Bamboo Flooring: A Guide

Bamboo Flooring A Guide

For a long time, bamboo was dismissed by some people as a trendy fad, but it is fast becoming one of the most exciting flooring products to enter the flooring industry.

Bamboo is a durable, inexpensive, versatile and beautiful flooring option. Because of these positive attributes, the popularity of bamboo flooring has increased in recent years. If you are considering investing in bamboo flooring, you will want to find out more. Below is a guide to everything you need to know about bamboo.

The Basics of Bamboo

Bamboo is a type of grass which is grown in Vietnam, Indonesia and China. Although bamboo can be grown all around the world, it thrives in these countries and can grow at a rate of three feet a day and is harvested every five years or so.

The harvesting process does not kill the bamboo plant, which will begin it grow new stalks the moment the fully grown ones are removed. Mature bamboo is harder than American Red Oak and more resistant to moisture than standard hardwood.

How Bamboo Flooring is Manufactured

Once the bamboo had been cut and cut to a prescribed length and then split using knives. The splits within the bamboo are flattened out processed using a four-sided mill. The bamboo is then steamed so that it turns a rich brown colour.

The bamboo is then dried in a kiln to remove any moisture it contains. The bamboo then has glue applied to it before being hot pressed into the shape of planks. These planks are then planed, and tongues and grooves are added, before being sanded and finished.

Types of Grain

Bamboo is available in different grains. These are strand woven, vertical grain and horizontal grain. Each of these different types of grains produces a unique look. Below is a guide to each type of grain.

  • Horizontal grain: A horizontal grain is produced by stacking the splits of bamboo horizontally and then applying glue. Because you can see the knuckles of the bamboo, this finish recreates the natural appearance of bamboo stalks. Horizontal produces a medium strength flooring.
  • Vertical grain: A vertical grain is produced by laying the splits vertically before glueing them together. This creates narrow strips in which the bamboo knuckles are hidden. Vertical grain is the softest type of bamboo flooring.
  • Strand woven: A strand woven grain is created by glueing and compressing different scraps of bamboo. Because this product is made of a mix of different parts of the bamboo plant, it creates a random and unique finish. Strand woven creates the strongest type of bamboo flooring.

Natural, Stained, Hand-scraped and Carbonised Bamboo

When bamboo was first introduced as a flooring material, it was only available is a very limited number of colours and styles. However, in recent years, the number of styles and colours of bamboo available on the market has dramatically increased. Below is a guide to 4 popular types of bamboo flooring.

  • Natural: Natural bamboo flooring is very light in colour as it has not been modified. Natural bamboo is the ideal choice if you want to create a natural looking floor which will match with any interior designs or colour schemes.
  • Carbonised: Carbonised bamboo is normally a rich brown colour. This colouring is created by the heat applied to the bamboo by boiling or steaming it. The colour can vary slightly between each piece of flooring because of the different chemical makeup of each individual bamboo stick. You should be aware that the process of carbonisation can slightly reduce the strength of the bamboo.

Hand-scraped: Hand-scraped bamboo is the most unique form of bamboo flooring. Each piece of bamboo is scraped with a special tool which creates a distinctive and rustic look. Because of the increased labour required to produce this type of bamboo flooring, it typically is the most expensive option.

Some manufacturers try to keep the price of their scraped bamboo down by using machines to carry out the work. However, while this may be cheaper, the end product tends to have a uniform appearance and none of the charm of hand-scrapped bamboo flooring.

Stained: Stained bamboo flooring has a coat of stain applied to after it has been manufactured. First, the bamboo will be washed and sanded down to create the ideal surface of the stain to soak into. The stain is then applied to the bamboo and left to dry.

The stained bamboo will then be sealed to protect the staining from the effects of moisture. The look of stained bamboo tends to be more uniform when compared to the carbonised option. However, staining allows you to choose from a wide range of different colours.

Installation Methods

Solid Bamboo Planks

Bamboo can be installed in a number of different ways. A bamboo plank will typically be between 3 feet by 6 feet in length and around 3 inches wide. Because bamboo is a grass, it is much more resistant to moisture, so unlike hardwood flooring, solid bamboo can be attached to a concrete floor surface using glue. Solid bamboo flooring panels can also be nailed directly onto a plywood subfloor.

Long Strip Bamboo

Long strip bamboo flooring is specially engineered so that it fits together easily. When installing long strip bamboo, you can simply click the strips of bamboo together once they are in place in the same way you would install a laminate floor.

Long strip bamboo flooring can either be placed directly on to a concrete floor, or it can be floated. Long strip bamboo boards are typically around 7 inches wide and six feet long.

Now that you have found out a little more about bamboo flooring, you should keep your eyes open for the different colours and styles which are available.

Bamboo flooring can now be found in hotels, restaurants and modern homes. If you would like to find out more about the many benefits bamboo flooring could bring to your property, you should contact a flooring specialist today.

The Newest Thing In Natural Flooring: Strand Woven Bamboo Flooring

There is a lot of buzz about bamboo flooring these days, both positive and negative. A lot of the mixed reviews can be attributed to the huge variety in quality of bamboo flooring and the lack of a real, standardized rating system for the manufacturing of bamboo flooring. Another issue with bamboo is that people are expecting their bamboo floors to behave like hardwood, when these two materials are fundamentally different.

Now, along comes strand woven bamboo to help! Strand woven bamboo addresses many of the concerns people have had with the pressed, composite bamboo planks, but is still made from the highly renewable, beautiful bamboo that has become so desired.

What Is Strand Woven Bamboo And How Is It Made?

The most important thing to understand about bamboo is that it is not wood. Bamboo is actually a grass. So, although bamboo is all the rage because of its natural strength, botanically speaking, the parts of the plant that bind the individual strands together (the lingins) are weaker than that of a hardwood. So how did bamboo gain the reputation of being so tough? The fibers of the plant, the strands bound together by these weaker lingins, are strong enough to rival steel.

The easiest way to picture this is to imagine a banana peel: ripping the peel in half width-wise is more difficult; but peeling a banana, pulling it apart between the strands, is very easy. What this means in terms of bamboo flooring is that trying to break bamboo in half would be very difficult. However, strike a bamboo plank with something hard like the sole of a high heel or a dropped knife, and it will result in larger and more significant dents than with oak or maple, because you are causing damage to the part that holds the bamboo strands together.

So what is the difference between strand woven bamboo and solid bamboo flooring?

Strand woven bamboo takes the individual fibers, the strongest part of the plant, and fuses them together with a glue composite, essentially replacing the weaker lingins with a more durable glue. Traditional “solid” bamboo is constructed more like traditional hardwood floors are; by simply layering bamboo together, either horizontally or vertically.

How Strand Woven Bamboo Addresses The Top Three Complaints About Bamboo Flooring

1. Bamboo Floors Are Not As Resilient As Advertised

Many people who are disappointed by their bamboo floors are expecting them to perform like hardwood. They are frustrated when this supposedly incredibly strong flooring option shows dents and scratches so easily.

Strand woven bamboo, however, is much stronger than the “solid plank” bamboo. Because the individual strands are woven together and a glue composite is added to bind the strands, strand woven bamboo holds up significantly better to wear and tear. Think of the strand woven bamboo as bamboo rope instead of individual laid bamboo stalks.

2. Bamboo Floors Are Susceptible To Mold

This is perhaps the most concerning aspect of bamboo floors. As a grass, bamboo stalks, once cut, are very susceptible to growing mold. They must be treated with an anti-mold borax solution soon after harvesting in order to prevent the growth and spread of the mold spores. Even worse, after the floors have been installed, the mold can continue to spread and grow. This is both a problem for the visual look of the floors as well as a health concern.

How does strand woven bamboo improve this? Because the glue composite is added at such high temperatures and then cured, any mold that may have gotten into the stalks will be killed so it will not continue to grow and spread. While the mold may have gotten into the stalks used to create the strand woven bamboo flooring, and can even in some cases be seen in the flooring, it is much less visible than in traditionally manufactured planks.

3. Bamboo Floors Aren't Able To Be Refinished

While this is not strictly true about all solid bamboo planks, it is a complaint that you will see over and over again about bamboo flooring. The problem stems from the thickness of the bamboo used. When sanding lower grade bamboo flooring planks made from pressed bamboo, you may see some fraying and wear of the bamboo strands.

Strand woven bamboo, because of the increased strength, can be refinished by sanding the planks down until the material looks like new and applying a new finish. The bamboo can be refinished a number of times over the years; the thicker the bamboo, the more times it can be refinished. Refinishing bamboo in general, however, is going to be more difficult than traditional hardwoods.

Strand Woven Bamboo Flooring, Worth The Price!

The down side of strand woven bamboo flooring as opposed to solid bamboo planks? The price is as much as 50% higher for strand woven. If you love the look of bamboo floors, but need something more durable, a strand woven bamboo floor is truly worth the increase in cost.

How to Installation Cork Tile Flooring – TheFlooringLady

cork-flooring-installation

If you’re looking for an ecologically friendly flooring option that fits within your budget, cork flooring may be the ideal solution for you! Cork floor is a hardy and sensible flooring option that is easy to maintain and a beautiful alternative to traditional hardwoods. The earthy style cork flooring brings to a room creates a cozy ambiance and this comfortable flooring option is quickly becoming a favorite in kitchens, living rooms and basements. These days, manufacturers have designed cork flooring planks similar to laminate flooring, with a tongue and groove type design, eliminating the need for glue or nails. This makes installing cork flooring a fairly simple process that can be accomplished in a reasonable amount of time by even a novice DIY-er.

Prior To Installation, Gather The Following Tools

  • Straightedge and clamps
  • A saw suitable to cut the cork flooring: a jigsaw, handsaw, table saw or circular saw can work.
  • Rubber hammer or rubber mallet
  • Crowbar
  • Miter box ad drill/driver to cut and install shoe molding
  • 1/2" wooden spacers

The floating floor design of cork flooring panels, where the planks are not required to be glued or nailed onto a subfloor, has truly simplified the installation process. It is recommended that you install a plywood subfloor and/or moisture barrier if the floors are being installed in a potentially damp area. Otherwise, the cork flooring can be laid directly on preexisting vinyl, linoleum, hardwood, or concrete floors. Cork flooring should never be installed directly on top of carpet, however.

Because cork flooring will expand and contract with changes in humidity, you must leave a ½” gap between the flooring and the wall or there will be damage to your floors as they expand. Of course, you are not going to want to leave this gap exposed, as that would be extremely unsightly, so you will need to cover the gaps with baseboard or shoe molding. If there is already existing shoe molding in the room where you are installing your cork flooring, it will need to be removed before installing the new floor. If you would like to reuse the molding, take care not to crack it when removing and it can be placed over the expansion gap after the cork floors have been laid.

Additionally, you will want to acclimatize your cork flooring to the room prior to installation. Most manufacturers recommend leaving your flooring unwrapped from any plastic covering for a minimum of 72 hours in the room where it will be installed to allow the planks to adjust to the atmosphere and humidity levels in the room. The room should be at least 60 degrees while the floors are being acclimatized. The subfloor or preexisting flooring on which the cork flooring is to be installed should also be made clear of dust and debris of any sort.

Finally, after gathering the above tools, leaving your cork flooring to adjust to the room for at least 72 hours, removing any existing baseboards or shoe molding, and cleaning the area on which the cork flooring is to be laid, you are ready to begin. You will want to set aside approximately 3 hours per 100 square foot space you have to work with.

Cork Flooring Installation

  1. If you are installing any kind of moisture barrier, such as a polyurethane sheeting, you will want to install that at this point. Run the sheeting up the wall about 2-3 inches, to help keep out moisture.
  2. Measure the length of the room and trim the cork flooring planks to fit; remember to leave the ½” space on either end for expansion.
  3. Begin the initial installation of the first row of cork flooring planks. To lay the cork flooring, push the planks together at an angle so the one end of the board slides into the corresponding groove on the subsequent plank until the boards click together. The pieces should be installed short end to short end and worked lengthwise like this (not long side to long side). You may need the force of your rubber mallet to join the boards, but do not hammer on the edges of the planks where the tongue and groove have been brought together; rather, hammer in the middle of the boards to prevent cracking.
  4. As you reach the end of the row, cut the last piece to length, using your saw guided by a clamped straightedge.
  5. As you lay the flooring, to save the ½ inch for expansion, place ½-inch wood spacers between the long end of the first row of cork floor planks and the wall. Line up this initial row of flooring boards tight against the spacers.
  6. Continue installation of the rest of the cork flooring boards, using the rubber mallet to ensure each row of planks are installed tightly against one another.
  7. As you install the final row, trim the planks to allow for the ½” expansion between the edge of the flooring and the wall.

Now that the flooring has been laid, most manufacturers recommend applying an additional polyurethane layer to protect the porous nature of the cork flooring from possible water damage. Prior to applying the polyurethane, vacuum floors to remove any dust and dirt to ensure a complete and even application. Let the finish dry for at least 24 hours before walking on the floor at all, and for the majority of the polyurethane finishes, a final hardness is achieved after 8 days, at which point you can install the shoe molding.

Measure the shoe molding and cut to length (if using a new molding and not re-installing preexisting shoe molding you removed prior to installation). Join the molding at the corners of the room at a 45 degree angle and do not nail the molding directly to the cork flooring. Rather, nail the molding into the baseboard at 12 inch intervals.

At this point you can rejoice! You have completed your cork flooring installation and your new floors are ready to be enjoyed.

Top 10 Crucial Bamboo Flooring Pros And Cons – TheFlooringlady

bamboo

Bamboo Flooring is growing rapidly in popularity. Praises for this natural flooring option can be found anywhere from HGTV to DIY home reno blogs, but how can you tell if this is the right option for your kitchen? Read on to see our top 6 reasons to use bamboo flooring in your kitchen, and our opinion on when bamboo flooring may not be the right choice for you.

Six Strong Reasons You Should Consider Using Bamboo Flooring In Your Kitchen

The Look

Like most hard woods and their variations, bamboo flooring is available in a range of styles. The sleek design of bamboo has made it a favorite contemporary flooring option. The natural coloring can be very light, but the flooring can be stained to suit any style or color scheme in your kitchen, and the flooring can be refinished in a different stain if desired. The trendy, wide plank style is highly sought after, which makes bamboo flooring a popular option in new homes and also in home renovations. Different manufacturers also offer a variety of styles, including a “zebra” style of bamboo plank which combines the lighter, natural style bamboo with the carbonized, dark finish bamboo flooring to resemble higher end hardwoods.

Eco Friendy

One of the main reasons bamboo flooring is so rapidly growing in popularity is due to a greater demand in the industry for eco-friendly and sustainable options. Bamboo flooring is the highest renewable natural flooring option available today. Because bamboo is technically a grass, it takes significantly less time to mature for harvest than traditional hardwoods. Bamboo is ripe for harvest in only 3-5 years and, even more importantly, does not require replanting. This flooring option is also naturally water resistant and insect repellent, reducing the need for treatment with insecticides and other ecologically harmful chemicals.

Durability

Perhaps the greatest reason that bamboo is a popular choice for kitchens is that bamboo flooring is both naturally water repellent and less absorbent than hardwood. Wax or urethane finish (usually the latter, as wax will need to be reapplied using specialized equipment) is applied to the bamboo flooring to seal it, which helps protect the floor from scratches and water damage.

Low Cost

Starting in price from as low as $2 per square foot and ranging in price up to as much as $9 per square foot at the higher end for the flooring alone, bamboo flooring is on the cheaper end of the natural flooring options. Also, because it can be installed by nailing or gluing the flooring directly on the subflooring, it is possible to save additional money by installing the bamboo flooring yourself. The comparatively low cost of bamboo flooring makes it a very attractive option for flooring throughout the home, but especially in some of the larger rooms of your home, such as the kitchen.

Simple Maintenance 

Bamboo flooring is surprisingly low maintenance for a natural hardwood flooring option. As the kitchen is the most highly trafficked room in your home, selecting a flooring that is especially easy to maintain is supremely important. To maintain your bamboo flooring, periodic buffing of the wax is required if wax was used to prevent absorption of moisture. Most bamboo flooring, however, is treated with a polyurethane layer that protects it surface. Regular cleaning of dust/grit/particles, etc. with a stiff-bristle broom will help prevent scratching. Because bamboo flooring is susceptible to water damage, the floor should never be soaked when mopping; use of a damp mop to clean the floors is all that is needed.

Flexibility

Bamboo flooring is one of the softer hardwood flooring options. While this can be a negative, especially in wet or humid conditions, the flexibility of the floor makes it simpler to install, more versatile, and easier to update or refinish.

Cons to Bamboo Flooring

With all of the positives listed above, I'm sure you're ready to rn out and invest in bamboo flooring for your kitchen immediately. However, there are a few cons to bamboo flooring you should consider before committing:

While bamboo flooring is one of the least expensive and softest of the natural flooring options, if you purchase bamboo flooring that is on the cheaper end, you may end up with bamboo flooring that is too soft, leaving it extra prone to scratches and possibly water damage. Most bamboo flooring is listed as either Grade A or Grade B, however there’s little to no actual regulation of bamboo flooring, leaving it up to the manufacturers discretion as to what makes second quality flooring. If you are choosing to purchase bamboo flooring for any room in your home, it’s important that you investigate any company before you purchase to find out general customer satisfaction, details of any warranty they may offer, and their purchasing and bamboo harvesting practices. Many companies will also provide samples of their different products, which is a good way to test the flooring in your home prior to purchasing.

Another reason to reconsider installing bamboo flooring in your kitchen is if you have larger pets, especially dogs. Pets’ nails are not great for bamboo flooring, or for most hardwood options, as they are much more likely to leave scratches in the softer wood. If you do have pets and are wanting bamboo flooring, you should consider extra layers of the polyurethane finishing to protect them.

And finally, one last reason you may be hesitant to install bamboo flooring in your kitchen is that, while bamboo flooring is very trendy, the contemporary design may not fit the style of your home. For this reason, bamboo flooring is an especially attractive option in new construction, but possibly not the best choice in a renovated older home.

How To Installation Bamboo Flooring – TheFlooringlady

bamboo-flooring-installation

Why should you opt for bamboo flooring instead of more traditional options like oak? We like bamboo because it's environmentally friendly, quick to grow and adds an attractive contemporary look to your floor. It's also durable enough to last for a long time as long as it's installed correctly.

How to Put Your Bamboo Flooring In

Bamboo flooring installation isn't necessarily as easy as it sounds – just laying down flooring – simply because a good-looking floor should run perfectly parallel to your walls and improper installation can actually reduce its durability. Most people prefer to hire a professional for exactly this reason.

However, it usually takes less than a day and you'd be surprised by how much a better-looking floor can improve the overall appearance of a room. If you decide to do it yourself, it's usually cheaper but you also should make sure to do it right the first time so that your bamboo flooring remains attractive for a long period of time.

Step 1: Create a reference for laying down the first few rows

This is usually done by drawing out a reference line that runs parallel to either the exterior wall, which is usually the straightest, or the longest wall in the room and then laying down a batten board that's perfectly parallel to either the exterior wall or the longest wall in the room. This provides a reference guide to putting down the first few rows and will be removed once they're in place.

Step 2: Start putting in flooring

Use an 18-inch nail driver to secure the shoulder of the first board. The nails should go in at an angle so they don't interfere with putting in subsequent boards. If a different type of flooring borders the new bamboo flooring installation, leave a one-inch gap between the existing flooring and the new. This leaves room for a transition strip and avoids damage to existing flooring.

Step 3: Add another row of planks

Before you start with the next row of planks, make sure everything is straight and lined up with the batten board. The next row should start with a shorter segment of wood to stagger the seams. This reduces wear and tear on the ends of the wood planks so your floor lasts longer. Make sure the seams are lined up straight as you add the new rows.

Step 4: Remove batten board and add spline

Once you're sure everything is going in perfectly straight and parallel with the walls, remove the batten board. The spline you add in its place should be twice the width and the same height as the tongues of the wood planks you've been adding. Put a small amount of glue in the groove of the plank that is nailed to the floor and gently tap the spine into place.

Step 5: Add the last row

Now that you have most of the flooring added, you may notice that there's a gap that isn't wide enough for a full-width plank. This is where you'll want to cut back remaining planks to the required width and use a pry bar to position the planks. Add finish nails to the face of the board near the wall and use molding to cover the nail heads.

Step 6: Inspect the work

Actually, it's usually easier to inspect the work at each step in the process because you can still correct mistakes before the work is completed. Every row should go in perfectly straight. If you're close to the end and things don't seem to be quite right, look for where you might have gone wrong even if it means taking up a few rows and reapplying them in a straighter fashion.

Step 7: Take good care of your bamboo floor

Your bamboo floor installation looks perfect now, but you still want to care for it properly to make sure it lasts. If liquid is spilled on it, the spill should be dried with a dry towel before it has a chance to soak in. When you mop, you should use a cleaner that is designed specifically for wood floors and the mop should only be lightly dampened. Floor protectors should be placed under the legs of heavy furniture to protect the floor and keep the furniture from sliding. If you must move furniture, get help with the heavy lifting so you don't have to slide furniture across the floor. Remove shoes or wipe your feet before walking on the floor when you come in from outside. If you wear high heels, avoid walking on the floor if possible to avoid damage to the floor caused by the heels.

Mosaic Cork Tiles

mosaic cork tiles
Mosaic cork tiles are a beautiful alternative to other types of mosaic tiles (wood, porcelain, stone, or ceramic) or to traditional cork tiles (floating or glue-down). They require a bit more work to install them because of the need to caulk or grout around the cork disks, but the effort is well worth it. It’s a beautiful look for any home or office.

To make the biggest impact upon the look and feel of your home, most people think that they have to remodel the entire home, including changing the paint color, furnishings, curtains, floorings, and more, but this is not usually the case. A simple way to update the look and feel of a room may be as simple as changing the flooring. One way to add warmth and comfort to a room is to install mosaic cork tile. Cork is not as well known as hardwood, but it can offer the same warmth and classic style, as well as new comfort and texture.

Read moreMosaic Cork Tiles

All you need to know about Sealant for Cork Floor tiles

all you need to know about sealant for cork floor tiles
Cork floor tiles are known for their elegant appearance and they make your interiors look flawless. The warmth and beauty of cork floor tiles is undisputed. With their wide range of colors and textures, you find that cork-flooring tiles can add great beauty and style to your home. An important step that most people do not know about or consider is the application of sealant.

 

This sealant helps to keep them in great shape and stand up to normal wear and tear without damage.  Generally the name of cork floor tiles makes us think that they are soft and would retain moisture. Cork is soft and retains moisture; in order to solve these sealants were introduced. Sealants help in hardening and adding perfect shape to cork floor tiles. Installing Sealant for cork floor tiles helps to keep away moisture and hardens it.

Read moreAll you need to know about Sealant for Cork Floor tiles

Installing Cork Tiles

installing cork tiles
Installing cork tiles can be a delightful project because it can go quickly, letting you convert your room into a beautiful space. You’ll love the noise damping cork does too. Whether you go with floating cork tiles or glue-down cork tiles, the job is fairly straight forward.

Cork tiles have been used for over a hundred years, though you might not have heard very much about them. They have seen a resurgence in popularity, due to the environmentally friendly and sustainable aspect that the trees do not have to be cut down to harvest the cork. Installing cork tiles is something that you can do yourself as well, which will cut down on the cost and give you a source of pride and enjoyment.

Read moreInstalling Cork Tiles

Cork Tile Flooring, II

cork tile flooring
Cork tile flooring is one of the most sustainable flooring materials you can use. Strive for a tile product that hasn’t been sealed at the factory because you’ll get better results, based on my experience, if you seal the tile in place once it’s been installed. Choose low VOC glues and sealants for the best air quality you can get.

Cork may seem like a fragile flooring material, but modern cork tile flooring is tough and lasts many years. It’s a natural, renewable resource. Cork tile flooring is warm and gentle on the feet. It’s also quiet, unlike many other flooring materials. With the right surface preparation, a cork tile flooring can be installed in just a weekend.

Read moreCork Tile Flooring, II

The Beauty of Bamboo Floors

bamboo floors Style
Installing Bamboo flooring your house gives an exotic look, but in a subtle way. People always notice how unusual and beautiful they are and wonder about their durability. They are beautiful, easy to care for and durable. Part of the attraction to bamboo is that they are a sustainable building material made from a readily renewable resource.

 

Popular Flooring option

 

What’s harder than hardwood? Grass, it turns out. Bamboo, made from the giant grass plants of the bamboo family is an increasingly popular flooring option due to their durability and good looks. There are three types including three colorized options.

 

Read moreThe Beauty of Bamboo Floors