While bamboo has been used for countless products and projects for thousands of years, bamboo flooring only made its debut in the early 1990s.
Bamboo flooring is typically made out of moso bamboo. Bamboo, which is part of the grass family, grows and matures a lot faster than trees. Moso bamboo is harvestable in 3-7 years. In the first year, the moso bamboo stalks can grown 40-80 feet high. In the following years, the bamboo can grow to a diameter of 6-8 inches. When harvested, the bamboo roots are able to generate new stalks.
After harvest, bamboo stalks are first dried out and then sliced into strips. After, the strips are then bound with adhesive. There are three different ways in which the strips are adhered; each way has its own distinct look.
Horizontal Grain – Also known as flat grain. The bamboo strips are first lined up edge-to-edge and then adhered together. The “knuckles” where the bamboo stocks came together are visible.
Vertical Grain – Also known as strand or edge grain. The bamboo strips are line up side-by-side and then adhered together. The “knuckles” are not as noticeable, and this style creates a more uniform/consistent look.
Strand Woven – First, the bamboo stalks are shredded. Next, the fibers are compressed into logs. Finally, the logs are milled into floorboards. This is the densest of the three types of bamboo flooring, and also the most water resistant.
Bamboo is naturally a light blonde color, but it can be stained in a carbonization process. The carbonization process structurally weakens the material. Over time, the color will fade.
Pros of Bamboo:
Bamboo flooring is very durable, and it is easy to clean and maintain. If damaged, it can be sanded and refinished. Bamboo will expand and contract less than most hardwoods.
Cons of Bamboo:
Bamboo flooring can be scratched and dented, but most damage can be fixed. Although bamboo is resistant to moisture, it is still not suited for damp or humid areas.
You can learn even more about bamboo flooring here.
Other Types of Flooring:
If you’re not sure if bamboo is right for you, you can learn about other types of flooring here.