Bamboo Flooring is a Smart Choice
For today’s cost-conscious consumer, the new and improved bamboo flooring on the
market is hard to beat for both price and performance, Consumer Reports found.
In fact, some bamboo products beat out some of the best hardwood floors on the
market for wear and dent resistance, according to the magazine’s August 2009
Companies such as US Floors, Dansk, EcoTimber and Teragren are
part of an industry trend toward strandwoven bamboo. Produced in the traditional
manner, bamboo strips are layered and glued together, but strand woven takes it
up a notch. While it is also made of pressed bamboo strips, woven bamboo is a
high-density material that is extremely hard and can be recommended for high
-traffic areas in commercial and residential applications.
-A number of productshave hit the market in the last year with improved finishing processes and adhesive emissions, and several suppliers have moved toward urea formaldehyde
– free manufacturing processes. Bamboo flooring has also skyrocketed in
popularity in recent years due to perceived environmental benefits. Considered
more renewable than trees, it grows quickly and can be harvested every three to
five years. Bamboo floors are harder than many hardwoods and can last as long as
50 years. While it is biodegradable and can be used for fuel, bamboo is also
associated with higher energy costs because it is transported from Asia. Bamboo
also has an aesthetic story. With advances in technology, mills are now able to
provide a vast array of looks, which are attracting retailers and consumers in
the common desire to beautify the home and create a more natural lifestyle. Many
bamboo suppliers now offer a variety of colors through staining that matches the
flooring to hardwoods used in cabinetry and furniture. The staining process
begins with flat grain, natural planks that are coated with water-based,
solvent-free stains along with an aluminum oxide finish. Some add scratch
-resistant polyurethane as part of the finish for easier care and durability.
Aside from stains, other trends include handscraped, distressed or rustic. Some
companies have gone so far as to use reclaimed bamboo. Since bamboo comes from
Asia, the product is usually manufactured there through a partnership with U.S.
mills, which monitor the process to ensure the floor meets U.S. building
standards and codes. By offering an engineered construction, retailers and
installers now have more options. The flooring can be nailed, glued down,
floated and isolated from the subfloor to prevent
contact with moisture.