Boulder wood floor refinishing

To bamboo or not to bamboo??

There are a lot of questions surrounding bamboo flooring. First, there are a lot of choices out there–different manufacturing processes, different finishes, different ages of maturity. Second, is bamboo the right flooring for my house? Third, is bamboo right for the climate I live in? Fourth, is it really a sustainable product?
Most bamboo flooring is made by gluing pieces of bamboo together in alternating layers. This makes bamboo a strong, hard flooring choice. Ideally the bamboo should be around 4-5 years old, which will make it harder. If bamboo is younger than that, it will be softer. Stranded bamboo is quite a bit stronger than traditional bamboo flooring. It’s made by compressing and binding strips of bamboo together.
One of the most important factors in choosing bamboo flooring is the product’s moisture content. It should be 8% or less and be consistent throughout the boards. If you have a high moisture reading (especially in a dry climate like Colorado) that product will probably warp, have poor dimensional stability (will gap out), and may delaminate. Kiln drying of the bamboo is essential.
There are a lot of questions about the glue used in the binding process. Some brands use highly toxic glue. The glue used should have low to no amounts of formaldehyde in it. Look for bamboo that has passed California’s CARB standards for indoor air quality.
Also, find out what types of finish and how many coats of finish are on the product. I have seen some cheaper products out there have barely any finish on them. That product is not going to look nice or maintain its beauty for long! Of course, you could have an extra coat of finish put on for durability.
So, is bamboo a sustainable product? There are different opinions on this subject. Bamboo is a fast growing grass (~3 years to harvest) and regenerates without replanting. Both hardwood and bamboo are renewable materials that absorb carbon. Bamboo generally has to be shipped from overseas (India, Malaysia, Korea, Philippines), whereas oak is a north American product. These are some things to think about, if sustainability is important to you.
If you are intested in putting bamboo in your house, we would love to talk to you about it, the different products we recommend, and then skillfully install it in your house. That way, you’ll have a floor that you will love for many years to come.