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The smart way to find your Tradie

Bamboo Floors

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Bamboo in technically a grass so is not classified as a ‘timber’ floor. However don’t be misled into thinking that it’s a soft option. Bamboo is an extremely hardwearing floor product and rates alongside some very hard woods. Bamboo is a renewable, sustainable resource that can be harvested much faster that other hardwoods. (every 5-8 years). The bamboo then shoots again and can be harvested once more in 5-8 years. Large amounts of bamboo can be grown in the same area where fewer hardwood trees could have been grown, sequestering more carbon (however there is still the possibility that old forest was cleared in order to plant the bamboo).

Termites don’t really like bamboo as it’s a grass, under normal circumstances they would much prefer an easier target like untreated pine.

Bamboo flooring has a number of colours and grades. From very pale ash selections through to warmer honey and mocha colours. Darker colours may have been carbonized in order to create the darker colour, generally this will soften the finished surface.

Installation

As most new houses in Perth have a concrete slab, the easiest installation is direct stick. This means the flooring is stuck directly onto the concrete. This also means the floor will not have the clacking/echoing noise of a float timber floors. Confirm your quote includes a moisture barrier as this is essential on a new concrete slab. If not you will need to have your concrete slab moisture tested to confirm that the levels are low enough for the floor to be laid, but considering the cost of your investment just insist on having a barrier done, better safe than sorry! If your flooring is exposed to moisture from the slab it will bow and cup. (also confirm that your bamboo has been properly dried for Perth conditions as this can also cause cupping due to expansion)

There is also the added choice between pre finished boards or boards that require sanding and polishing on site. Pre finished boards will be completed much faster than boards that require onsite sanding and polishing.

Also confirm how many times your boards can be resanded (3-4 times is normal), floors will need to be resanded anywhere from 5 to 15 year intervals depending on the level of wear and traffic. Check with your supplier what level of longevity is standard for their product. This will give you an idea of the lifespan of your floor.

There are three types of bamboo processing available

Vertical Grain Bamboo Floor

Vertical bamboo means the processed bamboo is compressed into a solid block with the grain running vertically, the block is the machined or sliced onto boards across the end grain (imagine a loaf of bread stacked vertically) this type of manufacture creates finished boards with smaller notches and fairly uniform finish

Horizontal Cut Bamboo Floor

Similar process to Vertical but the bamboo is laid horizontally and sliced along the length of the poles. This creates a finished board with a longer grain and larger notches. The finished look is more varied than vertical

Strand Woven or Compressed

Strand woven is where the outer strands stripped from the bamboo prior to manufacturing vertical and horizontal are woven or pressed together with a resin to create a solid board This process actually uses less glue than the other 2 options but check its an environmentally friendly one all the same. These boards are extremely hard wearing and can actually be used for commercial applications as well. This product is harder than both Vertical or Horizontal

There are two basic construction choices with bamboo floors. Both can be re sanded if required.

Solid 

This is where the flooring is manufactured in one of the above processes, the flooring is made entirely from a single solid machined piece of bamboo as described bove. The boards are usually about 96mm wide

Engineered 

This means the flooring is like a sandwich, the bread being made from compressed bamboo while the middle layer is horizontal bamboo (also called laminated). This means the board is structurally suitable to make wider boards (up to twice the width) without the risk of bowing or cupping.

Glues

You need to confirm the glues used to manufacture your bamboo flooring are as safe as possible. Urea Formaldehyde glues have VOC’s (Volatile Organic Compounds) that can continue to off gas once installed in your home which can be harmful to indoor air quality. At a minimum confirm that your floor adheres to the ISO (International Organization for Standardization) 9001 for quality control and the EMS (Environmental Management Systems) 14001 and ask if there is any further accreditation on the product.

Helpful Hints

  • Ask how many protective coats your pre finished boards have.
  • Is there any UV protection in the sealant

Related Topics

Timber Flooring

Tile Flooring

Carpets