Bamboo can be a menace in the garden. It can quickly overtake your yard, creep into neighboring properties, and resist attempts to remove it. If you cut into the strands and flatten them, then exposure to the sun and precipitation will cause them to break up and shred apart. It doesn’t seem like this natural material would make for a good flooring option, but it is a material known for its toughness when the strand woven technique is used to create planks or boards.
Strand woven bamboo flooring provides a richness and depth to a living space that is usually reserved for the most expensive and exotic hardwood products. You can adopt the look of pine, oak, or walnut flooring with this option thanks to the various surface treatments it supports. Because the natural material weakens during the manufacturing process, manufacturers subject the bamboo to incredible forces, then coat them with resins to create an option that can withstand heavy traffic for years to come.
Ordinary bamboo looks like a pressed product where the grain and patterning are distinctive to the product. It might be stained in different colors, but you know what the source material was for the flooring. If you choose strand woven bamboo flooring, then you are choosing an item that is pressed into logs and cut into boards for fabrication. It is so strong that it can even be turned into plywood.
List of the Pros of Strand Woven Bamboo Flooring
1. It is just as durable as traditional hardwood flooring.
Because the manufacturing process is what leads to the durability of strand woven bamboo flooring, you will want to look for the best products in the industry to install in your home or at your business. Since it can be challenging to determine the strength of the boards at the retail level, it helps to look at the warranty offered by the producer to see how good the floor will be. The options that come with a substantial guarantee tend to hold up the best during installation and with heavy wear and tear.
2. Some manufacturers produce exceptionally hard bamboo flooring.
Third-party testing of strand woven bamboo flooring products indicates that the average hardness rating on the Janka scale is about 3,000 pounds. If you compare this strength to that of the exotic hardwoods that get turning into floors, the manufactured bamboo runs about 1,500 pounds less.
Although strand woven bamboo flooring is almost three times more durable than the conventional bamboo planks that were first introduced in the 1990s, the high-impact areas of your home might not manage the average product in this category – unless you choose Cali Bamboo. This manufacturer compacts 30% more bamboo into each plank, giving their product a 5,000-pound rating.
3. Strand woven bamboo flooring is very easy to clean.
You can clean a properly finished strand woven bamboo floor with a mop and mild soap. Then give your flooring an opportunity to dry completely before walking over it again. The sealing works well to keep the moisture out. Avoid using a steam mop on the product unless you have no other option because the heat from the cleaning process can adversely impact the seals, glue, and resins that are part of the installation. You can then use a polishing compound to create a shine as you can with exotic hardwoods, laminates, and similar products.
4. It provides a clean and contemporary look for the home.
If you prefer modern décor, then a strand woven bamboo floor is perfect for your home or business. It complements most styles without overwhelming the visual aesthetics of your interior design. The installation of this product is easy as well since it installs like most other hardwood products. If you are familiar with the floor installation techniques for planks of oak or pine, then this material installs the same way. That’s why it is very DIY-friendly if you already have some general contracting knowledge.
5. You can refinish strand woven bamboo flooring in some situations.
Because you are using a product that is already compressed into logs and milled into a usable product, there is the possibility that you could refinish your strand woven bamboo flooring when it develops too much wear and tear over time. The thickness of the boards is what will determine if this advantage is possible. You will follow the same processes to sand, stain, and refinish as you would with hardwood or softwood, giving each room a refreshed look for a minimal investment.
6. The price of bamboo flooring is a significant advantage.
Although you need to avoid bargain basement products when shopping for strand woven bamboo flooring, you will discover that the cost of this material is very competitive when compared to most hardwoods or premium laminates. The best options in this category are about $8 per square foot if you want to purchase the best. Look for non-carbonized natural bamboo that went through the correct harvesting and manufacturing processes for the greatest strength. Even without the compression, it will be as durable as red oak. When you consider the specific manufacturing techniques to create this product, you’ll have a final result that can last for years to come.
7. Bamboo is a sustainable material.
The world record for the fastest growing plant on our planet belongs to a species of bamboo. It can grow up to 35 inches per day, with some varieties reaching a height of over 130 feet when it matures. Even in the United States and Europe, there are varieties that can reach up to 98 feet. Using a single cane as an example, you can reach a height of more than 25 feet in less than 4 weeks once it sprouts from the ground. That is why it is such a sustainable product. Although there are some concerns about farmers clearing forests to plant bamboo, the constant growth cycles can help to remove carbon while creating usable products for flooring, furniture, and more.
Even if you harvest only mature bamboo, it takes 3-5 years to create the hardness desired for flooring. If you used hardwood trees for your planks instead, it could take more than 20 years to achieve a similar result.
List of the Cons of Strand Woven Bamboo Flooring
1. Cheap strand woven bamboo flooring scratches easily.
Although you can find several varieties of strand woven bamboo flooring available in the market at different price levels, you’ll want to purchase the best quality option that your budget can afford. Avoid the cheapest items at all costs because the floor will scratch easily with even minor wear and tear. You’ll discover that dings, marks, and other forms of damage can happen with minimal force as well. This issue can happen with premium products too, but the risks are much lower with a higher capital investment.
If you have pets at home that will be walking on this floor, then expect the finish to start scratching in 12 months or less if you purchase an entry-level product.
2. There can be moisture absorption issues with this flooring.
Since this source material is closer to grass than trees in its composition, you will find that strand woven bamboo flooring tends to absorb water more readily than other materials. If you live in a geographic area that experiences a lot of humidity, then you will find that there is a significant risk of damage to your installation. You will need to clean up any water spills that occur on the floor right away to avoid expansion too. Although it is a tough and resilient material because of the infused resins, the nature of the product still remains after manufacturing.
3. The look of the new floor may not work with all décor options.
One of the significant benefits of strand woven bamboo flooring is that it can work with most interior design options. The variety of stains and colors that are available in the industry today allow you to replicate almost any natural wood look for an affordable price. Notice that “most” is not the same as “all.” If you are not the biggest fan of a contemporary look for your home environment, then the qualities of this floor might not suit your needs. You’ll want to bring home samples of each color and style whenever possible to see what you like and the options that you know will not work.
4. There are still limitations on the tonal shades that you will receive.
There are several color and tone varieties from which to choose with strand woven bamboo flooring, but it is not an all-encompassing product. The manufacturers set the different shades that are available for your interior design. You will find options that replicate the look and feel of maple, hickory, or oak, but the real thing might be a better tonal solution for the needs of your home or business. Local options might be limited as well, requiring you to order from an online manufacturer or waiting for additional shipping time for your customized order.
5. Bamboo flooring emits volatile organic compounds.
Even though strand woven bamboo flooring is sustainable because of the fast growth rate of this natural material, the manufacturing processes that create the floor planks can be damaging to the environment. The stalks of the grass are shredded and sliced, then pressed into logs using pressure, heat, and resins. Those adhesives can emit VOCs into the air over time after you install the flooring. The amount of exposure you receive depends on the quality of the craftsmanship from the manufacturing process.
Since most strand woven bamboo flooring options come from China, the quality of inspection for this disadvantage may be minimal. That is why you might want to consider a product from Teragren, which is based in Washington State. This manufacturer tracks and controls their entire process.
6. There is a lack of a grading system with strand woven bamboo flooring.
Retailers like to sort lots into different material grades, but there is not an independent system in place the rate the quality of bamboo materials for floor manufacturing. That means it can be a challenge to spot the best strand woven bamboo flooring at your local store. It helps to read consumer reviews of the planks that you’re interested in purchasing to see if there is any worthwhile information about the durability and strength of the floor you want. If you base your decision on what the store’s sorting process happens to be, then you might be paying a premium price for an inferior product.
The pros and cons of strand woven bamboo flooring can help you to determine if this material is the best option for your home. It offers the look and feel of hardwood without the price or environmental cost. There can be quality issues to consider with cheaper products, and it may not be the right option for some households with pets. If installed correctly, it usually gets the job done.
Brandon Miller has a B.A. from the University of Texas at Austin. He is a seasoned writer who has written over one hundred articles, which have been read by over 500,000 people. If you have any comments or concerns about this blog post, then please contact the Green Garage team here.