Many people are moving towards using green products in their homes, such as energy efficient appliances, CFL light bulbs (you know, the funny looking curly ones), and more efficient windows to keep energy costs low. You can go green with your flooring options also. A very popular trend in the past few years has been bamboo. While bamboo is a grass, not a wood, it is stable and strong and a good alternative to actual hardwood floors. Bamboo is fast growing and has an extensive root system that creates new bamboo shoots and requires no replanting!
Before you run out and choose bamboo because it is green (not the color, but we do have a Blue Ash if you’re looking to make a statement), take a look at the different types and what may be best suited to your lifestyle. Similar to hardwood, bamboo can still scratch and dent. The more mature a bamboo is, the harder it is. When looking at a brand, check the age of the bamboo. Different brands have different harvesting schedules. Specification sheets should give you this information.
Below are some terms you should understand before purchasing your bamboo. These can help you choose the floor that is best for your needs.
Horizontal – Horizontal bamboo describes the direction of each of the bamboo pieces used in making the flooring. The pieces of bamboo are arranged in a horizontal direction, lying on their widest edge, and joined side by side with adjacent pieces. Horizontal bamboo is considered to be slightly harder than Red Oak.
Vertical – Vertical bamboo has the pieces of bamboo arranged in a vertical direction, standing on their narrow edge and then pressed together with other pieces. Vertical bamboo is also slightly harder than Red Oak.
Strand – Strand bamboo is neither vertical nor horizontal, but woven pieces of fibrous bamboo strips. These strips undergo high-pressure heat pressing that produce a heavier bamboo product. Strand bamboo is significantly harder than horizontal and vertical bamboo.
Natural – Natural bamboo is just that, natural looking. Nothing has been done to the grass itself so it is a lighter, brighter color. Most natural bamboo will be pretty consistent in color.
Carbonized – Carbonized bamboo is not a stained bamboo but rather it has gone through a process where the bamboo is steamed or boiled in a giant bath, heating up the sugars. The sugars turn a darker, richer color that permeates the entire board throughout. Carbonized bamboo can vary slightly in color depending on how long the bamboo was treated and how much sugar the bamboo has in it. If you choose carbonized bamboo, you or your installer may want to work out of several boxes at a time in case there are any color variations between boxes.
Tiger Strand – Tiger Strand bamboo is strand bamboo that has pressed natural and carbonized bamboo together, creating stripes similar to that of a tiger’s, hence the name.
There are also stained options if you are looking for a lighter or darker option compared to the natural or carbonized variety. Bamboo is a unique and green flooring option that can really make a statement in a room. Beautiful, green, unique, what more do you need in a floor?