What is a Bamboo Floor?

Harriette Halepis

Bamboo floor is a type of flooring that is derived from the bamboo plant. The vast majority of bamboo flooring comes from China, and it is often referred to as Moso flooring. In order to create a bamboo floor, bamboo plant stems are cut flat and layered. Often, these stems are stained or varnished in order to create a glossy effect.

Bamboo stalks.
Bamboo stalks.

Most bamboo floors are not composed entirely of bamboo. Instead, cut bamboo stems are often nailed or glued to larger pieces of wooden flooring. Pure bamboo floors consist of bamboo stems that have been nailed to larger sections of bamboo stem. Generally, bamboo floors are available in horizontal or vertical patterns, which refers to the way that the bamboo has been secured to its support system.

Bamboo floors typically are not made entirely of bamboo.
Bamboo floors typically are not made entirely of bamboo.

Installing a bamboo floor is quite simple to do. Since locking bamboo floors include small sections that snap together, these floors can be installed quickly and efficiently. Often bamboo floors can be installed by homeowners without the help of professional contractors. Price-wise, bamboo flooring tends to fluctuate from manufacturer to manufacturer, though the average price for bamboo flooring ranges from $2-$8 US Dollars (USD) per square foot.

Vertical bamboo planks include pieces of narrow bamboo that have been tightly placed next to one another. Vertical bamboo floors have a uniform look that is dissimilar to horizontal bamboo planks. To create horizontal planks, manufacturers must glue or nail stems in a horizontal manner. This is often achieved by placing bamboo stems on the widest part of the stem. Horizontal bamboo flooring lends itself to the natural look of the bamboo stem, since each stem is highly visible.

Color-wise, bamboo flooring is usually available in two basic colors. Natural bamboo floors are pale in color, while carbonized bamboo floors resemble dark oak wood. Carbonized bamboo floor has been steamed at a high temperature in order to release the natural sugars contained within the bamboo. Once the sugars have been released, the bamboo turns a darker color creating the desired oak look.

Bamboo is highly resistant to allergens, bug-free, durable, and an eco-friendly choice. A bamboo floor is often considered an environmentally friendly floor, since the bamboo plant is a renewable source. Still, there are some concerns surrounding the production of bamboo flooring. While the plant itself is eco-friendly, some argue that the deforestation of the plant has a negative impact upon wildlife. In addition, the glues that are used to glue bamboo to wooden boards often contain various carcinogens.

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