Bamboo floor is a type of flooring made from the bamboo plant. Most bamboo flooring originates in Asia. Although bamboo is actually a grass, it has become a popular alternative to hardwood for flooring installation projects due to its physical similarities to hardwoods. It is strong and durable and resists insects and moisture. It is also a green flooring alternative because it is a highly renewable resource, growing to full maturity in only 7 years.
The hardness rating of traditional bamboo flooring equals or exceeds the hardness for more traditional wood floors. Softer, older styles of bamboo flooring have a Janka rating as low as 1180 (carbonized horizontal). Newer manufacturing techniques such as strand woven bamboo can be found in Janka ratings as high as 5000. Other wood flooring choices have comparable Janka ratings, such as red oak with a rating of 1290; white oak rated at 1360; rock maple with a hardness of 1450; hickory at Janka rate 1820; and Brazilian Cherry which has a rate of 2350. Due to the extremely high hardness rates of newer bamboo flooring, it has become a popular choice for commercial flooring installations and other places where high traffic is expected.
Bamboo floors come in two styles: traditional and Strand Woven. The traditional style is accomplished by gluing grass strips together side by side creating a vertical grain, or gluing strips on top of one-another creating a horizontal (flat) grain. Strand Woven style is a flooring innovation that involves boiling and compressing grass strips to form a solid piece of wood. The Arcade line of Strand Woven flooring is the strongest on the market today with a Janka Hardness Rating over 3000, as compared to Oak flooring at about 1300. This makes Strand Woven ideal for high-traffic residential and commercial applications.
- Both styles come in either the natural light-yellow tone intrinsic to bamboo, or a darker, caramelized tone which results from “vapor-ing” the wood in an oven that literally caramelizes the sugars in the bamboo, making the wood light to medium brown.
- Both traditional and Strand Woven flooring can be sanded and refinished several times over their lifespan. Both floors can also be nailed to a plywood sub-floor or glued directly to a concrete slab. You can even use bamboo flooring that is not adhered to the subfloor. They in fact work very well as floating floors. The Arcade line of bamboo floors is especially easy to install making use of a Unliclic locking HDF core. The Arcade line also feature milled and micro-beveled edges that emulate the beauty of traditional hardwood planks and exotic woods.