Growing the future of bamboo
Whether you’re looking to remodel your entire home, or just update a room, one of this season’s hottest flooring trends is bamboo.
According to Steven Suntups from FloorworX, bamboo is a beautiful product, but it’s not the strongest flooring in the hardwood range. That being said, however, the process involved in making strand-woven bamboo flooring has virtually doubled its hardness compared to other bamboo flooring, making it suitable for high-traffic areas.
In the strand-woven process, strips of bamboo are coated with resins and then compressed with heat to form timbers. These timbers are then milled into flooring. This process produces bamboo flooring that is twice as hard as traditional bamboo flooring.
The hardness of traditional bamboo flooring ranges from 1 180 (carbonised horizontal) to around 1 380 (natural), while newer manufacturing techniques including strand woven bamboo flooring range from 3 000 to over 5 000 using the Janka hardness test.
FloorworX’s range of Suntups Strandwoven Bamboo is a pre-sealed, tongue-and-grooved construction bamboo.
“When shopping for bamboo flooring, you often come across the terms ‘natural’ and ‘carbonised’,” highlights Steven. “What do they mean? ‘Natural’ is what it says – the natural colour of the bamboo. However, bamboo has a sugar content and when steamed at high temperatures, these sugars go brown and carbonise, changing the natural colour to a chocolate brown.”
Steven is of the opinion that many homeowners desire bamboo because bamboo has a positive reputation thanks to its environmental attributes. It is deemed an eco-friendly building material. Bamboo grass stalks can grow very rapidly, attaining full height in just three to five years. Furthermore, when it is harvested, the roots do not need to be cut, so it can continue growing without the need for replanting. Bamboo is also all natural, can be recycled and is biodegradable.
“Bamboo is slightly more resistant to moisture damage than hardwoods,” notes Steven. “In addition, bamboo naturally tends to repel mould and mildew, acting as a hostile environment that can limit their ability to grow. Bamboo, in its natural state, has a stunning light colour similar to straw. Many homeowners prefer a darker flooring material, hence the introduction of carbonised bamboo flooring.”
FloorworX’s range of Suntups Strandwoven Bamboo is available in two colours: Natural Solid 104 and Carbonated Solid 103.
“To date, bamboo is not rated in any official way to guarantee the quality, source or consistency of the product,” concludes Steven. “Consequently, you never know what you are going to get when you purchase these materials. The only way to limit unpredictability in colour variations is to partner with a reputable dealer such as FloorworX. FloorworX recommends that Suntups Strandwoven Bamboo be fixed floating on a 3mm Elastilon self-adhesive installation system. The benefit of this over a click-together installation is that there is never any pressure on the individual boards, so there is no chance of board pressure causing cupping out of shape.”