In recent times, bamboo has become a design favourite for flooring. Wooden flooring has been a popular option for residential and commercial spaces, but the cost factor can be a concern. This is where bamboo flooring can make a real impact in terms of cost, as well as aesthetics and functionality.
It is said that bamboo is one of the fastest-growing plants in the world. Once you cut a bamboo plant, it can grow back to the same height in the short span of 5 – 7 years, making deforestation less of a factor.
So the next question is… what exactly is bamboo flooring?
Types of Bamboo Planks
These floors are manufactured using strips or strands of the bamboo which are cut, dried and processed into flooring planks.
- Vertical bamboo flooring is where strips of bamboo are glued vertically to form planks.
- Horizontal planks have the strips glued horizontally, making the bamboo grains more prominent in appearance on the surface than the vertical ones.
- Strand woven is where the strands are woven together using machine locking under extreme heat and pressure to form the planks. These floors are available in click-lock or floating planks with an underlayment. Although the horizontal planks have a beautiful grainy appearance, stranded woven planks are more durable, resilient and hardwearing in terms of functionality. It’s said that a plank of stranded woven bamboo is two to three times as hard as an oak flooring plank. This makes it highly recommended in commercial spaces such as hotels, offices, restaurants, gyms etc, where there is a greater footfall.
Most of the bamboo floorings are naturally toned in light or yellow hues. However, the darker tones can be achieved through staining or carbonisation, where the planks are subjected to high temperatures. You can also use the ‘hand scraping’ method to bring a distressed look to the bamboo flooring.
Pros and Cons of Bamboo Flooring
- Bamboo flooring is known to be one of the most affordable flooring options.
- Bamboo is known as organic and sustainable, making it an eco-friendly alternative to carpets, laminated flooring and tiles.
- It’s an ideal choice for commercial and residential spaces in terms of style. It’s natural tones, variety of colours and finishes make it aesthetically versatile for any space.
- In terms of maintenance and upkeep, it is water-resistant, easy to mop, sweep and clean, and in case it loses its shine, a quick retouch and repolish will have it looking as good as new.
- Bamboo floorings are easy to install compared to many other flooring options.
- Although bamboo is water-resistant, it is not 100% waterproof. So don’t install in extreme water prone areas as this can lead to distortion and swelling.
- Bamboo can be installed in fluctuating and humid temperatures but extreme humidity can result in planks shrinking. Therefore, it’s best not to install this flooring outside.
- Although it is a hard-wearing floor covering, you may still find scratches and dents to the surface if you do not look after it properly.
- The manufacturing and glueing process involves the use of chemicals. Check to see whether the planks are free of VOC paints and formaldehyde.
- Although the carbonisation process gives a variety of stains, it makes the plank soft and unstable.