Bamboo is one of the hottest trends in floor covering. The first bamboo floors had a repeating pattern and were mostly in natural colors. They have certainly come a long way since then. Today, there is a full spectrum of colors and certain treatments available in what’s called strand bamboo.
Bamboo is considered a grass not a wood, making it highly fibrous. The typical process laminates these fibers one on top of the other. The strand method weaves these fibers in an adhesive base, forming a stronger material. This is why the term woven applies.
Strand woven bamboo can be manufactured in both a solid and engineered construction, thus making it possible to install the product above and below grade.
Bamboo is a soft material and is colored by using a process called caramelizing. During the caramelizing process, the natural bamboo is actually cooked. This cooking process changes the sugar content turning the bamboo into a honey brown color.
The entire bamboo tree is used in the production of strand bamboo making it one of the most eco- friendly floors. During the manufacturing, thin strips or strands of bamboo are cut from all portions of the tree and placed in molding forms along with low volatile organic compound resin. These molds are crushed under high pressure, creating a solid strand block that can be milled to produce flooring.
Although the carbonizing process weakens the bamboo, the strand bamboo is extremely dense. It is rated more than twice as hard as domestic oak.
Is Bamboo a Green Product?
How do you know that the bamboo you are buying is certified green? One way to know is to look for the FSC Forest Stewardship Council sticker. FSC is an independent, non-governmental, not-for-profit organization established to promote the responsible management of the world’s forests.
Bamboo is a grass, so the FSC is not a must for bamboo flooring. Bamboo literally grows wild without anybody’s management. After a few years, the shoots have become a forest.
In order for bamboo to be FSC certified, the bamboo forest must be planted under FSC guidelines. Every bamboo has a sticker with its age and when it is time for cutting. After production, the FSC label is given a serial number. This third party validation enables professionals and consumers to know that their flooring is managed to high social and environmental standards.