Go Green

Bamboo floor is an attractive alternative for flooring because of its physical similarities to hardwoods. Bamboo floor manufacturers and sellers promote its strength, durability as well as resistance to insects and moisture while having the added benefit of being eco friendly.

Manufacturing Process

Different forms of bamboo flooring exist. Each varies in its manufacturing process and differs largely based on economic viability and local preferences.

Most Common Type of Bamboo Floor

The most common form, particularly in Southeast Asia, uses thin bamboo stems that are cut as flat as possible. They are cut to similar lengths and can be stained, varnished, or simply used as is. They are then nailed down to wooden beams or bigger pieces of bamboo stems. This form results in more space between each bamboo stem; flatness and tightness is not emphasized. This technique is usually used on stilted houses, resulting in better air circulation especially during the warmer summer months.

Manufactured Bamboo Floor

The manufactured bamboo flooring commonly found in North American markets is highly processed. Bamboo flooring is typically made by slicing mature bamboo poles or culms into strips. These culms are crosscut to length and then sliced into strips depending on the width desired. The outer skin and nodes are removed. To remove starch and sugars the strips of bamboo are boiled in a solution of boric acid or lime. The bamboo is then dried and planed. The two major colors are natural (similar to beech) and carbonized (similar to oak). If a darker color is desired the bamboo will go through a carbonizing process of steaming the bamboo under controlled pressure and heat. The bamboo will change to a brownish color. Carbonized bamboo is softer than the non-carbonized variety. The carbonizing process can reduce the floor’s final hardness significantly, rendering it softer than some pines and softer than more common red oak. Most bamboo flooring uses a urea-formaldehyde (UF) adhesive in the lamination process. Though the use of UF resins, which emit volatile organic compounds (VOCs), is harmful to indoor air quality, bamboo flooring uses a relatively small amount compared with other materials, such as particleboards. Bamboo flooring products that avoid formaldehyde use are available, including some listed in the GreenSpec Directory. The panels are then heat pressed to cure the adhesive. The cured boards will then be planed, sanded, and milled. Finally an ultraviolet curing lacquer is applied to the boards.

Manufactured bamboo floors are typically made available in planks with either vertical- or horizontal-grain orientation. Bamboo flooring may also be classified as Vertical and Horizontal. In vertical bamboo floors, a vertical plank will have each of the component pieces stood vertically on their narrowest edge and then press laminated side to side. The effect is a lined, almost uniform look to the surface of the finished floor plank. Horizontal bamboo floors have individual slats that are arranged in a horizontal direction, on their widest edge, and then joined side by side with adjacent pieces using a high pressure laminate system. The look of the finished horizontal surface is one where the characteristic nodes of the bamboo are randomly visible.
Locking bamboo flooring is the easiest to install. Individual flooring planks have interlocking joints that click precisely into place. By combining plank alignment and color a lot of different styles can be produced.

Green Characteristics

Bamboo floors have also gained a reputation as an eco-friendly, highly renewable source of material. Compared to wood it grows much faster because bamboo is a grass not a wood. Moso Bamboo is the primary species used for the manufacturing of flooring and plywood. Moso bamboo can grow up to 47 inches in 24 hours and 78½ feet high in 40 to 50 days. It takes about 3–5 years for bamboo to reach full maturity. Traditional hard wood floors can take 20 – 120 years to mature.

This was taken from Wikipidia.com