Bamboo floors are manufactured from the bamboo plant. The majority of today's bamboo flooring products originate in China and other portions of Asia. The species of bamboo used for flooring is commonly known as "Moso".
Different forms exist. Each varies in their manufacturing processes and differs largely based on economic viability and local preferences.
The most common form, more common in Southeast Asia is to simply use thinner bamboo stems and cutting them as flat as possible. They are then 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. This results in better air circulation especially during the warmer summer months.
Manufactured bamboo flooring commonly found in North American markets on the other hand is highly processed. The bamboo is split and flattened, before being laminated together with glue under high pressure.
Bamboo floors are typically made available in planks. Known for its resistance to insects and moisture, bamboo flooring has made a considerable impact in the North American marketplace. Its popularity is also rising in Europe, Asia and other parts of the world with increasing awareness.
Despite being technically a grass, bamboo is highly durable and sturdy. As far as flooring goes, it is 10% harder than red oak. The two major colors are natural (similar to beech) and carbonized (similar to oak). The process of steaming bamboo material under a controlled pressure and temperature is called carbonization, in which bio-organisms and sugar breaks down, and the color of the material changes into brownish. The natural and carbonized bamboo floors are typically referred to as solid bamboo, although in fact the structures are layered, similar to a plywood.
There are several other type of structures of bamboo floors. One of which is commonly known as strand woven bamboo, which aimed to achieve strength and stablility. And the Fused Fiber Floor (F3) or Gemplex bamboo provides certain appearance patterns to achieve designers decoration effects.
It is available in two variations: vertical and horizontal-grain orientation, providing two very distinct looks. In the vertical grain, the individual joints in a bamboo cane are hard to discern, resulting in a consistent coloration and even grain. In the horizontal-grain orientation, each individual joint is clearly visible. Though these two options differ in appearance and offer customers more visual choices, they offer the same strength characteristics.
As a grass plant, bamboo grows at rate much higher than trees, bamboo reaches maturity in just 5-6 years. It is therefore considered eco-friendly highly renewable source of material. Bamboo flooring has gained popularity with the green building council and others. Typically each plant or tree can reach maturity in five to six years whereas other more common hardwoods used for flooring can take upwards of 50 years and more.
Answered on 1/17/2013 by Tech & Install