Bamboo Hardwood Flooring:
Types and Characteristics

Bamboo hardwood flooring is available in a wide array of colors and styles. Once you are familiar with the various types and characteristics of these floors, you can narrow down your search for the type of floor covering that would best suit your needs.

For more information about the definition of bamboo and a discussion of the pros and cons of manufactured bamboo flooring, click here.


Woven Bamboo Flooring

Woven bamboo flooring, also referred to as strand woven bamboo flooring consists of bamboo strips woven together to form planks. They look similar to hardwood planks, but they are glued instead of having a solid "wood" core.

It is more similar in characteristics to hardwood, although it may be harder and more stable than most tropical hardwoods. In some products, the woven bamboo flooring can be sanded and refinished -
just like a typical wood floor covering.

Engineered Bamboo Flooring

Engineered bamboo floor material, also called bamboo laminate, is similar to what we know as engineered wood. Layers of bamboo are laminated (glued) together with a resin. Typically, the bamboo layer on the top can be sanded. The backing of this product is wood - usually fir or pine, and it can be nailed, glued or floated.

The most commonly used resin for laminating contains formaldehyde. Because of the serious health implications of this gas, look for a product with a formaldehyde free resin - or at the very least, a low VOC adhesive.

Eco-Timber claims their engineered bamboo flooring has incredible stability. Like engineered wood, it is less susceptible to humidity changes.

Solid bamboo flooring does have its advantages though - it can be nailed to plywood (or a wood sub floor) or glued to concrete. And you will be able to find some products with a formaldehyde free adhesive.

Bamboo Floating Floor

Floating bamboo flooring is also called "plank" flooring. Bamboo floating floors require an underlayment of some type such as cork, recycled fibers or synthetic latex material.

It is available in tongue and groove or in glue-less "click" bamboo floor styles. This type is ideal for remodeling, because it can cover imperfections in the subfloor. It's also popular among do-it-yourselfers. Floating bamboo flooring installs two times as quickly as traditional flooring!

Carbonized Bamboo Flooring

Carbonized bamboo flooring, sometimes referred to as caramelized, is the process of steaming or kiln-drying stalks prior to processing. This results in a deeper, richer color which is more reminiscent of darker hardwoods. Have you ever caramelized sugar (and butter) to make fudge? Well, bamboo is in the sugar cane family, so the "browning" in the heat takes place in a similar manner.

This heat process does change the composition somewhat, though. Many people don't realize that carbonized bamboo is typically softer - and thus tends to dent more easily. Still, the color range is quite popular.

Bamboo is also available in floor tiles. Bamboo floor tile may especially be appealing in smaller rooms or perhaps in the basement. The relative ease of installation as well as a parquet - like look is another option to consider.

Leading Companies in Bamboo Flooring

Although there are probably hundreds of companies that sell bamboo hardwood floors, it is up to you to ask questions that will assure you of a high quality product. Three of the better known reputable companies providing information and a variety of bamboo flooring options are Teragren, Smith and Fong (Plyboo) and a company called Eco Timber.

There are numerous other companies from which to choose - just be sure to do your homework and compare manufacturing, quality control and warranty. You don't want to end up dealing with a company who is "here today, gone tomorrow."

Also, ask the question: Is the company you are considering an authorized dealer for the bamboo hardwood flooring? If not, guaranteeing the warranty may be difficult.

Flooring Types

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