Bamboozled by Bamboo?
Know what to look for in a quality bamboo floor
There are a lot of misconceptions about bamboo flooring and a plethora of choice on the market. There are different ages of bamboo maturity and subsequent differnt hardness ratings, different factory finishes and different manufacturing processes. Making for a very confusing selection process. Many customers end up disappointed when they purchase a bamboo floor that is not high quality and scratches very easily--sometimes before installation is even complete.
So what qualities should you look for? Most bamboo flooring is made from bamboo pieces glued together in alternating layers and then milled intro flooring pieces. Ideally, the bamboo should be at least four to five years of age in maturity so that it achieves a hardness rating of at least 1,400 psi on a Janka scale (harder than most oak flooring); some flooring is being made out of only 2 to 3 year old bamboo that is not fully mature and much softer on a hardness scale. Some customers have even blogged that they can easily sink their fingernails into the flooring!
Standard Bamboo is more of a newcomer to bamboo flooring choices but is substantially stonger.
The moisture content (MC) should be 8% or less and consistent throughout the flooring boards. Consistency and even kiln drying is the key. There should be minimal color variation so that the installers don't have to worry about drastic color paterning. The glues and finishes should be of high quality, contain at-least one layer of a high-quality aluminum oxide for increased scratch resistence and durability, and have low to no VOCs or formaldehyde. Some flooring has only one or two layers of polyurethane, while others have five to six coats. Look for flooring that passes the strict CARB standards of California.