Sure, it’s easy; buy Bamboo, then pat yourself on the back and say “I just saved the earth”. Nothing is that easy. If you really care about the environment and want a durable floor then you will have to really dig for information. One easy rule, if the information is not readily available then the Bamboo is probably not manufactured to standards that make it a truly “green” product. *
Unlike North American hardwood that is cut and milled, Bamboo is processed. It is crushed and then glued together. In that process there are many pitfalls.
Carbonized Strand Woven Bamboo
Natural Strand Woven Bamboo
- Maturity: Why is Bamboo the number one complaint item for denting and scratching? Because, it has been harvested to early and the Lignum has not matured to a hardness that makes it “hardwood like”. Bamboo grows very fast but it needs maturing and often in the rush for profits, many manufacturers harvest too early. A minimum of 6 years to 10 years is the required time for Bamboo to mature. Bargain priced Bamboo is always a clue.
- Chemicals: Formaldehyde is used in the adhesives that bind the Bamboo into flooring. There are strict manufacturing tolerances for the use of adhesives, but unfortunately there are many Asian mills that do not adhere to these standards. If they do, that information is generally published on the box on in a brochure. Ask. A mill that follows the rules will generally be proud of it’s adherence to these standards.
- Natural or Carbonized: In the normal Bamboo, the natural is harder than the carbonized. With Strand Woven Bamboo, both colors are commercially rated.
- Satisfaction: Because of the high complaints, FloorsForLess.com avoids the regular bamboo in the horizontal or vertical grain look. Plus, many of these standard Bamboos only come in 36” planks. We think it makes too much of a “brick” like appearance. We prefer the Strand Woven Bamboo. This is a Bamboo that is totally shredded so there are very few of the “knuckles” left in the board. The great benefit of this Bamboo is; it is commercially rated and also comes in 72” boards! Strand Woven Bamboo, the very best.
Do your research, when done right, Bamboo is a floor you can be proud of and will deliver long lasting beauty and satisfaction.
One final cautionary note. Due to the extreme hardness of Strand Woven bamboo, this floor will cup (swell) and shrink more than American species. Wisconsin has some of the most extreme climate changes, from hot and humid to very dry. Wood, especially very hard wood reacts to these climate changes.
*If you are buying Bamboo for the it’s enviromental impact, there are better choices out there. Norh American Hardwood and specifically Wisconsin manufactured hardwoods are even better “green” products! (see our section under Green products North American Hardwood.