Working as a professional interior designer for many decades, I've been involved in design-and-build residential building projects.
Bamboo wood floors are flooring materials made from the stem of the bamboo plant. It is a popular choice of many homeowners who want a less expensive alternative to the conventional hardwood flooring materials. It possesses similar physical properties of natural hardwood and is equally strong, long-lasting, durable, and eco-friendly.
Unlike some hardwoods, bamboo wood floors have a natural resistance to moisture, mould, mildew, and pests, important advantages over most wood floorings. And asides its high sustainability factor that makes it a green choice, its toughness, and appealing beauty, it is a material that ranks high (in looks and quality) with flooring materials like oak, mahogany, maple, and cherry.
But is bamboo as hard as our traditional hardwoods like oak? Yes, it is, especially if it is strand woven bamboo which is almost 3 times harder than most hardwoods. Is it then surprising why it remains a trending floor finish almost three decades after it was first used as a modern flooring finish?
Bamboo wood first made its appearance as a floor covering on the international market in the early 1990s.
Types of Bamboo Wood Flooring
There are several types of bamboo flooring materials with each with their own unique set of benefits and slightly different processes of manufacturing. They also come in a large variety of shades, from dark to light, and can even be painted to give it any hardwood look-alike.
The most popular kinds of bamboo floors used include:
- Solid vertical grain
- Solid horizontal grain
- Solid strand
Distressed Bamboo Floors
Distressed bamboo wood floors have a textured feel that gives it a stylish rustic or antique look. It is wire-brushed during production and is finished with layers of matte lacquer which provides protection against daily wear and tear.
This bamboo flooring material offers the toughness associated with strand-woven bamboo and has the same elegant and spectacular appearance of traditional hardwood. It is a brilliant option if you are looking for a characteristic but natural looking wood floor.
Distressed bamboo wood flooring will fit perfectly in both vintage and contemporary styled interiors and are great for high traffic areas of the home. Distressed bamboo floors are also pet-friendly
Strand Woven Bamboo
Strand-woven bamboo wood floors are by far the hardest and most durable type of them all. It has a pleasant and warm appearance and is a wonderful choice for both traditional and modern interiors.
It is a popular choice because, in addition to its hardness, it is eco-friendly, easy to install. and requires minimal maintenance.
It is crafted by employing a revolutionary production system, coming out more than two times as hard as red oak and enduring more wear than the traditional hardwood floors. Its production involves heating lengthy strips of bamboo, weaving them together and then compressing them under extreme pressure and heat.
Solid Vertical Grain Bamboo Floors
Solid bamboo wood flooring is produced by glueing thin strips of dried bamboo wood together horizontally or vertically and compressing them using extreme heat and pressure.
Vertical grain bamboo wood flooring, bamboo planks will be turned up vertically (on the narrowest side of the plank), placed firmly together, bonded, pressed and then laminated laterally. They possess a narrow grain pattern because the bamboo strips have been attached in a vertical fashion.
Vertical grain bamboo floors are one of the most cost-effective ranges of flooring and when installed, they have a stylishly lined and consistent look that gives the appearance of thin strips of wood flooring. It is a truly elegant and timeless floor finish.
Solid Horizontal Grain Bamboo Flooring
Horizontal grain bamboo floor surfaces possess individual slats that are arranged in a horizontal direction on the widest edge and then attached side by side with adjacent pieces using a high-pressure lamination technique.
The resulting look when installed is one where the characteristic nodes on the bamboo are arbitrarily apparent making the floor look characteristically bamboo with its distinctive knuckle-effect.
With the wider grain pattern than the vertical type which has a busy look, it has a clear and uncomplicated appearance. It is available in natural colours of pale, golden brown tones, or a carbonised effect where the bamboo has been smoked, resulting in richer, darker natural brown colours.
Solid Strand Bamboo
Perhaps the most common bamboo flooring on the market, strand bamboo is manufactured from thin strips, bamboo fragments, and shredded bamboo fibres (by-products) mixed with resins and pressed into rock-hard planks.
Engineered Bamboo Wood
Bamboo flooring materials are available in solid and engineered types and though it is not easy to tell the difference between the two once the bamboo wood is installed, the difference lies in the way they are constructed. Engineered bamboo wood is produced with a thin plywood backing.
However, both engineered and solid bamboo floors are durable, strong and aesthetically pleasing.
Engineered bamboo flooring can be produced as very wide planks (solid bamboo is narrower and have a fixed/standard size) and are installed using the floating wood floor method over an underlay of thin foam. Engineered wood floors can come as wide as 19cm.
How to Clean and Maintain Bamboo Wood Floors
Cleaning bamboo flooring calls for just a bit of special treatment but it is nothing hard to achieve nor is it expensive to do.
What TO do:
- Use a damp cloth to wipe up minor spills and dry-buff immediately. Don't rub or lightly scrub any spill or you will be massaging it into the wood pores. This will result in unsightly marks on the floor.
- Heel marks and scuff marks can be cleaned off bamboo wood floors by lightly rubbing with a dry cloth. If they create stubborn stains or marks, use a bamboo wood floor cleaning solution then buff-dry.
- It's best to vacuum bamboo wood floors on a very regular basis, daily if possible, especially in rooms that are much used. It helps prevent fine sand particles from digging into its fine surface. The main culprit in the deterioration of this material is tiny particles of dirt and sand.
- Use products specifically designed for cleaning bamboo wood floors only, when you need to do any heavy cleaning. The cleaning material must be non-alkaline, non-abrasive, and it must not contain any wax.
- If you are going to use a broom to clean, sweep with one that has fine soft bristles.
- For scuff marks that appear when rubber heels drag across the floor, remove them by pouring a small amount of wood floor cleaner onto a rag then gently rubbing it into the areas where the scuff marks are located.
What NOT to do
- It is important that any floor cleaner used must not be one that will leave a thin residue. If you do, it will hinder the existing bonding and may also affect re-finishing.
- Though bamboo is a lot more resistant to moisture than a majority of natural hardwoods, never ever use a wet mop or sponge to clean bamboo flooring.
- If you are planning to use a wood floor cleaner that requires mixing with water, ensure you keep to the mixing guidelines advised.
- You should never allow dirt, dust, pet hairs or other stuff that is tracked into the home daily, to mess up your bamboo wood floors.
- Do not try to 'dust mop' or use a bristled floor brush to clean bamboo floors.
- Never use a steam mop or any steam cleaner to clean your floor because water or steam will damage this wood and that will be disastrous for any type of bamboo flooring material. Unfortunately, it is often impossible to repair!
© 2010 viryabo
Comments Are Welcome
viryabo (author) from Lagos, Nigeria. on March 10, 2014:
It is a great flooring product Florence. Thanks for the visit.
Florence wright on March 10, 2014:
"Bamboo Wood Floors" really nice..its really plays an important role to make our hose more beautiful..
viryabo (author) from Lagos, Nigeria. on October 03, 2010:
Hi samik, im glad you find it informative.
Thanks for visiting and for leaving nice comments.
samikhan4240 from Lahore on September 30, 2010:
you explain it very well it will help me a lot in choosing the flooring of my house.
Cleaning in Altrincham on September 28, 2010:
Definitely avoid using harsh chemical floor cleaners on these sorts of floors as they will cause damage. I also agree that you should not use lots of water and that a damp cloth/mops is fine for cleaning most floors.
viryabo (author) from Lagos, Nigeria. on April 30, 2010:
You are right Pretty, it is a lovely floor. And they are not as expensive as some other hard wood flooring boards.
Thanks for visiting Pretty. GodBless
prettydarkhorse from US on April 30, 2010:
it really looks shiny and nice to step on it, maybe they are expensive here in the US? Thank you dear, Maita
viryabo (author) from Lagos, Nigeria. on April 09, 2010:
Dark oak is such a lovely finish as well. There seems to be such a great interest in bamboo floors these days. Probably because we all seem to seek eco-friendly things nowadays.
A few years ago (just 5 actually), i had bamboo plants almost growing wild in my garden and never knew it could be used for floors.
Thanks habee for stopping by and leaving a nice comment.
Holle Abee from Georgia on April 08, 2010:
These floors are gorgeous. I wanted them for our new breakfast room, but hubby got a deal on dark oak. Great hub!
viryabo (author) from Lagos, Nigeria. on April 02, 2010:
Hi Colorado Springs Carpet, Bamboo is beautiful,and as a natural, it seems to be a favourite. And as you rightly said, its easy to maintain.
thanks for visiting and for your nice comments CSC.
Colorado Springs Carpet on April 01, 2010:
Thanks for your great information about Beautiful Bamboo. it's a very helpful for maintenance of bamboo wood floors. i think This is the natural color of the bamboo. thanks for sharing this article.
viryabo (author) from Lagos, Nigeria. on March 29, 2010:
Awwh thats such a nice comment De Greek, Thank you for stopping by and having time to drop such kind words.
De Greek from UK on March 29, 2010:
I wish I had met you a few years back when I was redecorating :-))
viryabo (author) from Lagos, Nigeria. on March 15, 2010:
Lee, they look wonderful if you see them installed, either if left natural or glazed, the natural elements stand out distinctly. Plus even though termed a hardwood, it looks so soft to the eyes.
Thank you so much for stopping by and for finding the time to leave a nice comment.
viryabo (author) from Lagos, Nigeria. on March 15, 2010:
Hi G. Nice to see you as always. That makes 2 of us. I'm using it on a project i'm working on at the moment. Love it so much. Thanks for visiting and for your comments.
Cheers and GodBless
viryabo (author) from Lagos, Nigeria. on March 15, 2010:
Hello my dear friend Keira, nice to see you again. Thanks for your cherished visits to my hubs and your always nice comments. And i greatly appreciate your 'up' ratings. GodBless you Keira.
Lee A Barton from New Mexico on March 14, 2010:
I've been hearing about bamboo as a good, renewable resource. I had no idea it would make such beautiful flooring!
GPAGE from California on March 13, 2010:
Hello V! Fantastic and informative hub. I'm a big fan of bamboo floors and I have also remodeled houses and added wooden floors to create a "bigger room" visually. Especially lighter tones.......Anyway, LOVE to learn new things. Thank you! Best, G
Keira7 on March 13, 2010:
Hello my lovely friend, how are you ? I love Bamboo wood floor. It's so stylish and looks so beautiful, and also easy to clean. What I like about it its the fact that it has less dust than carpet for example :) BTW I have visit you others great hubs and rate them up. Thank you for all the very good informations. Brilliant work as always. Take care my wonderful friend. A lot of Blessing to you and all your loved ones.:D
Your friend Keira xxx