Bamboo Flooring – 5 Things You Should Tell Your Customers

By Ben Nystrom, 10/20/11

Environmental responsibility is quickly becoming one of the most important features consumers look for when searching for new wood flooring, and the industry has done pretty well keeping up with the trend. One of the most popular products in the green flooring trend is bamboo. It’s easy to see why – bamboo is technically a grass, and it can be quickly and efficiently grown and harvested. Bamboo flooring is also available in different forms, from solid bamboo flooring to engineered flooring to strand-woven. Yes, bamboo is certainly gaining in popularity, and for good reason. But there are still a few things about bamboo flooring that most consumers don’t know and should. Here are five of the most important points to stress to customers when they are considering bamboo flooring.

1. Bamboo flooring will expand along its length.

Hardwood flooring installers often leave space along the sides of boards to allow for expansion of the wood. Bamboo flooring, however, can sometimes expand along its length as well. If this type of expansion is not accounted for your customer may end of with warped or buckled floors.

2. It’s not as hard as you think.

Janka hardness is one of the most traditional forms of determining how durable a hardwood floor will be. But because bamboo floors are made of many different bamboo fibers bound together by adhesive, this rating isn’t always accurate. True, the individual strands of bamboo may be quite hard, but the adhesive used to bond them together may be weak. This makes some bamboo flooring more vulnerable to scratches, dents, and scrapes.

3. Humidity affects bamboo differently than solid wood flooring.

When bamboo flooring experiences changes in moisture, the fibers naturally want to expand or shrink away from each other. With engineered flooring, however, the fibers are held together by the cross-ply structure and can’t move. This can cause the bonding agent to break and cause cracks in the wear layer of the floor.

4. Different bamboo flooring types qualify for different LEED points.

Many builders choose bamboo flooring because they believe by doing so they will earn multiple points with the Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) certification system. This isn’t always true. The type of bamboo flooring you use determines what kind and how many points or credits you can earn. Visit the US Green Building Council website to learn more about LEED rating systems.

5. Bamboo still requires acclimation.

Many customers assume that because bamboo flooring is made of many joined fibers it doesn’t need to be acclimated. This is not true. Different types of bamboo flooring require different acclimation times – solid bamboo flooring tend to be finished in 4 or 5 days, while strand-woven bamboo flooring can take as long as a month.

Suggesting or selling bamboo flooring to your customers without informing them of the many ways it varies from traditional hardwood flooring is irresponsible. Visit Nova USA Wood for information on other environmentally-friendly hardwood flooring options.

By Ben Nystrom, 10/20/11

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