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