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Board Construction of Bamboo Flooring

by Crystal Hosking – Hosking Hardwood Flooring Inc. © 2014, Copyright protected. All Rights Reserved.

As you may already know, bamboo flooring is considered a pretty "green" and environmentally friendly type of hard surface floor covering because it's made from a fast growing renewable resource. If you didn't already know, you can read more on the environmental impact of bamboo flooring here: Why Bamboo is an Environmentally Friendly Flooring Choice. This aspect of bamboo flooring is pretty attractive to homeowners looking to reduce their own impact on the environment.

Although grain patterns and bamboo coloring are important when choosing a specific bamboo floor to put into your home, bamboo flooring construction also plays a very important role. Construction of a bamboo board will dictate where it can go in the home and how it can be installed. When it comes to the construction of a bamboo plank, there are a few different options available.


Traditional Solid Bamboo Flooring

Perhaps the most widely known variety of bamboo is the traditional solid bamboo floor. Even though this standard bamboo construction is technically many strands of grass fused together, this type of construction is considered to be a solid floor and is usually available in either Flat (Horizontal) Grain or Vertical Grain. Read more about bamboo grain patterns here: Vertical Grain, Horizontal Grain and Color in Bamboo Flooring

The picture below shows a standard solid construction of bamboo flooring.

This particular sample shows a vertical grain pattern with a caramelized color. Solid bamboo flooring is constructed by cutting the bamboo stocks into slats. Once this raw material reaches the factory, the bamboo slats can either be left alone or the manufacturer can use a specific temperature of heat to "caramelize" the bamboo, creating a beautifully warm light brown color. A low VOC adhesive is then added to the slats of the bamboo and a hydraulic press is used to create fused blocks of bamboo. How the slats are layered with each other before the adhesive step determines whether a flat grain or a vertical grain is produced. Individual bamboo boards are cut from the blocks, milled and then either finished with an Aluminum Oxide finish (resulting in either a natural or caramelized color) or they are stained and then finished with the Aluminum Oxide.

Traditional solid bamboo flooring can typically be nailed, stapled or glued down (check the specific manufacturer's installation instructions) and are approved for installation on or above grade (no basements).


Solid Strand Bamboo Flooring

One of the newest bamboo constructions is called "strand" and it's currently headed straight to the top in terms of trendiness in the bamboo market. The pictures below show a standard tongue and groove solid strand bamboo plank alongside a solid strand bamboo plank featuring click locking edges and ends.

When creating solid strand bamboo flooring, a different process is used in the factories than used to create standard traditional bamboo flooring. Once the bamboo slats are brought in from the forests, they still go through a heating process if the caramelized coloring is desired; but then, instead of simply fusing the bamboo strands together, the bamboo strands are shredded into a pulp like material. This allows the low VOC adhesive to soak more thoroughly into the bamboo, creating a denser material before being pressed into bars and then cut into individual boards. You can even feel the difference when holding a piece of traditional solid bamboo in one hand and the same size piece of solid strand bamboo in the other. The strand bamboo piece is significantly heavier. The higher total density makes strand bamboo much more durable than standard bamboo products and most domestic wood species when it comes to indentation depths.

Along with the durability aspect, the visuals offered by solid strand are huge in drawing in homeowners. Since the bamboo slats are shredded prior to being fused together, you're not going to get the traditional vertical or flat grain patterns. See and read more about the different solid strand colors available here: Bamboo Flooring Color and Style.

Typically, solid strand bamboo flooring with standard tongue and grooves (pictured above to the left) can be installed by either nailing down or stapling down on or above grade areas of the home. The solid strand bamboo collections featuring click lock technology (pictured above to the right) are meant to be floated (no glue necessary) and can be installed in virtually any room of the home, finished basements included.


Engineered Bamboo Flooring

When engineered hardwood flooring started to become more and more popular, bamboo manufacturers took note and started making their bamboo products available in engineered constructions. The picture below shows an engineered bamboo floor with an HDF core, strand wear layer and click lock tongue and grooves in the color Brindle.

The milling of the wear layer of an engineered floor is pretty much exactly like that of the traditional solid bamboo or the solid strand bamboo (it depends on what the wear layer visual is). The raw material bamboo strands are prepared, fused together and then cut into wear layers to be fused to either the cross-ply backing or HDF core with click lock. The wear layer thickness on an engineered bamboo floor will vary from brand to brand and from product to product. Read more about wear layers at: All About Wear Layers - Engineered Flooring.

As mentioned before, engineered bamboo products can have either the standard tongue and grooves for nail, staple or glue down installations or they can feature click locking technology for a glue-free floating installation. Read more about floating floors here: All About Floating Wood Floors. Many homeowners love the strand click locking collections, as you get all the durability of a solid strand bamboo floor in an easy click locking application that can go pretty much anywhere in the home --- perfect for DIY-ers!

Engineered hardwood flooring was created to offer an option for homeowners that could be installed on any grade of the home --- on grade, above grade or below grade. This means you can enjoy real bamboo flooring in virtually any room in your house.

Ultimately, construction of a bamboo floor is an important deciding factor on which specific bamboo product is perfect for you. Keep in mind that no matter what the construction of the plank, bamboo is a natural product and will scratch and dent if not taken care of properly. Get tips on preventing scratches and dents on your new bamboo floor here: How to Clean My Bamboo Flooring.

Hosking Hardwood Flooring only sells the best bamboo flooring brands. We are an authorized dealer of every bamboo brand that we sell and all bamboo floors that we send out are 1st quality. Browse through all the bamboo flooring choices available here:

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