15 Amazing Things You Didn’t Know About Bamboo Flooring
Discover the incredible qualities of bamboo flooring that make it a remarkable choice for your home or office. From its eco-friendly nature to its durability and aesthetic appeal, bamboo flooring offers a unique combination of features that set it apart from traditional flooring options.
1. Bamboo Has Seriously Long History
Bamboo flooring is so amazing! There are many things about the raw material and the flooring itself that make it stand apart from other flooring options. In our research we’ve found facts about everything from bamboo’s tensile strength to interesting tidbits about how bamboo is manufactured and installed. Here are 15 awesome facts about our favorite flooring!
2. Bamboo Flooring is Versatile
Bamboo flooring can be used even in difficult rooms like basements. With the proper vapor barrier and installation method, bamboo flooring works great below grade. When you’re looking for the right flooring product for your home, make sure you check the specs on the flooring. Some are better than others for unique areas like basements or bathrooms, or they might require a certain kind of installation that isn’t possible for your specific application.
3. Bamboo is Not Wood
Did you know bamboo is a grass? Many people think it is a type of wood because of how strong and stiff it is, but bamboo is technically a grass. Just because it’s a grass doesn’t mean it’s not one tough fiber! When ranked for hardness along with several types of wood, strand woven bamboo is some of the hardest available.
4. Strand Woven Bamboo is Seriously Sleek and Strong
Strand bamboo is one of the hardest natural fiber planks available. In fact, strand woven bamboo flooring is harder than any hardwood! This makes it a great value and a practical option for anyone who wants a great wood look—but especially for people looking to accommodate pets, kids, and high-traffic area with a low maintenance floor. And even if you don’t want strand woven bamboo but like the look of another type, other kinds of natural bamboo flooring are very durable, too. Depending on the type of bamboo flooring, some are even harder than various kinds of cherry, walnut, and oak wood flooring.
5. Bamboo VS. Steel
Bamboo has a high specific strength, meaning it is strong for its weight compared to some types of steel. Speaking of strength, bamboo’s tensile strength is not as strong as steel, it is remarkably strong for a natural material. Bamboo has a high strength-to-weight ratio and can withstand significant loads. It is commonly used in construction, furniture, and even in some lightweight structural applications.
6. No Pandas Were Harmed in the Making of Your Bamboo Floors
Let’s set the record straight: bamboo flooring does not take food away from panda bears. Moso is the species of bamboo used for flooring, and it’s not on the menu for pandas. No happy little bears went hungry so that you could have beautiful bamboo floors! The elevation and climate where pandas live isn’t suited for Moso bamboo, which is grown in lowlands. Pandas eat over 30 different types of bamboo, most of which are found in the highlands in the Pacific Rim.
7. Bamboo is Better for the Environment
Amazing but true: bamboo doesn’t need pesticides or other chemicals to flourish. Its own fallen leaves help fertilize the soil and provide nutrients back to the roots. This is a nice perk for bamboo growers, but people buying bamboo flooring to put into their homes also like knowing that bamboo harvesting has a lower impact on the environment and is less likely to be a contributing factor to pollution since the growing process is so fast and farmers don’t have to use pesticides or chemicals in the growing process.
8. Bamboo Breathes Better
Talk about a breath of fresh air: bamboo releases 30% more oxygen than other plants. Plus, it absorbs more carbon dioxide from the atmosphere than other kinds of plants. Sure, once it become your floor, it doesn’t do the job of cleaning the air anymore, but it’s nice to know that the bamboo used to make bamboo flooring can be harvested while the shoots remain rooted and continue growing. So in a few years, the bamboo is fully grown again! This makes bamboo a seriously renewable resource.
9. Bamboo Material is Versatile, Too!
In addition to flooring, bamboo is used for a whole lot of interesting products including fabric for clothing, various kinds of furniture and raw material for furnishings, cooking utensils, paper, and even some interesting recreational items like skateboards, fishing poles, and bike frames.
10. Bamboo Floors can be Refinished
Bamboo flooring can be sanded and refinished just like hardwood. They look like new again! All you have to do is sand down the finish layer on top of the planks, refinish them with bamboo flooring finish, and wait until they’re dry—good to go! Some bamboo flooring has fewer coats or other things to consider before refinishing, but it’s pretty amazing that a grass can be made into an awesome floor that will stand the test of time thanks to an occasional refinish.
Check out this video from a floor refinisher that shows what kind of before and after transformation you can get from sanding and refinishing your bamboo floors!
11. Bamboo Has 1500 Siblings
Did you know there are around 1500 different species of bamboo? Bamboo comes in many varieties, and can be used for all sorts of products, but just one is used for bamboo flooring. Moso bamboo, also called phyllostachys edulis, or tortoise-shell bamboo, grows in giant timbers in temperate climates. It’s native to China and Taiwan, but due to its popularity as a building material, now grows elsewhere, too.
12. Bamboo Flooring Has a Unique Caramel Color
Carbonized bamboo flooring isn’t painted or stained brown: it’s toasted like a marshmallow! Okay, not entirely, but the way that it reaches that rich brown tone is by heating. Usually the bamboo is boiled to the point that the sugars in the bamboo fibers caramelize and turn brown. Does carbonized bamboo flooring smell like smores? Sadly, no, but it looks great!
13. Bamboo Flooring is Better for Allergies
Bamboo flooring reduces allergens in your house. Great news for allergy sufferers! Because bamboo floors are naturally smooth and rigid and don’t provide fluff or open cracks for dust and mites to hide, allergens have nowhere to hide. With a simple sweep or even a regular run with your vacuum, you’ll suck up more allergens than if you were trying to clean or care for a surface like carpeting.
14. Bamboo Grows Like a Weed—Er, a Grass!
Bamboo is one of the fastest growing plants on the planet. It even holds a world record! One species has been recorded to grow 90cm per day, which can even be expressed in miles per hour (but it’s not breaking any speed limits at 0.00002mph). This is another reason why it’s a green building material: bamboo flooring grows to maturity in just 5 years. These fast-growing properties make bamboo one impressive plant!
15. Bamboo Flooring is More Water Resistant
Bamboo is more water resistant than hardwood. It’s true! When tested, bamboo flooring fared slightly better than hardwood for moisture tests. It’s still susceptible to damage from persistent water, extreme humidity differences, or problems caused by normal shrinking and swelling if improperly installed. To prevent shrinking and swelling, the National Wood Flooring Association recommends that you keep your interior humidity between 35%–55% humidity. It’s nice to know that bamboo flooring looks just as good as hardwood and has a competitive edge when it comes to moisture.
These are all great to know, but there is so much more information available about bamboo flooring. You can learn about installation methods, color and texture options, how it’s manufactured, and more. Make sure to look around our site to discover everything bamboo flooring has to offer!