Bamboo is an optimal material for flooring. It’s an excellent alternative to hardwood with a lot of advantages for homeowners. A beautiful organic material, bamboo can be quite the centerpiece of anyhome. Its natural light-colored finish and smooth texture brightenup the whole house.
A renewable source, bamboo is a fast-growing grass that has little to no impact on the environment.
From being eco-friendly and safe, durable and more affordable, bamboo lumber is produced in two different ways: conventional or classic bamboo and strand woven bamboo.Classic horizontal utilizes the flat grain and classic vertical bamboo uses the end grain for flooring. Strand woven is a unique process that heats and compresses bamboo fibers into a solid and strong material. Both types can be utilized for flooring, but have distinct differences.
This article will lay out what strand woven bamboo flooring is, how it is produced and why this type trumps the classic bamboo flooring. First, read on to learn about where and how bamboo is grown.
A tropical grass is eco-friendly
Bamboo is naturally grown in tropical and sub-tropical climates throughout Asia and South America, mostly. Technically grass, bamboo can grow up to 3-feet in just a short 24-hour period. The stem of bamboo looks and acts like wood. It reaches maturity in about 3-4 years, while hardwood trees can take 10 to 100 years. The flooring industry relies on bamboo for its efficient growth, renewability, and availability.
Ancient bamboo weaving
Ancient Chinese communities utilized bamboo for weaving baskets, sleeping mats, clothing, hats, building materials for shelter, toys for children, and more. They created strips from bamboo stems and wove the strands together to create what they needed. Ultimately, the flooring industry got the same idea, producing strand woven bamboo flooring.
Strand Woven Bamboo Flooring
Strand woven bamboo is the way to go when it comes to flooring. It is the most sought-after type of bamboo flooring. Considered the strongest bamboo flooring option, the harvested bamboo goes through a multi-stage production to create a high-quality floor.
Once the bamboo has been harvested, the bamboo stem is stripped, cut, and shredded into fiber strands. Some raw bamboo goes through a carbonization process in a high heat kiln. This is how the bamboo transforms from a light color into a darker brown. The carbonization of bamboo does decrease the hardness a bit.
After carbonization, the bamboo fibers go through another extreme heating process and then are adhered together with a low VOC glue. Afterward, these fibers are firmly compressed together to form solid blocks.The manufacturer uses machines to mill the blocks into flooring planks, adds layers of protective lacquer, and constructs the click fitting systems (Uniclic or tongue and groove systems).
Sometimes floor producers will smooth the surface or remove any imperfections on the bamboo by sanding it if needed. Finally, the flooring will receive a finishing treatment or lacquer to seal the bamboo.
Today’s strand woven bamboo flooring is available in several color options depending on the flooring company’s catalog. Strand woven bamboo has the look and feel of popular hardwood flooring made of oak, walnut, and cherry. Producers also offer a range of shine from high glossy to more matte.
Carbonized strand bamboo displays rich shades of amber, which can adapt to any interior style. Modern, Asian-influenced, traditional, and eco-chic are just a few ideas where darker bamboo flooring excels. The lighter natural strand bamboo color schemes well with most home styles, as well. Home designers love the light bamboo for beachy vibes, the popular cottage core styles of today, and contemporary trends. And, homeowners who seek a highly customized look can opt for floors featuring tiger stripes.
Another reason strand woven bamboo is popular for the modern homeowner is for the ability to refinish the floors. Strand woven bamboo floor planks that are 9/16-inch in thickness can be refinished up to 4 times.
Strong and sustainable
Strand woven bamboo has three times the hardness and durability of classic bamboo flooring. Scored by Janka as the highest-ranking wood in strength, bamboo wins in durability. Stronger than oak. The Janka Hardness Scale is the way the lumber industry measures the hardness of the wood in terms of how many pounds the wood can take in impact. Furthermore, when presented with the option of classic bamboo or strand woven, it is recommended to select strand woven. It is stronger and more stable than the classic version.
Ideal for the busy home where family members and pets are moving through the home at a high rate, strand woven bamboo is a tough material that can handle everyday wear and tear. However, homeowners need to be aware that while bamboo is water-resistant, it is not impervious to water damage. This means if there is a spill in the kitchen or bathroom, it is best to dry the area as soon as possible.
Strand woven bamboo also stands up to bugs and pests.
Homeowners can rely on strand woven bamboo flooring for a lifetime. Most flooring manufacturers offer warranties on this flooring for up to 25 years, given that the floor has been properly maintained.
Manufacturers provide extensive how-to-install flooring instructions including the wet lay or dry lay method. Most planks utilize the Uniclic Locking System.
Strand woven bamboo flooring cannot be laid upon radiant flooring.
Maintenance is essential
Bamboo, in general, is an easy material to care for. Like any natural material, strand woven bamboo does have its requirements.
- Dust floors with a soft mop or soft cleaning pad like Swiffer.
- Using a soft-bristle broom, sweep away debris and dirt.
- Wipe up any liquid spills immediately to avoid any future damage. Use a soft cloth or cleaning pad and let it air dry.
- Avoid cleaning waxes, and products with oil, polishes, and vinegar.
- Use specialty bamboo floor cleansers without flooding the floors with the cleaning solution
- It is okay to use a wet mop weekly, but be careful not to flood the floors.
- Never use a steam mop.
- To restore luster and shine, it is recommended to refinish the floors.
Expect to pay about $5 to $15 per square foot. This estimate includes professional labor and materials. For the DIY-er, strand woven bamboo flooring will cost approximately $3 to $5 per square foot.