Not all bamboo flooring is made in the same manner, and consumers should understand the difference before investing in this product. Strand woven bamboo flooring provides a distinct appearance and above average performance, due to the unique way this eco friendly flooring product is made.
How Strand Woven Bamboo Flooring is Made
This type of bamboo flooring starts with moso bamboo grown to a specific size--around 2.4 inches in diameter and around 1/10th of an inch thick. Manufacturers discard any moldy bamboo in this process and cut the raw stalks into uniform strips to allow for better adhesion. The bamboo strips are also pressed early on to ensure the fibers are broken apart and allow more space for glue or adhesive to penetrate the wood. They may also go through a boiling process to cut down on the natural sugars in the wood, providing a more durable, insect-repellant product. Some manufacturers opt to carbonize the strips in high temperature ovens, which also eliminates sugars, wax and other organic substances naturally found in the bamboo. Carbonized strand woven bamboo delivers a slightly lower Janka hardness rating. Some manufacturers actually do both to produce top quality flooring.
Adhesives and Milling
Once the bamboo strips have been processed, a large bundle are stacked together and dipped in or passed through a low VOC adhesive. Often this glue amounts to less than 10 percent of the total materials, and the balance is pure bamboo, a renewable resource grown in eastern nations like China and Japan. Once the adhesive has penetrated through the bundle, a cold press forms the stack into a single unit using thousands of pounds of pressure. The pressurized piece of bamboo timber is then steamed or dried to ensure stability and strength. Bamboo logs or timbers are then shipped to the mill to be cut into flooring planks. Tongue and groove remains the most popular style for strand woven bamboo flooring and most manufacturers offer this type of flooring in shorter lengths, no longer than 6 feet. However, you may find high quality stranded bamboo with a lock system for easy of installation. Sanding helps to remove any imperfections and the flooring planks are often conditioned for a period of 1 to 2 weeks to help avoid cupping and warping before the finish is applied.
The Finishing Touches
Strand woven bamboo flooring displays clear rings and generally comes in pale, natural colors similar to light hardwood. Carbonized strand woven bamboo is darker, with a rich, brown tone. In some cases, carbonized and non-carbonized styles are paired up to make a stylish, striped pattern. The tips of strand woven bamboo may need putty in order to produce a smooth edge, but this product is applied before the coating and goes unnoticed. Learning how strand woven bamboo flooring is made helps consumers to understand the difference between standard bamboo and this unique style. Both are environmentally friendly and create a natural, fresh feeling in your living space. Talk to your wood flooring retailer about the differences in quality, price and appearance before making your final decision.