A Buyer’s Guide to the Different Types of Bamboo Flooring – Part I

As an environment-friendly and renewable resource of flooring, bamboo is a popular choice among many homeowners. If you’re planning to install bamboo flooring in your home, it’s important that you the options available to make the right choice. There are various grain types, colours, textures and installation methods to choose from when it comes to bamboo flooring.

Grain Types

There are 3 types of bamboo flooring grain choices. Each caters to different requirements.

  1. Strand-Woven Bamboo: This type of grain is created from bamboo strands that are usually treated as waste strips and aren’t used for horizontal and vertical types of grains. The stalks are trimmed into strips and the skin is removed. Then, they’re boiled in boric acid to get rid of starch and vermin. Next, the strips are shredded and processed into a pulp. An adhesive is then mixed with this pulp and the mixture is transferred into a mold. They’re then heated and pressurized to form solid bars. When the adhesive dries completely, planks and tiles are sliced out of these bars.

Strand-woven bamboo is twice as hard and durable compared to horizontal and vertical bamboo.

  1. Horizontal Bamboo: This type is created from strips that are dried and then boiled to get rid of the starch, sugar and insects. After the boiling process is complete, the strips are dried in a kiln. With the help of resin, the strips are then adhered in a horizontal angle revealing the wider surface of the strips.

The horizontal grain pattern shows the growth rings and natural knuckles giving it a more natural look. At least three layers of bonded horizontal flat strips are adhered together to produce a thick plank that’s fit for flooring purposes.

  1. Vertical Bamboo: It’s created by gluing the narrow edges of bamboo stalk strips in a vertical angle. The rest of the manufacturing process is the same as the horizontal bamboo. However, vertical bamboo displays narrow grain patterns without the natural nodes and rings like the horizontal

Colours

Each colour option has its own properties although durability and hardness don’t depend on it.

  1. Natural: Bamboo has a natural light blonde colour. This type comes with no added stains or colourants. The beautiful colour matches with almost all wall colours and home décor items.
  1. Stained: Natural bamboo is stained with wood stain to produce stained bamboo. It changes the natural blonde colour and is available in a wide range of light and dark shades. Although stained, the natural patterns and textures are visible, preserving its natural appeal.
  1. Carbonized: Carbonized bamboo has a rich dark colour which is obtained by boiling/steaming the bamboo strands for an extended time at extreme temperatures. It results in the caramelization of the sugars present in the plant that imparts a dark hue like coffee. However, the shades of carbonized bamboo can vary depending on the duration of boiling.

Carbonized bamboo is softer than the other types as it loses some of its strength during the boiling/steaming process. When used as flooring, it requires tough finishes to keep it protected from scratches and dents.

  1. Direct Print: This type comes with prints of the patterns that can be seen on hardwood flooring. It’s a good choice for homeowners who are fond of the appearance of hardwood like oak or maple but also want the durability of bamboo floors.
  1. Tiger: This is a combination of natural and carbonized bamboo. Strips of both types are pressed together creating unique stripe patterns like that of a tiger.

When purchasing bamboo flooring, you should only opt for high-quality materials from a reputed manufacturer.  In the next post, we’ll discuss the different textures and installation types of bamboo flooring.

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