In the mid nineties bamboo
flooring started gaining popularity in Southwest Florida. Unlike the rest of the nation where
bamboo is still relatively new, our local decorators and designers
jumped on the rage large scale.
|• The Rage
|• Durability Oversold
|• Bamboo Types and Colors
|• What Does Horizontal and Vertical
|• What are People Buying?
In our early days nobody knew anything about the product,
just the unique appearance. Bamboo
became fashionable filling larger high end homes on Marco Island to
Sanibel. Later bamboo floors were being installed virtually
everywhere. The price was comparable to hardwood, but the quality
was always a mystery. To our amazement some earlier versions were
actually crudely hand finished in China. It was obvious with the
tell tale being a buildup of finish on the ends and the ease of
Since the introduction of bamboo floors in the
USA, it has always been tagged with false pretenses. We don't know
where it originated, but too many uninformed salespeople followed
hardness factor to an extreme. Perhaps because bamboo is widely
used in Asia in all types of building materials.
Bamboo floors are durable to some extent, but
it does depend on the brand. Since the mid nineties, the number of
bamboo brands has exploded. We cannot conceivably count the number
on the market today. What hasn't kept pace is the number of better
quality brands. Sure there are low priced brands everywhere. Our
suggestion; if you're seeking a bamboo floor, do
not use price alone as the determining factor.
There are basically two different types of
"natural" bamboo colors. One being the natural state which is yellowish in color,
while the other is caramel, or coffee colored. Depending on
the brand, there are other names. The darker colored types are not
stained, but "steamed" in the early production process that brings
out the richer colors.
What Does Horizontal and
For some reason it still confuses
us as well, but actually is quite simple. Solid bamboo is made up of
strips that are glued together..either horizontally (sideways) or
vertical (up and down). They have different appearances as seen on
the right. We find the vertical to appear busier than the horizontal
and sales prove they
are not in demand as much as the other.
Horizontal offers the
characteristic of "knuckles" (known as nodes in the industry) in the
flooring. They are the formed as "rings" during the growing process and visible
on the outer portion of the bamboo tree.
What are People Buying?
More people choose the darker bamboos but
often don't realize how soft they actually are. Although we try not
to steer people towards concentrating on the
hardness factor of
flooring, we feel it is important to note the darker colored bamboos may not
be a suitable choice unless you have a careful household and pay
attention to care and maintenance
procedures. On the other hand, natural bamboo products
tend to show dirt quite readily, but are more durable.
There are solid bamboo hardwoods and
engineered. Yes, by looking at both one would think they are both
engineered. However, horizontal solid bamboos are often called 3
ply, but they are a solid product with no cross ply construction,
common with engineered products.
Many today are choosing engineered or cross
ply bamboo because of
some inferior bamboos hitting the markets that tend to show
distressing in the form of
cupping after installation.
Some higher quality bamboos hitting the market
over the years include Greenwood
Bamboo, who offers a selection of stained and hand scraped
products along with engineered and cross ply. More recent, Hartco by Armstrong has introduced a line of
unique bamboo in a
click together type installation. You can even find bamboo floors in
a laminate appearance.