Bamboo Flooring

Bamboo Flooring

Bamboo Flooring

Bamboo is relatively new to the flooring industry. Compared to tile, stone, carpet, wood, laminate, and linoleum floors, it has lots to offer. It’s a renewable resource and good on radiant floor heating systems.

Have you thought about using grass for your flooring? Well, you can do just that, if you select bamboo.

Bamboo is grown in latitudes between 40 degrees south and 40 degrees north, mostly in Asian forests, though Central America has bamboo forests as well. It’s a grass with a tree-like or shrubby form and woody stems. The strength of the bamboo comes from its growth structure; it’s a hollow stem with rigid internal internodes, like a collection of solid-ended tubes, one on top of another, running the length of the stalk. Bamboo matures enough to use for quality flooring in five to seven years; Bamboo younger than five years old isn’t strong enough to make a long-lasting floor. After harvesting, a new batch of bamboo grass re-grows from the remaining rhizomes and «trunk». Not only is bamboo a fast growing resource, but it also takes much less space than a hardwood forest to get the same amount of flooring product.

This flooring material may seem a bit unusual at first glance, but it can really be a great option for those wanting a hard-surface floor. The positives of bamboo flooring are numerous.

  • Fire, mildew, and naturally insect resistant.
  • Health issues (being a hard surface, it’s a good option for those who suffer allergies because it doesn’t harbor dust and dander).
  • It can be stained to match your decor.
  • It is a renewable resource, known for its hardness and durability.
  • Good on radiant heat floors.

    Negatives around bamboo are few, and mostly relate to preferences, not the material itself.

  • Noisy (being a hard surface, it reflects rather than absorbs sound).
  • Bleaches in intense, direct sunlight.
  • Construction (engineered versus solid material).
  • Short history in the market (it has only been manufactured as a flooring product since 1993, meaning we don’t have the history to tell us how it will wear in the long run).

    Bamboo is an engineered floor, with the processed grass strips layered and glued to make a dimensionally stable flooring product. It can be cut and glued horizontally or vertically, giving different looks and hardness results. And given its native climate where moisture ranges widely during the growing season, it can be used in places wood floors are usually avoided, like the in bathroom and kitchen and on radiant floors, because it is used to moisture fluctuations.

    Bamboo flooring’s hardness rating, usually gauged by ASTM 1037 (also known as Janko Hardness Rating) is higher than most wood floorings. According to ASTM 1037 tests, bamboo shows an average hardness of 1642, making it 21 percent harder than white oak and 13 percent harder than hard maple. Bamboo is amply hard enough to use as flooring. One example of its strength is illustrated by the fact it’s used for scaffolding in even high-rise buildings in China.

    Bamboo normally comes in two styles and two shades, though some manufacturers also make tinted floors. The styles include vertical and horizontal cuts. The horizontal, or flat grain, cut is the broad pieces glued side by side, and then several layers glued on top of each other to attain the 5/8″ thickness. Both show the «knots», but the vertical cut is narrow slices glued side by side to achieve a 3-6″ plank width (both style of construction have thick enough slices that repair and refinishing are readily done). The shade options you have are natural (a soft, golden blonde color) and caramelized, or carbonized (a rich, caramel or amber color). Flooring of horizontal grain with natural shade is the hardest of the bamboo products, followed by vertical grain with natural shade, then horizontal grain with caramelized shade, and finally vertical grain with caramelized shade being the least hard, but still harder than white oak.

    The question of whether bamboo can be used with radiant floor heating systems is discussed a lot. My analysis is that given its durability and being engineered, that if the radiant temperature in the heating element (electric wire or water pipe) doesn’t exceed 105 degrees (85 degrees being what my plumber subscribes to), there’s no problem installing acclimatized bamboo on a radiant floor. Your flooring installer can help you decide which installations style — floating, glue-down, or nailed-down — is best for your situation.

    Live dangerously and buy grass for your new floor. It may be the best option for you, given all that it has to offer, as your choice in a hard-surface floor.

    Comments

    We just bought bamboo flooring for our kitchen and I plan to install it this week. Can it be done without a nail gun? Or is it simply too hard to be done with a manual hammer?

    Arlene at August 5, 2007 4:55 PM

    To answer your «asked» question, I highly recommend a nail gun because it’s faster and easier than a hammer. It’s been a long time since I’ve seen wood floors laid with a hammer instead of a nail gun.

    An issue you didn’t ask about relates to letting the flooring acclimate before installing it. You didn’t mention where you live, but if you are in a dry climate, as I am, you’ll want more than a few days for the bamboo to dry out to match your climate. If you don’t, the wood will shrink in place as it dries, and that could cause cracking and splitting.

    Good luck. You’ll love your bamboo flooring.

    The Flooring Lady at August 5, 2007 5:06 PM

    Are some brands of engineered floating bamboo better than others? Do you have a recommendation? Thanks!

    RG at August 29, 2007 9:59 PM

    A designer in my area who’s chemically sensitive promotes Plyboo products to her clients. Her Plyboo floors are beautiful.

    I have Natural Cork bamboo floors. They installed nicely and look good. I don’t like the pre-finished surface though. If I had it to do again I’d go with an unfinished bamboo flooring material and finish it in place.

    The Flooring Lady at August 30, 2007 2:40 PM

    I live in a waterfront condo with concrete floors.Would bamboo be suitable and if so what type of installation would be recommended ?

    Thank you

    H G at November 23, 2007 1:30 PM

    As long as you acclimate the bamboo to your home then it would be a fine flooring for your condo. Be sure with the concrete floors to have a good vapor barrier to protect the bamboo from any moisture the concrete would want to wick.

    A vapor barrier can be provided through a film you lay on the concrete before installing the bamboo or the glue you use to glue it down. I am partial to the glue-down method.

    The vapor barrier company I like is Raven Industries .

    The glue I like is Bostik’s Best flexible urethane adhesive .

    Enjoy that bamboo!

    The Flooring Lady at November 23, 2007 2:36 PM

    Would like to take out carpet and refinish our floors in Colorado Springs house with wood floors. Due to relative cold weather am concerned about floors being too cold. Have been looking into cork floors but we have small children (high traffic) and antique furniture (heavy with wheels or thin legs). Will the low Janka rating of cork stand up to the weight of the heavy antique furniture? Colorado Springs has extremely arid/dry air, will the dry climate increase the flaking of the cork rendering it a poor choice for that area? If so what would you recomend instead? Also redoing floor in master bath (currently carpeted as it connects to the master bedroom without wall or door). Any suggestions there? Thank you!

    Lynn at November 29, 2007 10:06 PM

    Interesting you would ask a cork question on the Bamboo Flooring article. I’m going to answer this from both a bamboo and cork perspective, and the cork answer will be found on the Cork Flooring article.

    I also live in arid Colorado and have had both cork and bamboo flooring. I love them both. The cork, a defective batch, taught me a lot about flooring issues in Colorado. Let me share my bamboo lessons with you here.

    We have bamboo (we had cork at one time) throughout our home. You are right in wondering if it’s warm enough: even with in-floor radiant heat, the floor can feel cool at times, especially compared to a carpeted floor. But it cleans up so much more easily than carpet does.

    If you go with bamboo, my suggestion is to go with an unfinished product and finish it in place. That will let the T&G grooves that happen naturally between each plank be filled in and covered with the sealant. That keeps dirt and food particles from lodging between your floor planks.

    My bamboo floor has an aluminum-oxide UV cured finish that isn’t as durable as I would like. I can see all the marks left by the dining room chairs where they roll around — not my favorite look. I don’t think I’d have that issue with a finish put on in place after installation. I would use Diamond Coat Varathane polyurethane to finish my floors.

    The most important thing you can do for your wood is to let it acclimate to your house and climate before installation. It’s inconvenient, but open the boxes and plastic wrap so air can circulate around the boards, spread the packages about the areas to be floored, and let them dry out for several weeks. Bamboo is grown and manufactured into flooring in humid climates, so it’s that much more critical for the wood to dry out before being installed. The shrinkage that happens as it dries won’t impact your floor; shrinking in place (after installation) could cause cracks in the planks and separation between planks.

    Once the wood is dry, your flooring installer can check the moisture content, you should be able to proceed with your installation.

    Area rugs used on the bamboo floors will look great and give you the comfort you want, where you need it. The bamboo floor is so wonderfully easy to take care of and keep clean!

    And your friends and company will love the look of the bamboo flooring in your home.

    The Flooring Lady at November 30, 2007 1:52 PM

    Will bamboo hold up in a summer home where there is no heat on during the winter. (New Jersey where the temperature can drop to the freezing area) I have been told that it is not a good because of this.

    Kmg at January 19, 2008 5:06 PM

    I haven’t ever experienced freezing my bamboo flooring, other than my bamboo flooring scraps being in an unheated shed. I don’t know why bamboo wouldn’t hold up any differently than wood. Temperature extremes are hard on any natural material like bamboo and wood. But we use wood all the time outdoors — in fencing, decking, benches and steps.

    Bamboo flooring is engineered which adds dimensional stability to it. Before it’s made into flooring lots of the moisture of the bamboo stalks is dried out of it, but you still need to acclimate it to your location before installing it.

    Check with the manufacturer to see what they say about it, though they probably don’t know anything about freezing temperatures and their bamboo flooring. And then proceed according to your wishes and knowledge of what your warranty covers.

    The Flooring Lady at January 19, 2008 10:22 PM

    My wife likes the bamboo, but everyone at the flooring store today told us that it scratches easily. True or false?

    Chad at February 9, 2008 6:59 PM

    ) There is no black and white answer here. There are many variables impacting the situation you are talking about. To start, all natural materials can be damaged and some easily.

    The age of the bamboo when it’s harvested makes a difference as to strength and scratch/dent resistance; the older it is the sturdier it is. The way it’s processed will impact the sturdiness as well — too much carbonizing weakens the cells. Vertical and horizontal cuts also impact the hardness of the floor; horizontal cut is stronger than vertical cut. The hardest bamboo floor you can buy is a horizontal and uncarbonized (natural) that’s made from 7 year old grasses.

    After experiencing bamboo flooring that was pre-finished I would not go that route again. I’d finish my flooring in place so the gaps, nail holes and imperfections arising from installation can be filled and sealed. I believe that will make the most durable and easy to care for bamboo floor.

    Now it’s up to you to decide if the bamboo is for you. It receives compliments from everyone who sees it. It’s easy to care for. I love mine.

    The Flooring Lady at February 10, 2008 7:46 AM

    We had carbonized bamboo installed and finished by a professional in October, by November the boards begain to separate from one another. They same installer removed the flooring in Janauary and installed new bamboo two weeks ago and again a few baords have sepearted from each other. The isntaller had installed brazillian cherry throughout our home a few years ago without issue. Is this typciall of bamboo?

    Rob at February 12, 2008 8:09 AM

    I’m guessing you didn’t acclimate the bamboo to your home first. Given the humid climate bamboo is grown and manufactured in you can imagine how much moisture it holds. Even if you live in a humid area of the U.S. it’s not as humid as where bamboo came from. And your home is even drier than the general climate of your area.

    I harp on how important it is to acclimate bamboo flooring (cork too) before installing it. I live in an arid region and it took months for my floor to get dry enough to install — and I had it stacked outside the packaging indoors during most of that time.

    If you want to try it again be sure to open the bamboo packaging and let it sit in the areas you’ll be installing it until the hygrometer reads something like 10-11% (or see what your installer recommends as a reasonable moisture content for your area). Then you can have it installed with no problem. My bamboo floor has been installed for two years now and I’m not having any separation or buckling.

    The Flooring Lady at February 12, 2008 8:43 AM

    Thank you for the note the installer delivered the unfinished bamboo to our home 21 days befreo install. The bamboo was removed from any packaging and straps at delivery.

    Rob at February 12, 2008 9:25 AM

    Then a few other ideas include the bamboo may not have old enough when it was harvested. Or the flooring is defective from a manufacturing perspective. Or, 21 days wasn’t enough time for your bamboo to acclimate.

    Who is the flooring manufacturer? Have you contacted them about this problem?

    The Flooring Lady at February 12, 2008 9:46 AM

    Bamboo flooring doesn’t seem to have the natural temperature warmth of wood flooring. Is there any truth in that?

    Allen at April 3, 2008 11:01 AM

    I don’t even know what that means. Can you tell me more?

    The Flooring Lady at April 3, 2008 11:08 AM

    Your original comment was under Best Kitchen Flooring. Read this comment thread to find what I like best for my suggestions on sealants.

    Maple is a beautiful wood for flooring (and cabinets), but it’s not as sustainable a product as bamboo. Your environmental position and preference for which looks better in your home will be the determining factor. And the same sealant recommendation applies to maple as bamboo.

    The Flooring Lady at April 10, 2008 8:41 AM

    I was thinking of using Bamboo in a remodeling job of my family room. I live in Florida and have been told that the humidity may cause a problem. What do you think?

    Cindy at May 18, 2008 10:02 AM

    The only reason I can think of as to why somebody would tell you that is because sunlight does bleach it, but that doesn’t have anything to do with humidity. Anybody ever give you an actual reason *why* it’s not suitable for humid areas? Is it possible that a salesman was trying to steer you towards a more expensive flooring?

    The Flooring Lady at May 18, 2008 10:54 AM

    I had to laugh when I read your post: I was told I bamboo was better in humid areas and I shouldn’t put it in my arid-region home.

    My thought is that bamboo grows and is generally processed in humid climates and would be great in similar climates. Mold could be an issue, but then it would be with almost anything!

    I love my bamboo floor (but I’d get unfinished flooring if I had to do it again so I could have a smoother finish without the seams between boards). My one suggestion is to be sure to let it breathe outside the packaging — inside the rooms it’s going to be installed in — for several days, if not weeks, before putting it on the floor so that it’s had time to adjust to your living space.

    Anonymous at May 19, 2008 7:35 AM

    I live in a very dry, desert climate, and have been told that bamboo flooring will crack over time because of the humidity difference? Should I stay away from it?

    Jen at August 22, 2008 10:49 PM

    Hi Jen,

    Bamboo flooring has only been around for a rather short time (since 1993), so who really knows what will happen in the long run in a desert climate? I haven’t personally heard of complaints like this. I would think it should be fine. Chances are, you’re buying somewhat locally, so it’s already going to be in this ‘desert area’ for a while before you bring it home. then of course, you should acclimate it to your home before laying it. This is something you should do with any wood flooring before it’s laid, just to prevent issues associated with shrinkage/expansion due to temperature and humidity.

    The Flooring Lady at August 23, 2008 12:27 PM

    Jen,

    My wife and I live in a high desert climate and have bamboo floors, going on three years now. We were told the same thing but proceeded anyway. Our approach was to acclimate the bamboo flooring for several months to make sure it had dried out throughly before laying it on our radiant heat floors. It was a bit inconvenient going through that process but has been worthwhile.

    We have liked the floors enough that I’m going to install them in my office this winter, after they have acclimated to the office space.

    Randy — Colorado at August 23, 2008 3:55 PM

    I’m researching bamboo flooring these days, which is how I found this site. But also I found on a manufacturer’s site that they recommend applying a coat or two of water-based polyurethane on their pre-finished floors. Their logic is that it adds a bit more protection than their finish coats and fills in the gaps caused by the beveled edges of each plank.

    They say that at the very least high traffic areas should get extra coats. And watch out for high heels!

    I see several people have wondered about that on this thread so wanted to let you know it’s a recommended practice, at least by one flooring company.

    Chris at August 25, 2008 4:06 PM

    Thank you Chris, and yes, I agree with the info you’ve found. The bottom line too, is to make sure that this isn’t going to void your warranty. Most manufacturers have certain products (or types of products) they recommend for this, which is why it’s important to give the flooring manufacturer a call or email to find out what’s recommended.

    The Flooring Lady at August 25, 2008 10:28 PM

    I was told not to use bamboo because in my humid area (Houston) the humidity would cause the floor to warp and buckle. Specifically if I didn’t keep my house temperature controlled and windows shut. Is this true?

    Kathy at January 31, 2009 8:49 AM

    Bamboo Flooring

    Bamboo is relatively new to the flooring industry. Compared to tile, stone, carpet, wood, laminate, and linoleum floors, it has lots to offer. It’s a renewable resource and good on radiant floor heating systems.

    Have you thought about using grass for your flooring? Well, you can do just that, if you select bamboo.

    Bamboo is grown in latitudes between 40 degrees south and 40 degrees north, mostly in Asian forests, though Central America has bamboo forests as well. It’s a grass with a tree-like or shrubby form and woody stems. The strength of the bamboo comes from its growth structure; it’s a hollow stem with rigid internal internodes, like a collection of solid-ended tubes, one on top of another, running the length of the stalk. Bamboo matures enough to use for quality flooring in five to seven years; Bamboo younger than five years old isn’t strong enough to make a long-lasting floor. After harvesting, a new batch of bamboo grass re-grows from the remaining rhizomes and «trunk». Not only is bamboo a fast growing resource, but it also takes much less space than a hardwood forest to get the same amount of flooring product.

    This flooring material may seem a bit unusual at first glance, but it can really be a great option for those wanting a hard-surface floor. The positives of bamboo flooring are numerous.

  • Fire, mildew, and naturally insect resistant.
  • Health issues (being a hard surface, it’s a good option for those who suffer allergies because it doesn’t harbor dust and dander).
  • It can be stained to match your decor.
  • It is a renewable resource, known for its hardness and durability.
  • Good on radiant heat floors.

    Negatives around bamboo are few, and mostly relate to preferences, not the material itself.

  • Noisy (being a hard surface, it reflects rather than absorbs sound).
  • Bleaches in intense, direct sunlight.
  • Construction (engineered versus solid material).
  • Short history in the market (it has only been manufactured as a flooring product since 1993, meaning we don’t have the history to tell us how it will wear in the long run).

    Bamboo is an engineered floor, with the processed grass strips layered and glued to make a dimensionally stable flooring product. It can be cut and glued horizontally or vertically, giving different looks and hardness results. And given its native climate where moisture ranges widely during the growing season, it can be used in places wood floors are usually avoided, like the in bathroom and kitchen and on radiant floors, because it is used to moisture fluctuations.

    Bamboo flooring’s hardness rating, usually gauged by ASTM 1037 (also known as Janko Hardness Rating) is higher than most wood floorings. According to ASTM 1037 tests, bamboo shows an average hardness of 1642, making it 21 percent harder than white oak and 13 percent harder than hard maple. Bamboo is amply hard enough to use as flooring. One example of its strength is illustrated by the fact it’s used for scaffolding in even high-rise buildings in China.

    Bamboo normally comes in two styles and two shades, though some manufacturers also make tinted floors. The styles include vertical and horizontal cuts. The horizontal, or flat grain, cut is the broad pieces glued side by side, and then several layers glued on top of each other to attain the 5/8″ thickness. Both show the «knots», but the vertical cut is narrow slices glued side by side to achieve a 3-6″ plank width (both style of construction have thick enough slices that repair and refinishing are readily done). The shade options you have are natural (a soft, golden blonde color) and caramelized, or carbonized (a rich, caramel or amber color). Flooring of horizontal grain with natural shade is the hardest of the bamboo products, followed by vertical grain with natural shade, then horizontal grain with caramelized shade, and finally vertical grain with caramelized shade being the least hard, but still harder than white oak.

    The question of whether bamboo can be used with radiant floor heating systems is discussed a lot. My analysis is that given its durability and being engineered, that if the radiant temperature in the heating element (electric wire or water pipe) doesn’t exceed 105 degrees (85 degrees being what my plumber subscribes to), there’s no problem installing acclimatized bamboo on a radiant floor. Your flooring installer can help you decide which installations style — floating, glue-down, or nailed-down — is best for your situation.

    Live dangerously and buy grass for your new floor. It may be the best option for you, given all that it has to offer, as your choice in a hard-surface floor.

    Comments

    We just bought bamboo flooring for our kitchen and I plan to install it this week. Can it be done without a nail gun? Or is it simply too hard to be done with a manual hammer?

    Arlene at August 5, 2007 4:55 PM

    To answer your «asked» question, I highly recommend a nail gun because it’s faster and easier than a hammer. It’s been a long time since I’ve seen wood floors laid with a hammer instead of a nail gun.

    An issue you didn’t ask about relates to letting the flooring acclimate before installing it. You didn’t mention where you live, but if you are in a dry climate, as I am, you’ll want more than a few days for the bamboo to dry out to match your climate. If you don’t, the wood will shrink in place as it dries, and that could cause cracking and splitting.

    Good luck. You’ll love your bamboo flooring.

    The Flooring Lady at August 5, 2007 5:06 PM

    Are some brands of engineered floating bamboo better than others? Do you have a recommendation? Thanks!

    RG at August 29, 2007 9:59 PM

    A designer in my area who’s chemically sensitive promotes Plyboo products to her clients. Her Plyboo floors are beautiful.

    I have Natural Cork bamboo floors. They installed nicely and look good. I don’t like the pre-finished surface though. If I had it to do again I’d go with an unfinished bamboo flooring material and finish it in place.

    The Flooring Lady at August 30, 2007 2:40 PM

    I live in a waterfront condo with concrete floors.Would bamboo be suitable and if so what type of installation would be recommended ?

    Thank you

    H G at November 23, 2007 1:30 PM

    As long as you acclimate the bamboo to your home then it would be a fine flooring for your condo. Be sure with the concrete floors to have a good vapor barrier to protect the bamboo from any moisture the concrete would want to wick.

    A vapor barrier can be provided through a film you lay on the concrete before installing the bamboo or the glue you use to glue it down. I am partial to the glue-down method.

    The vapor barrier company I like is Raven Industries .

    The glue I like is Bostik’s Best flexible urethane adhesive .

    Enjoy that bamboo!

    The Flooring Lady at November 23, 2007 2:36 PM

    Would like to take out carpet and refinish our floors in Colorado Springs house with wood floors. Due to relative cold weather am concerned about floors being too cold. Have been looking into cork floors but we have small children (high traffic) and antique furniture (heavy with wheels or thin legs). Will the low Janka rating of cork stand up to the weight of the heavy antique furniture? Colorado Springs has extremely arid/dry air, will the dry climate increase the flaking of the cork rendering it a poor choice for that area? If so what would you recomend instead? Also redoing floor in master bath (currently carpeted as it connects to the master bedroom without wall or door). Any suggestions there? Thank you!

    Lynn at November 29, 2007 10:06 PM

    Interesting you would ask a cork question on the Bamboo Flooring article. I’m going to answer this from both a bamboo and cork perspective, and the cork answer will be found on the Cork Flooring article.

    I also live in arid Colorado and have had both cork and bamboo flooring. I love them both. The cork, a defective batch, taught me a lot about flooring issues in Colorado. Let me share my bamboo lessons with you here.

    We have bamboo (we had cork at one time) throughout our home. You are right in wondering if it’s warm enough: even with in-floor radiant heat, the floor can feel cool at times, especially compared to a carpeted floor. But it cleans up so much more easily than carpet does.

    If you go with bamboo, my suggestion is to go with an unfinished product and finish it in place. That will let the T&G grooves that happen naturally between each plank be filled in and covered with the sealant. That keeps dirt and food particles from lodging between your floor planks.

    My bamboo floor has an aluminum-oxide UV cured finish that isn’t as durable as I would like. I can see all the marks left by the dining room chairs where they roll around — not my favorite look. I don’t think I’d have that issue with a finish put on in place after installation. I would use Diamond Coat Varathane polyurethane to finish my floors.

    The most important thing you can do for your wood is to let it acclimate to your house and climate before installation. It’s inconvenient, but open the boxes and plastic wrap so air can circulate around the boards, spread the packages about the areas to be floored, and let them dry out for several weeks. Bamboo is grown and manufactured into flooring in humid climates, so it’s that much more critical for the wood to dry out before being installed. The shrinkage that happens as it dries won’t impact your floor; shrinking in place (after installation) could cause cracks in the planks and separation between planks.

    Once the wood is dry, your flooring installer can check the moisture content, you should be able to proceed with your installation.

    Area rugs used on the bamboo floors will look great and give you the comfort you want, where you need it. The bamboo floor is so wonderfully easy to take care of and keep clean!

    And your friends and company will love the look of the bamboo flooring in your home.

    The Flooring Lady at November 30, 2007 1:52 PM

    Will bamboo hold up in a summer home where there is no heat on during the winter. (New Jersey where the temperature can drop to the freezing area) I have been told that it is not a good because of this.

    Kmg at January 19, 2008 5:06 PM

    I haven’t ever experienced freezing my bamboo flooring, other than my bamboo flooring scraps being in an unheated shed. I don’t know why bamboo wouldn’t hold up any differently than wood. Temperature extremes are hard on any natural material like bamboo and wood. But we use wood all the time outdoors — in fencing, decking, benches and steps.

    Bamboo flooring is engineered which adds dimensional stability to it. Before it’s made into flooring lots of the moisture of the bamboo stalks is dried out of it, but you still need to acclimate it to your location before installing it.

    Check with the manufacturer to see what they say about it, though they probably don’t know anything about freezing temperatures and their bamboo flooring. And then proceed according to your wishes and knowledge of what your warranty covers.

    The Flooring Lady at January 19, 2008 10:22 PM

    My wife likes the bamboo, but everyone at the flooring store today told us that it scratches easily. True or false?

    Chad at February 9, 2008 6:59 PM

    ) There is no black and white answer here. There are many variables impacting the situation you are talking about. To start, all natural materials can be damaged and some easily.

    The age of the bamboo when it’s harvested makes a difference as to strength and scratch/dent resistance; the older it is the sturdier it is. The way it’s processed will impact the sturdiness as well — too much carbonizing weakens the cells. Vertical and horizontal cuts also impact the hardness of the floor; horizontal cut is stronger than vertical cut. The hardest bamboo floor you can buy is a horizontal and uncarbonized (natural) that’s made from 7 year old grasses.

    After experiencing bamboo flooring that was pre-finished I would not go that route again. I’d finish my flooring in place so the gaps, nail holes and imperfections arising from installation can be filled and sealed. I believe that will make the most durable and easy to care for bamboo floor.

    Now it’s up to you to decide if the bamboo is for you. It receives compliments from everyone who sees it. It’s easy to care for. I love mine.

    The Flooring Lady at February 10, 2008 7:46 AM

    We had carbonized bamboo installed and finished by a professional in October, by November the boards begain to separate from one another. They same installer removed the flooring in Janauary and installed new bamboo two weeks ago and again a few baords have sepearted from each other. The isntaller had installed brazillian cherry throughout our home a few years ago without issue. Is this typciall of bamboo?

    Rob at February 12, 2008 8:09 AM

    I’m guessing you didn’t acclimate the bamboo to your home first. Given the humid climate bamboo is grown and manufactured in you can imagine how much moisture it holds. Even if you live in a humid area of the U.S. it’s not as humid as where bamboo came from. And your home is even drier than the general climate of your area.

    I harp on how important it is to acclimate bamboo flooring (cork too) before installing it. I live in an arid region and it took months for my floor to get dry enough to install — and I had it stacked outside the packaging indoors during most of that time.

    If you want to try it again be sure to open the bamboo packaging and let it sit in the areas you’ll be installing it until the hygrometer reads something like 10-11% (or see what your installer recommends as a reasonable moisture content for your area). Then you can have it installed with no problem. My bamboo floor has been installed for two years now and I’m not having any separation or buckling.

    The Flooring Lady at February 12, 2008 8:43 AM

    Thank you for the note the installer delivered the unfinished bamboo to our home 21 days befreo install. The bamboo was removed from any packaging and straps at delivery.

    Rob at February 12, 2008 9:25 AM

    Then a few other ideas include the bamboo may not have old enough when it was harvested. Or the flooring is defective from a manufacturing perspective. Or, 21 days wasn’t enough time for your bamboo to acclimate.

    Who is the flooring manufacturer? Have you contacted them about this problem?

    The Flooring Lady at February 12, 2008 9:46 AM

    Bamboo flooring doesn’t seem to have the natural temperature warmth of wood flooring. Is there any truth in that?

    Allen at April 3, 2008 11:01 AM

    I don’t even know what that means. Can you tell me more?

    The Flooring Lady at April 3, 2008 11:08 AM

    Your original comment was under Best Kitchen Flooring. Read this comment thread to find what I like best for my suggestions on sealants.

    Maple is a beautiful wood for flooring (and cabinets), but it’s not as sustainable a product as bamboo. Your environmental position and preference for which looks better in your home will be the determining factor. And the same sealant recommendation applies to maple as bamboo.

    The Flooring Lady at April 10, 2008 8:41 AM

    I was thinking of using Bamboo in a remodeling job of my family room. I live in Florida and have been told that the humidity may cause a problem. What do you think?

    Cindy at May 18, 2008 10:02 AM

    The only reason I can think of as to why somebody would tell you that is because sunlight does bleach it, but that doesn’t have anything to do with humidity. Anybody ever give you an actual reason *why* it’s not suitable for humid areas? Is it possible that a salesman was trying to steer you towards a more expensive flooring?

    The Flooring Lady at May 18, 2008 10:54 AM

    I had to laugh when I read your post: I was told I bamboo was better in humid areas and I shouldn’t put it in my arid-region home.

    My thought is that bamboo grows and is generally processed in humid climates and would be great in similar climates. Mold could be an issue, but then it would be with almost anything!

    I love my bamboo floor (but I’d get unfinished flooring if I had to do it again so I could have a smoother finish without the seams between boards). My one suggestion is to be sure to let it breathe outside the packaging — inside the rooms it’s going to be installed in — for several days, if not weeks, before putting it on the floor so that it’s had time to adjust to your living space.

    Anonymous at May 19, 2008 7:35 AM

    I live in a very dry, desert climate, and have been told that bamboo flooring will crack over time because of the humidity difference? Should I stay away from it?

    Jen at August 22, 2008 10:49 PM

    Hi Jen,

    Bamboo flooring has only been around for a rather short time (since 1993), so who really knows what will happen in the long run in a desert climate? I haven’t personally heard of complaints like this. I would think it should be fine. Chances are, you’re buying somewhat locally, so it’s already going to be in this ‘desert area’ for a while before you bring it home. then of course, you should acclimate it to your home before laying it. This is something you should do with any wood flooring before it’s laid, just to prevent issues associated with shrinkage/expansion due to temperature and humidity.

    The Flooring Lady at August 23, 2008 12:27 PM

    Jen,

    My wife and I live in a high desert climate and have bamboo floors, going on three years now. We were told the same thing but proceeded anyway. Our approach was to acclimate the bamboo flooring for several months to make sure it had dried out throughly before laying it on our radiant heat floors. It was a bit inconvenient going through that process but has been worthwhile.

    We have liked the floors enough that I’m going to install them in my office this winter, after they have acclimated to the office space.

    Randy — Colorado at August 23, 2008 3:55 PM

    I’m researching bamboo flooring these days, which is how I found this site. But also I found on a manufacturer’s site that they recommend applying a coat or two of water-based polyurethane on their pre-finished floors. Their logic is that it adds a bit more protection than their finish coats and fills in the gaps caused by the beveled edges of each plank.

    They say that at the very least high traffic areas should get extra coats. And watch out for high heels!

    I see several people have wondered about that on this thread so wanted to let you know it’s a recommended practice, at least by one flooring company.

    Chris at August 25, 2008 4:06 PM

    Thank you Chris, and yes, I agree with the info you’ve found. The bottom line too, is to make sure that this isn’t going to void your warranty. Most manufacturers have certain products (or types of products) they recommend for this, which is why it’s important to give the flooring manufacturer a call or email to find out what’s recommended.

    The Flooring Lady at August 25, 2008 10:28 PM

    I was told not to use bamboo because in my humid area (Houston) the humidity would cause the floor to warp and buckle. Specifically if I didn’t keep my house temperature controlled and windows shut. Is this true?

    Kathy at January 31, 2009 8:49 AM


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