Bamboo Floors, Hot or Not?
Bamboo flooring has become a craze lately. People want it because of its beautiful finish, biodegradability to reduce carbon footprint, the renewability of bamboo resources, low price, and more.
Types of Bamboo Flooring
Horizontal Bamboo Flooring: This is the bamboo floor that looks like bamboo floor. Strands are formed into sections, and sections are laid horizontally, producing the unique “knuckle” effect that lets you know this is bamboo.
Vertical bamboo Flooring: Bamboo stalks are laid out vertically and joint together. Typically, 19 strips of bamboo make up one vertical bamboo board. Vertical boards look more linear and are considered less durable than the layered, horizontal type.
Engineered Bamboo Flooring: The plant stalk is sliced into very thin layers, and then is glued to a backing material. A wear layer is installed over the top of the plank for protection, while the bottom of the tile also gets waterproofed. These floors are very strong and durable.
Stranded Bamboo Flooring: bamboo planks are made from the remaining strands of the stalk that is trimmed away from the long bamboo fillets. These are compressed together with glue before being pressurized and finished. Strand-woven bamboo is twice as hard as horizontal and vertical bamboo.
Some critics however disagree with the above sentiment and also believe that the cons of bamboo floors over weighs the pros! How you might ask? We went out and did some research on Bamboo floors and below are our findings:
Bamboo Flooring Pros
- Bamboo has a very rapid regrowth rate it reaches full maturity and hardness in about 7 years. This gives bamboo a point in the eco-friendly department.
- It is cheaper than regular hardwood flooring ( almost 50% the price)
- Bamboo flooring comes in a variety of interesting styles, colours and finishes.
- Easy to install, can be nailed, floated or glued
- Easily cleaned
Bamboo Flooring Cons
- There is not a Fair Trade certification for bamboo. Most bamboo used for flooring is made in China and other countries where labour practices are questionable.
- The vast majority of bamboos have formaldehyde binders in the adhesives. Most of the floors that are imported have high levels of toxins in them that do not meet Canadian guidelines.
- It can’t be locally sourced and lots of energy must be expended to ship bamboo flooring overseas from China!
- Bamboo flooring cannot be refinished, so a dented, scratched, or otherwise damaged floor must be replaced, which drives up the cost.
- The darker variety of colors results from a special heat treatment that further softens the bamboo.
- It can bleach in areas that receive direct sunlight
- It will stain, scratch and dent easily if not sealed properly
Tips when purchasing bamboo flooring
- Look for manufacturers that offer warranties against manufacturing defects, delamination, and premature wearing of the factory-applied topcoat finish.
- To avoid using bamboo floors with high levels of Foraldehyde toxocoty, make sure your floor is approved by the FSC ( Forest Stewardship Counsel of Canada)
- Check and see which manufacturers practice fair trade and are environmentally responsible
- Look for formaldehyde free processing and water based finishing