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What are the Advantages of Bamboo Wood Floors?

Article Details
  • Written By: D.M. Abrecht
  • Edited By: Lucy Oppenheimer
  • Last Modified Date: 23 May 2018
  • Copyright Protected:
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    Conjecture Corporation
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Long a staple building material in East Asia and the tropics, bamboo is becoming popular in the West because of its attractive appearance and low environmental impact. Bamboo wood floors are typically made from Chinese bamboo. The bamboo is cut into thin strips, glued together, then stained and laminated.

Stylish

Comparable in attractiveness to hardwood floors and other natural flooring options, bamboo wood floors are especially complimentary to Asian-inspired decorating themes. Color varies across a broad natural spectrum, from near-white to dark brown, and two grains are available, depending upon how the strips of bamboo are glued together. Vertical-grain flooring displays the narrow edge of the bamboo, while horizontal-grain flooring displays the wider edge, including the plant's familiar "knuckles." These options make bamboo wood floors a versatile option for interior decorators. It's also stylish, with the popularity of bamboo booming in recent years.

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Environmentally-friendly

Bamboo, a readily renewable resource, is touted by environmental groups as a "green" flooring option. Unlike linoleum or carpet, it's a natural wood, not a petroleum product. It can be harvested in as little as three years, while other hardwoods and softwoods can take decades to mature. Bamboo is also a hardy plant that can be grown with very few pesticides or fertilizers and in a wide variety of environmental conditions. Some have raised concerns about the sustainability of practices employed by bamboo growers, the amount of energy required to make and ship the flooring, and the use of formaldehyde in the manufacturing process. On the whole, however, bamboo generally considered to be one of the most environmentally friendly building materials available.

Strength

Bamboo wood floors can be as hard or harder than hardwoods like oak or maple, but they may also be softer — denting easily — so buyers should exercise vigilance and test samples of the product before buying. Factors that affect the hardness of bamboo flooring include the amount of time that the wood has been aged, the conditions in which it was grown, and the color. Darker flooring is created by heating and steaming the bamboo in a process called caramelization, which also results in a softer floor. Bamboo wood floors require little cleaning or maintenance, and will last as long as hardwood if properly maintained.

Versatility

Bamboo flooring is less likely to be damaged by insects than traditional hardwood floors. It is also typically more resistant to water damage. For this reason, they are often recommended for kitchen and bathroom floors over hardwood options. Bamboo wood flooring is also usually easier to cut and install than hardwood, and can be installed over a wider variety of sub-floors.

While flooring options vary widely in price, bamboo floors are typically comparable in price to other hardwood flooring options.

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