than solid wood, and is also insect and mildew resistant.
What are the disadvantages of bamboo flooring?
Some manufacturers use high-formaldehyde glues to bind the flooring together. You should only purchase flooring that complies with E1 Safety & Emission Standards. This is often posted on the label of the product. As with almost any floor, bamboo is sensitive to pooling liquids and damage from scratching and scuffing.
Why is bamboo flooring considered environmentally friendly?
Bamboo is considered to be environmentally friendly because it comes from a rapidly renewable resource. Bamboo is a grass that matures in 4-7 years. Once a stalk is harvested, it forms new shoots and continues to grow. Bamboo is helping to reduce the dependency on hardwood and thereby helping to preserve forests.
What is the average lifetime of a bamboo floor?
With proper maintenance and care, bamboo flooring can last for decades or a lifetime.
What is the difference between unfinished and prefinished bamboo flooring?
Pre-finished flooring is sanded and finished under highly controlled conditions during the manufacturing process. An unfinished floor is installed and then sanded and finished in place.
What are the differences between horizontal (flat grain) and vertical bamboo flooring?
Horizontal strips are glued together horizontally and show the bamboo’s nodes, or knuckles, in the flooring. Vertical strips are stacked vertically and glued together, giving the floor a more uniform appearance lacking the nodes.
What are the different grades of bamboo flooring?
Bamboo flooring is usually sorted to either Grade A or Grade B. Grade A is higher quality than Grade B, and that is usually reflected in the price. There are many variables that make bamboo flooring either grade A or B quality. Variables include the maturity of the bamboo, the finishes and glues used, and the color.
What are the pros and cons of suare and beveled edges for prefinished bamboo flooring?
In you have a very level subfloor (the majority of subfloors do not meet this standard), square edges will give your bamboo floor a very flat, smooth look which may be easier to clean. When installed on an uneven subfloor, it may create sharp ridges. Beveled edges help to conceal irregularities in the sub-floor, but also tend to hold dirt and debris.
What are the differences between bamboo floors and solid wood floors?
Harvesting bamboo is better for the environment than harvesting solid wood, as bamboo regenerates in a fraction of the time of hardwood. Bamboo is harder than some solid woods, such as red oak and black walnut. Bamboo is also more resistant to fluctuations in moisture levels and temperature than most solid hardwoods.
Is carbonized bamboo flooring stained?
No, the carbonized (amber) coloring comes from a process where the bamboo is steamed under pressure, caramelizing the bamboo’s natural sugars and naturally darkening the bamboo.
Will there be any color variation in a box of bamboo flooring planks or strips?
Yes. Bamboo is a natural product and planks will feature very slight color variations.
Is bamboo moisture resistant?
Bamboo flooring has a degree of moisture resistance that is higher than most solid hardwoods. That said, you should still never leave liquid on it for an extended period of time, and protect your bamboo floor with a moisture barrier if needed.
How much bamboo flooring do I need?
Below is an easy to use method to estimate how much bamboo flooring you will need for your home. Visit our estimator tools for a more precise and in-depth guide to measuring your flooring needs.
- Divide the floor into rectangles.
- Measure the length and width of each individual rectangle.
- Multiply the length by the width of each individual rectangle.
- Add your total for each rectangle together to get the total square footage.
- Add an additional 5-10% (depending on the manufacturer’s recommendations) of the total square footage to cover the waste factor.
Where can I install bamboo flooring?
Bamboo flooring, as a general rule, should only be installed on or above grade. Some manufacturers will void the warranty if the flooring is installed below grade, in areas like basements or other spaces which are partially below ground. Bamboo flooring can be sensitive to pooling liquids and should not be installed in a bathroom or other "wet" area. Bamboo flooring can be installed on almost any subfloor that is clean, dry, and level, including wood, cement, or one layer of another flat, flooring product. Moisture barriers are almost always recommended when installing bamboo flooring over concrete, termite-treated wooden subfloors, or in humid or moist environments.
How is bamboo flooring normally installed?
Bamboo flooring is available in several different installation methods: nail or staple down, glue-down, and floating.
What is a moisture barrier and do I need one?
A moisture barrier is a thin layer of material placed between the subfloor and your bamboo flooring which helps prevent moisture from transferring between surfaces. This will protect both the subfloor and the flooring itself, and can be made of plastic, specialty paper, foil or other material. A moisture barrier is generally recommended, especially in humid or moist environments or when installing over concrete.
Do I need to acclimate my bamboo flooring before installation?
Yes. Though bamboo flooring is more resistant to expansion and contraction than solid wood, it still needs to acclimate to the temperate and humidity of the area in which it will be installed. Check the manufacturer’s instructions for recommended acclimation times. Normally 3 to 5 days is sufficient. Always ensure that the environment the flooring is being acclimated in is the same as the installation environment (air conditioned, etc).