Have you set your sights on installing bamboo flooring in your home? Are you a little confused by what you’ve been reading online?
You’re not alone. Depending on what resource you read, bamboo is either the best or worse material for residential flooring.
We fall into the category that thinks it makes a great addition to any home. However, like any flooring choice, you have to understand how to care for and maintain it over time to truly fall in love with it, and enjoy it for years to come.
We get a lot of questions about bamboo flooring as people are trying to narrow down their choices. We thought we’d share them with you here to help you make up your mind as you’re deciding if bamboo flooring will make a welcome addition to your home.
Are there different types of bamboo flooring?
Yes, and this is where a lot of the confusion comes from. Bamboo flooring is usually broken down into two categories: solid and strand woven.
Solid bamboo is more traditional, where strips of bamboo are glued together to make a solid and stable floor covering. It’s made similarly to a traditional oak floor.
Strand woven is newer and more innovative in technology. Bamboo is shredded and woven together to create a stronger and more versatile floor. Strand woven is twice as strong as more traditional oak flooring.
Are there different kinds of strand woven bamboo flooring?
Yes! Innovation never stops, and you’ll find that once you start looking at strand woven bamboo flooring. The most common include:
Solid strand woven bamboo – this is twice as strong as traditional hardwood flooring, where bamboo strands are compressed under heavy pressure to create durable planks. They’re milled with a tongue-and-groove structure that allows them to be glued or nailed into place. Like hardwood, they can be refinished several times, giving you a long lifespan.
Engineered strand woven bamboo – this provides a thick strand woven bamboo wear layer over the top of a durable core. Like engineered hardwood, engineered bamboo gives you a tough, durable product that’s even easier to install with click-and-lock technology.
Rigid core strand woven bamboo – want an even stronger core? This may be your answer. These floors provide strand woven bamboo on the top layer, with a rigid polymer composite (SPC) core. This makes bamboo functional in places like kitchens, bathrooms, and laundry rooms where moisture may be a problem. Some rigid core products also come equipped with a padded base that serves as a vapor barrier. This means it can be floated directly over concrete subfloors without need of an underlayment. If you’ve debated about what to install in your basement, rigid core strand woven bamboo may be your solution.
Is strand woven bamboo flooring eco-friendly?
Yes! That’s what leads a lot of homeowners to look at bamboo as a flooring option.
Most of the world’s bamboo is grown in China. Bamboo is a regenerating grass, so it grows much faster than hardwood trees. That makes it more sustainable and environmentally friendly.
This regenerative grass matures within five years. Once harvested, it has self-regenerating properties that won’t require replanting.
To be truly eco-friendly, pay attention to growth and harvesting practices. Look to ensure the manufacturer follows best practices, and allows healthy harvesting and regeneration qualities. Certification by organizations such as the Forest Stewardship Council (FSC) will ensure best practices.
Is strand woven bamboo flooring better than hardwood?
Like all types of flooring, it’s a personal choice. Many homeowners have installed bamboo flooring and are very happy with the results. The more research you do about the product to ensure it fits your lifestyle, the better chance of being pleased with the results.
Hardwood and strand woven bamboo flooring are both made from natural materials, can be refinished several times, have a similar feel and comfort level, are easy to maintain, and are installed in similar fashion.
The differences include:
- Bamboo is made from a regenerative grass, while hardwood comes from trees
- Bamboo matures in five years, while hardwood can take up to 60 years to reach maturity
- Bamboo is often more affordable than hardwood
- Strand woven bamboo usually has a Janka hardness rating of as much as three times that of traditional hardwood
Does strand woven bamboo expand and contract like hardwood?
Both bamboo and hardwood are made from hygroscopic material, which means they absorb moisture from the air in the environment. Both products do well in a balanced moisture environment.
When relative humidity decreases, there is less moisture in the air. This causes the final product to contract, which can cause gaps in the planks.
As relative humidity rises, it brings more moisture to the air. More humidity can cause buckling as the final product expands.
No matter which product you choose, acclimating it to your home’s environment is an important part of the process. If moisture is a problem, look towards engineered or rigid core.
Is strand woven bamboo flooring durable?
Yes! If you’ve grown to love hardwood, but want something even more durable, you’re going to love what strand woven bamboo brings to your home.
Strand woven bamboo is a robust and durable product. But like any flooring material, it can be damaged over time. If you drag heavy furniture across it, you’ll notice light scratches. Drop heavy pans or sharp objects, and you may notice dents. It can withstand a lot of pressure; it just depends on what hits it, and the amount of force behind it.
The key to its success is maintenance. Luckily, the process to keep it clean doesn’t take too much effort. Use a dust mop or a vacuum with soft, non-rotating bristles to keep dust and debris away. For extra dirty floors or a more deep cleaning, a simple solution will do the trick. Check with manufacturer’s guidelines before using any cleaning product to ensure it doesn’t damage the finish. Never use a wet or steam mop to ensure best results.
What questions do you have about strand woven bamboo flooring?
If we can answer any of your questions, give us a call. Whether you’re finalizing your flooring choice, or still have general questions, we’re happy to provide you with solid advice.
How can we help you?