Bamboo Flooring – is it any Good?

An appealing floor covering can make all the difference to a new home and dramatically transform an existing dwelling.

Bamboo is a sustainable an elegant choice amongst buyers looking for a pre-finished flooring solution. Its satin finished surface and stunning colouring are what gives the product outstanding visual appeal.

It’s no secret bamboo flooring is sourced from China and as with most products sourced from Asia there are always concerns around sustainability and durability.

Here are some of the facts about bamboo flooring that all consumers should know.

Manufacturing:

Mature bamboo is broken down into strands, boiled to remove sugars and starches and make it less appealing to termites as well as make it more stable. It is then kiln dried, combined with glue and pressed to give it superior denseness. Planks are profiled and coated with several coats of primers and lacquers to give it a durable and attractive finish.

Easy to install:

This is a selling point that may seem rife in bamboo flooring marketing, yet the fact is, it is true. Bamboo is predominantly sold in New Zealand as a floating floor system. There are no nails or glue required in installation, aside from glue in stair nosing. This means it can expand and contract as the house warms and cools without the splitting and cupping often experienced in solid timber flooring.

A floating floor is easily overlaid on top of an existing floor covering, such as lino or less desirable timber floors. Provided the existing surface is dry and level, a capable DIYer can remove the existing skirting, undercut door architraves, lay the flooring and reattach the skirting to attain a professional finish. A competent and experienced layer however can easily convert a large sized room within a few hours.

Durability:

Strand-woven Bamboo flooring is the hardest natural flooring material available. It is almost twice as hard as Kwila hardwood and has a tensile strength comparable to steel.

A good quality product will have a reputable coating system, applied by a renowned manufacturer and often supplied from Europe. This dramatically reduces the likelihood of scratching and the signs of premature wear during normal use. Yet there is no product completely immune from the effects of UV and the use of rugs and window tints, or simply positioning furniture in high sunshine areas will mitigate the risk of fading.

In the event something catastrophic were to happen to a bamboo floor such as a heavy object being dropped and denting the surface, a competent floating floor installer is able to cut out a damaged section and replace with a new piece.

Although Bamboo flooring is less susceptible to moisture uptake than hardwoods, it is still not a waterproof product and use in wet areas should be avoided.

Sustainability:

A reputable New Zealand buyer will have done their homework here. They will have visited the factory and know that the product comes from renewable plantations. Bamboo can be fully mature after 3 months, but a reputable company will not harvest until the plant is 5 – 7 years old and has attained its full strength capacity.

Compared to other species of hardwood that mature after 50 plus years it’s environmental impact is very minimal.

There are several species of bamboo, and the type used for flooring, Moso is not consumed by Pandas, dispelling the biggest myth that bamboo harvesting starves pandas!

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