Our ‘Natural Cork’ Bamboo Flooring

October 20, 2006
natural cork bamboo floors
Bamboo flooring is a wonderful, environmentally friendly approach to flooring your home or office. Bamboo is a sustainable flooring option that will add value and beauty to any room it’s in. It gives a natural feel to the room which is both classy and rejuvenating. Choose between vertical and horizontal cut bamboo, and between natural or carbonized bamboo (heat treated). The strongest, or hardest, combination is the natural, horizontal cut flooring. From our experience, I’d go with unfinished flooring and have it finished after installation, coating it with several coats of low-VOC, water-based polyurethane. What a great, long-lasting, and beautiful floor bamboo makes.

 

Our new house was designed to be as environmentally friendly as it could be. We wanted it that way because we finally grew tired of the artificial look surrounding us. Also, realizing the huge impact on environment most of these synthetic materials have in the long run, we wanted our house to be as close to nature as we possibly could have. We chose our counter tops and flooring because they were made of sustainable materials. The initial flooring material we selected was floating cork from Natural Cork. We later changed to their bamboo flooring.

 

We loved the look and feel of our cork flooring, but it was defective so we had to replace it. By the time we reached an agreement with Natural Cork about how the replacement would happen, we’d lost faith in their floating cork floor product. In hindsight, I’d have used their glue-down cork and finished it with a water-based polyurethane; hindsight is 20:20.

 

We selected Natural Cork’s engineered, tongue-and-groove bamboo flooring, since we had to stick with Natural Cork. The bamboo used by Natural Cork for their bamboo flooring is five year-old Mao bamboo because they feel it’s of superior strength and hardness. After extensive research we chose their horizontal-cut, carbonized bamboo flooring. The horizontal cut is reported to be stronger than vertical cut bamboo. Natural, or non-carbonized, bamboo is stronger than carbonized, but the natural didn’t go with our color scheme so we went with the slightly softer carbonized. This bamboo product is finished with six coats of aluminum oxide for what they call superior wear resistance.

 

The installers said that they could nail the floor down so that we wouldn’t have any problems with floating floors over radiant heat, if it acclimated for at least two months (it took five months ultimately). One thing we’d learned from the cork was that if the flooring material doesn’t adjust to the climate it’s being installed in, before it’s installed, there will be problems after the installation. In our case, the problem is dryness and shrinkage.

 

The bamboo floor looks great. It cleans up well. But it doesn’t have what I’d call “superior wear resistance”. We have found it dents and dings easily. Our furniture with wheels leave marks where they roll. When we drop things on the floor there are dents. And the gaps between the manufactured board faces are dirt catchers.

 

Here’s some more hindsight: we would either install unfinished bamboo flooring or refinish the flooring surface after installation, because the sanding and “varnishing” would fill in gaps and make a smooth, hard surface that would truly be durable to life’s hard knocks. To stay with our environmentally friendly theme we would have used a low-VOC, water-based polyurethane finish. We’ve concluded that the factory-applied aluminum oxide finish isn’t as durable polyurethane. There are a lot of things we wish we could have done in a different way. However, there are things that we learned from our experience and we are glad to share it with you so that you will get things right the first time itself.

 

Bamboo flooring fits many decors. It’s environmentally friendly. For people with allergies, especially to dust and mites, this flooring option is good because it doesn’t harbor allergens. Its easy to clean and doesn’t absorb moisture like most other floors do. It may not be meant for extreme users and may leave dents on heavy impacts, but it is a great choice when it comes to flooring your home. if you are worried about its durability in heavy footfall places like your kitchen, you may want to start off with relatively quiet places like the bedroom. You can observe its performance and then later on, decide if you want to make the switch in other rooms as well. This way, you wont be rushing into anything that you are skeptical about. It’s harder than oak flooring. And it’s beautiful. What more could you ask for from a hard surface flooring?

Leave a comment: