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Bamboo Overview

Bamboo flooring

Styles - Construction - Maintenance.

Bamboo has gained popularity as an environmentally sustainable building material the world over. Actually a grass, it is manufactured into flooring as it reaches full maturity and hardness in 3-6 years. Our Morning Star bamboo is aged some 4 years.

Many style and color options are milled to create tongue and groove planks installed like hardwood floors. Although bamboo often contains less moisture than wood, it is important to allow all bamboo materials to acclimate to job site conditions before installing. Acclimation time for strand bamboo can vary from a few weeks, up to a month or more.      

Solid bamboo, like solid wood, continually expands and contracts in accordance with changes in temperatures and humidity. The porous and fibrous nature of bamboo and wood allow water to move through it with speed. Exposure to extreme temperature and humidity variations, bamboo and wood will show finish damages, hairline cracks, or warp which will ruin the beauty and value of your floor. Solid bamboo flooring can also be affected by these environmental fluctuations inside the home. To protect the beauty of the flooring, it's best to maintain the manufactures recommended climate year round.   


  • Radiant heating should not be used under bamboo flooring     
  • Bamboo is technically a grass and not wood. Its hardness can be between that of Heart Pine and Patagonian Cherry depending on how the bamboo grass is put together to make the planks. Manufactures provide finish wear warranties. However, no Manufacturer warrants scratches and denting.
  •  Strand bamboo can take three weeks or longer to acclimate, so plan your project accordingly to allow enough time for proper conditioning to the indoor climate.     

Bamboo Hardness

When tested according to the standards of the National Wood Flooring Association Test (Janka Ball Hardness Test), horizontal bamboo shows an average hardness of 1320 PSI as compared with standard northern red oak. The carbonization process of some styles can reduce the results to 1010 PSI, the strength of  American Walnut. Strand or woven products are substantially harder. However, because bamboo is a grass product, this true hardness value is relative to wood and should not be held to the same standards. Customers should also be aware that bamboo like all wood floorings can show signs of denting and surface scratching and is not covered by manufacture's warranty. Like a new car, floor maintenance and the prevention of surface scratching and denting is an on going process and becomes the responsibility of the customer once they take ownership of the flooring.

Construction types;

Common construction of bamboo is horizontal, vertical or Woven Strand.

  • With horizontal, the pieces are arranged and laminated side by side flatways. With the vertical type, the slats are stood upright on edge and then laminated.
  • The first colors that were introduced were carbonized and non-carbonized. The result were a natural, amber, brownish color as well as a yellow based color. The brownish amber color is achieved by pressure steaming the bamboo, which creates a darker color through carbonization.
  • More recently, colors ranging from rich reds to mochas and blacks are available.

Strand or woven bamboo is created from waste strips of horizontal or vertical cuts and are coated with resinous glues and compressed into boards using heat, then milled to create tongue and grove planks. The strand woven process significantly increases the overall density of the material when compared to other bamboo flooring styles.

Tiger Strand

Strand or woven

In addition to the styles available, bamboo flooring is available in two colors, natural and carbonized. These colors are descriptors of what occurs during the manufacturing process. To create a carbonized color, bamboo is boiled for long periods of time until the material darkens. Natural bamboo flooring is boiled only enough to remove the starch and sugar in the material, but still retains its blonde color.


  • Like hardwood flooring, bamboo floors need to be swept or vacuumed (without a beater bar) regularly to keep dust and dirt away. Dust and dirt can scratch the finish of the floor.
  • Mats should be placed at every entrance to keep the dirt from entering your home.
  • Spills should be cleaned up immediately. Spills that sit too long can penetrate the floor and permanently stain the floor.
  • To avoid invalidating your warranty, be sure to check to see if a specific cleaner needs to be used. These cleaners can be recommended from the manufacturer.
  • Rugs that are non rubber backed should be used to avoid discolorations on the floor.
  • Chair and furniture protectors should be used to protect the floors. Fabric or felt types are recommended. Casters should be removed and replaced with felt floor protectors when possible.
  • Because sunlight can fade bamboo or any wood floor, furniture and rugs should be rotated periodically. Rotating the furniture and rugs will produce a more even color. Use of window coverings also helps protect floors from sunlight.
  • High heeled shoes can permanently damage bamboo with dents.
  • Like the damage high heels can do, dragging heavy furniture or other items can permanently damage bamboo floors.

Technical & Installation 02/2016