The Basics


Types of Bamboo Flooring


How Bamboo Flooring is Made


Bamboo Flooring History


Is Bamboo Right For Me?


About Bamboo Flooring


Installation & Care


How to Install A Bamboo Floor


How to Care for a Bamboo Floor


Bamboo: Hire a Professional or DIY?


Buying Help


Buying Checklist: Questions to Ask when Buying Bamboo Flooring


Bamboo Floor Buying Guide


The Janka Hardness Scale


Bamboo Resources


Bamboo Glossary


Bamboo FAQs


Bamboo Flooring DIY Videos



Types of Bamboo Flooring

When trying to decide on the appropriate type of bamboo flooring for a home, learning about the various grain types, installation types, and color and texture types will help with the decision making process. Each grain, color, and texture type will present décor issues while installation methods may impact convenience and cost, as well.

Grain Types

When it comes to different grain types of bamboo, there are three main choices: horizontal, vertical, and strand-woven. Each one has different characteristics that will help buyers decide which type of bamboo to purchase and install in their home or business. The grain type to purchase depends greatly on the overall look the buyer is trying to achieve.

Horizontal Bamboo

lc horizontalbambootype Types of Bamboo Flooring

Horizontal bamboo refers to planks that are placed next to one another facing in a horizontal direction. They are attached to each other this way before being pressurized and finished, randomly displaying the knuckles, or growth rings, of the stalk.

Vertical bamboo

lc VerticalBambooType Types of Bamboo Flooring

Vertical bamboo refers to planks that are placed next to one another facing in a vertical direction. They are attached to each other this way before being pressurized and finished, creating a smooth uniform look.

Strand-Woven bamboo

lc strandwovenType Types of Bamboo Flooring

Strand-woven bamboo refers to bamboo planks that are made from the remaining strands of the stalk trimmed away from the long bamboo fillets. These are compressed together with an adhesive before being pressurized and finished. Strand-woven bamboo is twice as hard as horizontal and vertical bamboo.

Installation Types

Choosing bamboo flooring for your home or business based on the installation type first is a wise decision because some installation types are more complicated and thus more costly than others. There are a few different installation methods that can be used for bamboo, including a nail or glue down process, a glue-seam floating installation, and a glueless-click installation. Regardless of the installation type chosen, be sure to purchase more bamboo flooring than required to finish the job, to account for mistakes in measurement, imperfection in boards and future repairs.

Nail Down/Glue Down

This process is similar to installing a hardwood floor. Since the flooring is very hard, it is nearly impossible to get the nails flush with the flooring using a standard hammer. The use of special, specific tools for the job, including an electric hammer or stapler, is very important to the success of completing this job correctly. There are different installation instructions and guidelines depending on the sub-flooring the bamboo is to be installed over. DIYers that are very experienced in this area can install this type of bamboo flooring, otherwise it is best to have a professional install the flooring.

Floating: Glue-Seam

This kind of installation requires an underlayment to protect the bamboo from the sub-flooring material. You may require a moisture barrier as well. It is important to lay out the flooring before adding any glue adhesive, because with how quickly the adhesive dries, it will be impossible to separate the flooring planks and correct any mistakes after just a few seconds. It is best to lay out the complete floor design and go back in sections with the glue. This can be done as a do-it-yourself job, but for the inexperienced, it is best left to professionals.

Floating: Glueless-Click

The simplest of bamboo installation methods, the glueless-click method does not require any glue or nails, so it is easy for those new to floor installation to do. The planks simply click together and fall into place. For those who are looking to install their own flooring and do not boast a lot of DIY experience, this is the best way to do it. There should be no concern about whether or not the floor will come apart after the installation is complete because the pieces will fit together very snuggly. The finished product will appear much like the other installation methods.

Color Types

When it comes to color types, buyers have several options: natural, carbonized, stained, and direct print. Each one of these options has distinct properties about it to help homeowners decide which one to use. Regardless of which color type chosen, the strength and durability of the bamboo remains the same, with the exception of carbonized which is softer than the other types.

Natural

Natural bamboo has no colorants or stains added to it. It has a very light, blonde type color to it. This type of bamboo is easy to find and goes with most décors.

Carbonized

lc carbonizedbambootype Types of Bamboo Flooring

Carbonized bamboo allows for the sugars in the plant to caramelize because the bamboo is boiled for a longer period of time. The caramelized sugars therefore add color to the bamboo. Depending on the length of time the bamboo is boiled and caramelized, the shades of bamboo will vary. Carbonized bamboo is softer than other types of bamboo.

Tiger

lc tigerbambootype Types of Bamboo Flooring

Tiger bamboo is made using a combination of natural and carbonized strips, creating a unique “tiger stripe” pattern.

Stained

lc stainedbambootype Types of Bamboo Flooring

Stained bamboo is treated with a wood stain to change the coloring of the material. Stained bamboo flooring is available in multiple shades, from light, to dark. The variety of stain options makes it easy to find one that matches any décor.

Direct Print

lc directprintbambootype Types of Bamboo Flooring

For homeowners who want the appearance of another kind of wood – such as oak, cherry, or maple – while still having the other benefits of bamboo, direct print bamboo flooring prints the patterns seen on other hardwoods onto the bamboo before it is pressurized and sealed.

Surface Texture Types

For surface texture types, homeowners and builders have three main choices: smooth, hand scraped, and hand sculpted. Each one will provide a unique look. Look at various samples of texture types before deciding which one to use.

Smooth

Smooth bamboo flooring is made by machine and coated with several layers of sealant. It helps to keep a dust free surface that is easier to clean and recommended for those who suffer from allergies or hay fever.

Hand Scraped

lc handscrapedbambootype Types of Bamboo Flooring

Hand scraped bamboo flooring is scraped by hand to give the floor and aged, “antique” look. It offers a unique approach to bamboo flooring in appearance in a home or business, and is available in a variety of styles and colors. This texture option typically makes the flooring more costly because of the manual labor involved in its creation.

Hand Sculpted

lc distressedbambootype Types of Bamboo Flooring

Hand-sculpted bamboo flooring is similar to hand scraped, but provides a less distressed look. This kind of bamboo is also usually done by hand and made to look older, or antique, so it too, will cost more.

Related posts:

  1. Bamboo Flooring DIY Videos
  2. How Bamboo Flooring is Made
  3. About Bamboo Flooring

This Learning Center belongs to you. We invite you to contribute to it.

Have you got a question about what you've read here? Tell us about in the comments section. 

If you're an expert in the field, and see something that is inaccurate, tell us, and we'll make the correction. 

Also, if you think there is important information that is absent from any of these articles, please let us know!

{ 1 trackback }

Flooring Blog
May 5, 2014 at 10:34 pm

{ 25 comments… read them below or add one }

Gary January 7, 2011 at 9:17 am

I like the hand scraped bamboo but would realy like it in a dark hight gloss brown and rich. I would also like the flooring to be self installed without the use of glue or nail because it is going to be intalled on concrete. African walnut rose is one colour of choice.

James Komenda January 11, 2011 at 8:49 pm

Hi Gary,

Thanks for getting in touch. We do have several hand-scraped bamboo flooring options available, and I would be glad to arrange for you to be sent samples overnight so you can hold the product in your hand. The pictures online are representative of the product itself, but in my opinion it is always a good idea to get a sample prior to placing an order if you have the time.

With this particular style, if you are installing over a concrete sub-floor you will need to glue the product down in order to maintain the manufacturer warranty on the product. You want to use a 100% urethane based adhesive. The brand we carry is Complete Adhesive.

Let me know if you have any further quetsions and I will be glad to help out.

Elisabeth Cline March 17, 2011 at 10:49 pm

I’m interested in getting bamboo, but am wondering if I drop some oil paint on it, will it ruin the finish? Also, will my cat or dog scratch bamboo the same as our “engineered” hardwood? And finally, my bed is quite heavy, will it scratch the finish when we move the bed?

TC August 13, 2011 at 6:41 pm

We are renovating our home and looking to put wood floors throughout. After a couple of trips to a local flooring distributor, we chose bamboo. We specifically requested nail down installation, but found when we returned to pick up our order, the second (less than helpful) salesman had put our order in as quick click installation. Before we go through the hassle of return and exchange, we would like our biggest question answered – will this floating floor be noisy?

Julian Marcuzzi August 15, 2011 at 4:29 pm

This will depend on the type of underlayment that you choose to install over. If the underlayment you decide to use has an acoustical element to it, sound transfer/noise from walking over the floor will not be an issue.

Sandy Flor November 10, 2011 at 12:53 pm

IS THERE SO MUCH UPKEEP FOR BAMBOO FLOORING. WHAT DOES IT MEAN IF THE BAMBOO FLOORING IS CARBONIZED? WHAT ABOUT MAINTENANCE? WILL THE FLOOR
GET DULL OVER THE YEARS? PLEASE WE NEED TO KNOW BEFORE WE CAN DECIDE. WE
ARE VERY INTERESTED ABOUT THE BAMBOO FLOORING. THANK YOU SO MUCH.

Julian Marcuzzi November 10, 2011 at 6:23 pm

Bamboo flooring requires relatively low maintenance. When a spill occurs, clean it up quickly and the floors will be fine. The floors are not good in areas of excessive wetness such as bathrooms, patios, etc. Outside of that, they are low maintenance, durable floors.

When a bamboo floor says that is it carbonized, that is referring to an initial boiling process which brings out the sugars and essentially caramelizes the wood. This brings out a different, darker tone yet potentially makes it softer, unless it is strand woven. Strand woven bamboo produces one of the strongest, more durable floors there is.

As far as longevity of the floor, our bamboo floors come with a semi-gloss finish and UV protection. This will protect against fading over the years.

You are very welcome and I hope I have helped you make your decision!

Neil January 15, 2012 at 10:01 pm

How about off gassing, is there any with bamboo. I had new carpets put in 2 months ago and want to rip them out because I still can’t live in the place with the off gassing, which does not both anyone else who goes in there.
Thanks

Rodney Noriega January 16, 2012 at 5:45 pm

Hi Neil,

Our bamboo floors comply with the European E1 standard for safe levels of formaldehyde release emissions, which are stricter than those found in North America.

For our strand woven products, they are classified as “E0″ products which, by definition, is formaldehyde free. Any product that has less than 5 points per million for formaldehyde release emissions is conciered an E0. Any E0 porduct adheres to the strictest regulation in the world for release emissions.

In the general industry, if you are looking for bamboo, make sure they meet E1 or E0, or they comply with CARB (California Air Resources board) which is also a very strict requirement in California.

Rodney

Spowers January 27, 2012 at 4:38 am

Can bamboo we refinished like hardwood floors? If so, does this apply to all types of bamboo flooring?

Julian Marcuzzi January 27, 2012 at 5:02 pm

Hi,

All types of Bamboo Flooring can be refinished.

Once the material has been sanded, you would need to reapply the protective layer and any stain that was removed during the process.

Thanks

Lydia Marques January 28, 2012 at 10:04 pm

How does bamboo rate on the Taber testing scale? I am concerned with scratches as our dog hunts scorpions when they come inside our home.

Paul Sorci March 15, 2012 at 2:54 pm

Which type(s) of bamboo flooring is recommended for use over a hydronic radiant heated floor?

NJ Jones April 28, 2012 at 3:29 pm

I have 3 dogs and am moving into a new home soon. My oldest dog is blind and has become incontinent and urinates inside even if he’s just been walked. My fawn pug sheds. What is the best type of flooring for my situation?

Peter Baxter November 6, 2012 at 12:56 am

We have some water damaged stranded flooring, probably up to 400 mm long, board ends have become darkened, what are our options for repair. Board colour is natural ,will the staining be through the thickness?
Please advise

richard baur August 25, 2013 at 4:52 pm

Our cat is declawed in front but NOT in back. When she plays, she runs fast and jumps on a throw-rug for a ride across the floor. During her wind-up she digs in hard to get momentum therefore leaving scratch marks just like a dragster car. Will stranded, dark stained bamboo be damaged by this very unusual kitty play? Many thanks….am looking forward to hearing from you.

Henry chacon September 20, 2013 at 8:12 pm

Which type of bamboo flooring is recommended for cedar home and color.

Erich Buecking October 17, 2013 at 6:39 am

I am concerned about scratching… Some of the comments I have read about certain types of bamboo flooring claim that they got scratched up quickly… What would be the differences between the different types of bamboo flooring as far as which ones are more scratch resistant please? Please, if possible, list all the different types of bamboo flooring and rate them in order of softest to most scratch resistant.

- Thanks! – Erich

Erich Buecking October 22, 2013 at 3:34 pm

Ummmmm… ….. Learning Center People…

I notice lots of unanswered questions here….

Does anyone read this page anymore???

Denise February 12, 2014 at 5:00 pm

I want to know the best hardwood flooring that won’t scractch with dogs/

r. heuberger February 24, 2014 at 8:23 pm

I was wondering and hoping that the very light color of a natural bamboo floor might mellow and darken with age, like pine. Is that true? Thank you for your response.

charlotte April 3, 2014 at 7:56 am

I have oak floors. They are old and badly beaten with lots of nails. I want to know if I can have new flooring laid directly over this floor. I am interested in possibly having bamboo installed.

charlotte April 3, 2014 at 8:07 am

this is my second attempt at submitting my question….hummmm.

I want to know if new flooring can be laid directly over existing oak hardwood floors? The floor is in need of a good sanding, but has a lot of nails and patches.

I am interested in the possibility of installing bamboo. I have cats and dogs and people in and out all the time. In order to preserve the new wood, is it best to have people wear booties or walk around shoeless and would I also have to pad all furniture should I decide do have bamboo flooring installed?

Rob Jones April 7, 2014 at 10:26 pm

Hi Charlotte,

I think it’s possible to install a new floor over an oak floor. But, if it were me, I might consider looking for a flooring restoration company first to see whether or not I could get some value out of what’s already there. A professional restoration professional would know the best means of removing the nails, and sanding the floor in the safest and most efficient way possible. And you might get some attractive and vintage hardwood flooring you can be proud of at the end of it all.

As for your pets, footwear, and pads on furniture legs, it’s always best to clip nails, take shoes off at the door, and apply those pads respectively.

Thanks for your question!

June April 21, 2014 at 4:05 pm

I’m done with taking shoes off at the door. That is why we want hard flooring instead of carpet. Is there a Bamboo floor type that is resistant to everyday wear with high heels, shoes and old dogs ? How long could I expect the floor to look nice with shoes on – but no kids, no pets ??

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