Bamboo Flooring Basics
Bamboo floors are a popular choice for many good reasons. This unique type of flooring is environmentally friendly, durable, attractive, and hypoallergenic.
However, before you buy bamboo flooring to install in your new home, it’s important to have a good understanding of the different types and styles. There are several different kinds of bamboo flooring out there, and it also comes in a number of colors.
In addition to all the different looks bamboo flooring has to offer, there are also many different grades. These are available in different hardnesses and densities and use different construction methods.
All bamboo flooring is made from thin pieces of bamboo laminated together. This bamboo is cut from the round bamboo stalk and pressed until it’s perfectly flat. Then glued to another bamboo to create a strong, attractive material.
Vertical grain bamboo flooring is laminated together on its edge. It’s a little stronger than horizontal grain bamboo flooring. Which is made in layers on top of one another, instead of side by side.
Strand-style bamboo flooring is made using long strands of this material that have been woven and compressed together. It is also a highly durable type of flooring.
Each style has its own look, and there are a number of options within them. Some bamboo flooring looks much like traditional hardwood. While another flooring is more uniquely bamboo, and some are available in tiles.
There are also many different colors available. Bamboo floors are heat-treated to produce shades from very light natural bamboo to very dark, smoky colors.
Darker colors are a little softer, but bamboo is still a very strong material overall. It’s harder than maple or oak hardwood floors, for instance.
Most bamboo floors come prefinished, making installation much easier. Just put the flooring in and glue it down – there’s no dust and few fumes to deal with.
Bamboo can be quite moisture-resistant, too. It doesn’t crack or warp if correctly made. But it should be treated with care – don’t leave the water to puddle on your bamboo flooring.
Floors made from bamboo can also increase the value of your house. Making them a good investment for people who intend to resell. Their increasing popularity means they’re an excellent choice for new construction, too.
If you have a concern about the environmental impact and sustainability of your remodeling choices, or you just want an attractive, durable new floor for your home, bamboo is the ideal choice. It offers many advantages over hardwood and carpeting.
Just be sure to get quality bamboo products installed in your home. Cheaper flooring has been hitting the market lately. And while it might save you a bit up front, it doesn’t offer all the advantages of a better-made product.
Poor-quality bamboo is prone to splitting, warping, and even delamination. And maybe made with toxic glues and formaldehyde. It’s also often less well-compressed, resulting in a less dense, lower durability product.
The investment in high quality sustainably produced bamboo floors for your home really is worth it. You’ll be glad you paid a little extra when your floors stay with you and keep looking great for many years to come.
But before you decide to invest in this type of flooring for your home improvement project, it is better to get yourself well-informed about the pros and cons of bamboo flooring.
Bamboo Flooring Pros and Cons
A lot of people believe that bamboo is a kind of tree. But the truth is, that bamboo is not a tree. As a matter of fact, it is a type of grass, the tallest among all the types. Even if no one plants it, the bamboo will grow back on its own naturally. The maturity of bamboo will occur at around 4 to 5 years. With these qualities, it is no surprise that some love to have bamboo as their flooring for their homes.
Although bamboo flooring is just recently in the North American continent, there are already numerous importers from all over the globe. Most of the bamboo plants imported into the United States and Canada are grown and produced in China, although the whole of Southeast Asia is abundant in bamboo. It is durable, warm, and extremely beautiful, a perfect taste for your flooring.
Even though there are about 1,000 species of bamboo, only selected species are made into bamboo floors. For instance, the Moso is a common choice. This grows at about 40 to 50 feet in height after a year only. After at least three years, the reeds of the Moso are going to be prepared for harvest. Once harvested, the bamboo will be exposed to the sun to dry and then stripped and shaped. The two shades of bamboo flooring are natural and carbonized shades.
Bamboo Floor Pro
Bamboo undoubtedly has continued to grow in popularity all throughout the 21st century. This is because it brings about numerous benefits. The look of the product is also very unique and will definitely stand out among other flooring materials. Even though bamboo is considered a “green” product, there are still advantages and disadvantages brought about by the material, which range from durability and cost to environmental concerns and human rights factors.
First of all, in the “pros” department, bamboo flooring is widely known and frequently marketed as highly durable and strong. As a matter of fact, the toughest kinds of bamboo flooring are as equally hard as Walnut trees. The typical bamboo flooring can be compared best to a maple tree in terms of hardness. There are also types of bamboo flooring that are tougher, according to the way it was manufactured.
Another advantage of bamboo floors is their sustainability. The basic hardwood floor gets its materials from trees in the forest. Once you cut down these trees, it will take a while for them to grow to their original form. You will have to count decades before it grows back. On the other hand, bamboo is a plant that normally re-grows in a matter of days or sometimes weeks. The bamboo plant has a rapid re-growth cycle, which is why it is known as a fast and renewable resource.
And lastly, the bamboo plant, as mentioned earlier, quickly grows back. It may grow to as fast as three feet within the day. This is why there will be no need for the plant to utilize fertilizers or other chemicals for it to grow immediately. This means less risk for the poisoning of the plants. It is also a healthier product since toxic gases are produced in lower amounts once bamboo flooring is installed in your home.
Bamboo Floor Cons
Now, the “cons” will be discussed. Although there is a lot to be praised in bamboo flooring, it still has its own disadvantages.
First of all, if you choose bamboo, you might spend a bit since the shipping comes from Asia, where bamboo is primarily grown. Also, the fossil fuels used in shipping may contribute to the destruction of the environment. Plus, there is no current certification process ordered to make sure that the bamboo really is properly and responsibly harvested.
All over Asia, old forests are being cleaned out and cleared so the lot can pave way for more bamboo planting. There is very small attention paid to these kinds of issues. But for hardwood, the Forest Stewardship Council certifies that it hardwood was responsibly harvested. This group is not covering the bamboo plant.
And last but not the least, the harvesters of bamboo plants are usually Asian farmers who grow these plants on farms. The wages that are being paid to them are just like any other but are lower as opposed to harvesters of wood in the West. Even though the bamboo plant is cheaper to grow, the floors produced out of hardwood are similar to that of bamboo. Since there are no fair wage laws set up, the bamboo-producing nations will continue to make such amounts of money.
Now that you know the bamboo flooring pros and cons, it is time to decide if you think bamboo flooring is the one you want.