Floors are an essential and important element in an interior design scheme. Small wonder, then, that the eye-catching patterns of bamboo flooring have been attracting attention. This style of bamboo flooring allows homeowners to make a bold design statement underfoot. Another reason for the buzz is that bamboo is considered an eco-friendly flooring option. While bamboo flooring is unique and beautiful, it’s also a fast-growing grass that reaches maturity in four to six years. This makes it a highly renewable resource that is gaining popularity in home design.”
How It’s Made
To make bamboo flooring, the stalks of the bamboo plant are cut into thin strips and bonded together in layers with the use of an adhesive resin. They can be layered horizontally, with the strips facing up to reveal the natural shape of the plant, or vertically, with the strips turned on their ends and pressed one against the other, resulting in a striated pattern. A third process, which creates a product known as “strand-woven bamboo,” involves shredding the bamboo stalks, mixing the fibers with adhesive, and pressing them together into highly durable flooring sheets.
Horizontal-grain, vertical-grain, and strand-woven bamboo flooring are commonly referred to as “solid bamboo” because they are made up entirely of bamboo strips or fibers. Another option on the market is called “engineered bamboo,” which takes a thin strip of solid bamboo and adheres it to the top of plywood or fiberboard. The main advantage of engineered bamboo is ease of installation; engineered planks can be floated above a subfloor without need of nails or adhesives, while solid planks are installed much like traditional hardwood.
Colors and Patterns
Bamboo flooring is available in a wide range of colors from pale straw to deep mahogany tones and everything in between. Natural bamboo resembles light woods like ash and beech. Carbonization, however, is thought to degrade the durability of bamboo floors, so darker colors may not be best for high-traffic areas.
To help you find the best pattern for a particular room, think about the other colors, fabrics, or finishes that will share the space with the bamboo floor, much as you would when considering paint swatches. More graphic patterns lend themselves to use in modern interiors, while simpler designs are typically suited to more traditional decor.
Care and Maintenance
Regular sweeping and occasional mopping with a damp cloth are all that’s needed to keep bamboo flooring looking its best. If your home has high foot traffic, pets, or young children, thoughtfully positioned area rugs may be a worthwhile investment. As with hardwood floors, placing felt pads on the bottom of furniture legs can help extend the life of bamboo.
At about $3 to $8 per square foot, the price of bamboo is comparable to other flooring options such as hardwood, carpeting, or tile. It’s worth paying a little more for a higher-quality product for increased durability. Warranties are often a good indicator of quality; planks with a longer warranty are generally more durable.