When it comes to choosing eco-friendly flooring, bamboo is a perfect choice. Once considered a novelty, bamboo flooring has become popular among homeowners looking for both durability and sustainability. It’s a versatile and affordable alternative to hardwood flooring that doesn’t compromise appearance or quality.
But bamboo flooring comes in a wide range of options based on grain, colour, texture and profile. To find the one that best suits your needs, you must understand the differences.
Understanding the Different Types of Bamboo Flooring
Planning to buy bamboo flooring? To help you make the right choice, here’s our guide to the different types.
There are three varieties of bamboo flooring based on grain type: horizontal, vertical, and strand-woven.
- Horizontal Bamboo: This type is created from thin strips of bamboo placed and glued horizontally. The strips are dried and then boiled to get rid of starch, insects, and sugar. The knuckles, growth rings and stalk of the bamboo are visible on the planks to make the floor look natural. This is one of the most sought-after bamboo flooring varieties among homeowners looking for prominent grain patterns.
- Vertical Bamboo: As the name suggests, the planks are created by gluing the narrow edges of bamboo vertically. This gives a smoother and more uniform appearance to the flooring than their horizontal counterparts. Natural nodes and rings are replaced with narrow grain patterns.
- Strand-Woven: This variety is created by strands not used for horizontal or vertical flooring. The strands are dried, compressed and stuck together under high pressure. This style is stronger than horizontal or vertical grain bamboo because of the nature of its construction but gives a random grain pattern.
There are many colour choices available to complement your home decor, including natural, stained, carbonized, tiger and direct print.
- Natural: This type of bamboo flooring is a light blonde with no added colourants or stains. It matches all types of decor but best accentuates a minimalist home.
- Stained: This style features wood stains in a wide range of light and dark shades. The natural patterns and textures are visible, thus giving your floor a natural visual appeal.
- Carbonized: Rich brown in colour, this bamboo flooring is created by boiling the strands for a long time at extreme temperatures. The caramelized sugars add colour and give the bamboo a rich hue, with shades varying based on how long it is boiled. The one drawback is that it’s softer than the other types.
- Direct Print: This style is best if you want to mimic the look of hardwood as you can create an image of oak, cherry or maple. The look is achieved by printing the desired design on planks after they’re constructed.
- Tiger: This type combines carbonized and natural bamboo flooring which is pressed together to create unique tiger-stripe patterns.
There are three types of surface textures or finishes to choose from: smooth, hand-scraped and hand-sculpted.
- Smooth: Made with multiple layers of sealant coating, smooth bamboo flooring is. easy to clean. It also doesn’t accumulate dust so it is recommended if anyone in your household has allergies.
- Hand Scraped: Ideal for high-traffic areas, this durable bamboo flooring gives an antique, rustic look suitable for both traditional and contemporary settings. As it’s scraped by hand, it is expensive.
- Hand Sculpted: Similar to hand-scraped bamboo but with a less-distressed look, this texture is achieved by manually sculpting planks. This is the most costly option.
The method of installation, or profile, is another criterion to categorize bamboo flooring. It’s important to consider this factor when purchasing because the cost and ease of installation depend on it.
- Tongue and Groove: This is the traditional way to install both hardwood and bamboo flooring. Each plank has one long and one short side, with a protruding edge (the tongue) and a rebated edge (the groove). They fit perfectly so two planks can be joined together to create a flat surface.
- Nail Down: With this common installation method, planks are nailed directly to the subfloor. It is considered a fast and permanent method that requires professional installation. Warning: do not choose this profile if you don’t have a subfloor or if your home is prone to humidity. This is because nails can become loose with humidity-related expansion and contraction.
- Glue Down: Similar to nail down, glue down is a stable installation method where bamboo floorboards are glued to their base using a high-quality adhesive, thus ensuring sound and moisture insulation. Allow a significant amount of time for them to dry before you start walking on this flooring.
- Click Fitting – One of the easiest installation methods, click fitting is similar to tongue and groove. But instead of just slotting boards in place, the protruding piece ‘clicks’ and locks into place. Click-fitting bamboo flooring makes for an easy DIY project.
Bamboo is a versatile flooring material that’s durable, sustainable, attractive and easy to maintain. But to make the most of your flooring purchase, you must shop smartly. We hope this post has taught you differences between different bamboo flooring types so you pick the perfect one. Start your search by going through our collection of bamboo flooring at our stores in Toronto, Markham, Brampton and Stoney Creek.