5 Types of Bamboo Flooring (Pros & Cons)


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When we talk about wooden flooring, bamboo is a term that occasionally pops up. It is fast becoming a popular flooring option throughout the world. You get bamboo in a variety of colors at surprisingly affordable rates.

Bamboo comes with several advantages like sustainability, easy workability, and a high level of durability. It is not an entirely new concept, having been around for the last couple of decades.

But as bamboo has recently shot into prominence in woodworking circles, it would be worthwhile to take a closer look at what it has to offer as a flooring material. In this post, we feature the various aspects of bamboo flooring.

Bamboo is not even a wood – it’s a grass. However, it is denser than most hardwoods and grows so much faster. Bamboo grows in four to five years, making it much more sustainable than hardwoods that need about 60 years for a tree to grow to maturity.

Different Types of Bamboo Flooring

The introduction of “strand-woven” bamboo revolutionized the bamboo flooring industry. We can make boards out of this material that is more than double the hardness of typical hardwoods like red oak.

We can categorize bamboo flooring into different types according to the installation method, grain, color, and texture. Here, we cover all these aspects to give you a clearer picture of what to expect from bamboo flooring.

Bamboo Flooring Installation Types

Whether it is in your home or office, you would be prudent to consider the installation type. You can install your bamboo flooring in six different ways, which include glue and without. Familiarizing yourself with the different types of installation will enable you to choose the most suitable type for your floors.

Nail Down/Glue Down Installation

This method resembles the way we install hardwood floors. The boards are very hard, so you will not get satisfactory results by using a standard hammer. You get specific tools for installing this category of bamboo flooring, like special hammers, and an electric hammer or stapler. It is always a good idea to follow the recommendations of the manufacturer carefully. Only if you are an experienced DIYer, you should attempt to install this type of bamboo flooring. Or else, it is advisable to use the services of a professional.

Floating Glue Seam Installation

You need to add some underlayment in this method, which protects the bamboo from the sub-flooring material. You might also need to install a moisture barrier. In this type of installation, you will have to “pre-lay” the material and mark off the pieces, because you cannot make any correction later due to the speed at which the glue dries. It is easy enough to do it yourself, but in case you are doubtful, you can hire a professional to do the job.

Floating Glueless-Click Installation

It is the simplest and quickest type of bamboo flooring installation type that you can get. You neither need glue, nor nails or any other kind of fastener. The design of the planks enables you to place them together on the surface, and they will click into place. As a DIYer, you can get satisfactory results, and the finished product appears identical to bamboo flooring installed through any of the other available methods.

Bamboo Flooring Grain Types

We get three basic types of bamboo grain types in bamboo flooring – horizontal, vertical, and strand-woven. Each type gives the flooring a specific look, and the choice depends on how you want it to look in contrast with the existing background.

Horizontal Bamboo

In this grain orientation, the planks of bamboo are positioned side-by-side to form boards. The grain exhibits horizontal streaks with random knuckles and growth rings. Horizontal bamboo looks more like bamboo because the planks consist of lateral sections of the stalks.

Vertical Bamboo

In vertical bamboo, we place the planks facing each other in a vertical direction. The manufacturer than glues them together and pressurizes them into the shape of boards. Vertical bamboo flooring looks smooth and uniform.

Strand-Woven Bamboo

This type of bamboo consists of the strands of the bamboo stalk trimmed from long bamboo strips. These stalks then get glued to together and are made into boards by pressurizing. Strand-woven bamboo has double the strength of horizontal or vertical bamboo.

Bamboo Flooring Color Types

You get a variety of different color choices in bamboo flooring like natural, carbonized stained or direct print. The color of the flooring has no bearing on the durability and strength of the material, which remains unchanged.

Natural

If you want a natural, unstained look, natural bamboo flooring is a suitable choice. You will find that natural bamboo color matches well with most décors.

Carbonized

The process of carbonization in bamboo manufacture involves allowing the sugars in the bamboo to caramelize by boiling it for a longer time. The resultant color is darker than natural bamboo and becomes darker in proportion to the duration of boiling.

Tiger

Tiger bamboo involves combining natural bamboo and carbonized bamboo strips to create a striated pattern on the surface of the wood.

Stained

The stained variety of bamboo flooring material involves coloring the wood by adding pigments. As a result, you can get unlimited colors to suit every type of décor.

Direct Print

If you want the durability and strength of bamboo but the look of solid wood, you can opt for direct print bamboo. In this type of bamboo flooring, the grain patterns of particular wood species is transferred to the surface of bamboo boards, making the flooring appear like solid flooring.

Bamboo Flooring Surface Texture Types

You get three categories of texture types in bamboo flooring – smooth, hand-scraped and hand-sculpted. Each type looks different from the others and has a particular feel to it.

Smooth

Smooth bamboo flooring is machined upon many layers of sealant. The specialty of this type of flooring is that you can clean and maintain it easily. It retains a dust-free surface which is a boon to allergy sufferers.

Hand Scraped

This type of bamboo flooring gives your floors an aged, antique appearance. You get it in several colors and styles. Hand-scraped bamboo flooring is made by hand; it comes at a higher price than other varieties of bamboo flooring.

Hand Sculpted

The process of producing hand-sculpted bamboo flooring is similar to the hand-scraped variety, but it looks less distressed. This variety of flooring also costs more because of the labor-intensive nature of its production.

Bamboo Flooring Pros and Cons

Pros

  • Highly-sustainable form of flooring
  • Cheaper than most standard hardwood flooring
  • Stronger than many varieties of hardwood flooring
  • More durable than hardwood flooring
  • Readily available at most home improvements stores

Cons

  • Scratches easily
  • No structured grading system like with solid wood
  • Possibility of “off-gassing” due to the presence of adhesives and urea-formaldehyde

Conclusion

Whether you want something that differs from what others are using, you are looking for cheaper options, or you want to be environmentally responsible, bamboo flooring has it all for you. With the information that we have provided here, you should be able to choose a suitable type of bamboo flooring for your home or office.

Happy Woodworking!