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There are 4 main types of Bamboo Floors
- Solid Horizontal Grain: The plank is made up of even sections from the stalk of the plant which is then milled and horizontally bound together by using glue and pressed together into floor planks. This type of Bamboo can be installed on a elastic matted installation system, nailed to plywood or glued to a concrete sub floor and is best suited for use in lower-humidity regions where the flooring will not expand and contract so much.
- Solid Vertical Grain: This type is constructed by using thin strands of bamboo which is bound together vertically by using glue and pressed together into floor planks. This process creates a superior bamboo floor which is stronger and more durable than the average solid wood floor types. Due to the vertical construction these floors have better stability than the horizontal planks and is therefore better for use in coastal areas where more moisture content is present. This type of Bamboo can be installed on a elastic matted installation system, nailed to plywood or glued to a concrete sub floor.
- Solid Strand Woven: This type is constructed by crushing the bamboo fibre and adding resin where after it is cured in block and then machined into planks. The manufacturing process makes this floor superior to other bamboo types and is best for use in commercial application due to being similar in hardness as African Teak. This type of Bamboo can be installed on a elastic matted installation system, nailed to plywood or glued to a concrete sub floor.
- Engineered: This type of plank has a solid bamboo top layer made up out of any of the top 3 styles and the core is a compressed layer of wood or plywood or other less expensive wood types. This type is more suitable for higher humidity regions as it is more resistant to moisture which also makes for a more stable floor with less movement or expansion. The big advantage is that it can be fitted as a floating floor which means that there is no need to fix the floor to the sub-floor, this type of floor makes use of a click lock or tongue and groove system.
You have 3 visible Grain options:
- Horizontal: With this type of the floor the nodes of the plant is the most visible
- Vertical: With a vertical manufactured plank its nodes are less visible and will give a more linear line effect.
- Strand Woven: This floor available in both carbonized and natural has the most consistent and least grain but can also have very distinctive colour variations called tiger planks, as in the picture below where the natural and carbonized crushed bamboo fibres are mixed and due to the resin and curing process this floor is usually about 50% darker in colour than the normal carbonized bamboo.
There are 3 basic colour options available
- Natural: This is the natural colour of the bamboo, which is often described as blonde colour.
- Carbonized: This is usually a brown to dark brown colour which is achieved by placing the bamboo in a kiln to be heated, this process causes the natural sugars in the fibres to be caramelised resulting in a darker shade from amber to coffee.
- Stained: Bamboo flooring can be stained to match the solid wood shade of your choice.
- Strand Woven: Strand Woven bamboo is about 50% darker than the natural or carbonized due to the resin and curing process used in manufacturing.
The Milling Options
- Click System: Each plank is manufactured with interlocking joints, these joints click together holding the plank in place. This reduces fitting time drastically as there is no need for glue to dry and the floor can be used immediately as it eliminates the use of glue. This system is available in the Engineered Bamboo floors.
- Tongue and Groove: Each plank has a tongue on the one side and a groove on the other which slots in with the next plank. This system needs to be glued, in the case of engineered bamboo it can be a floating floor and with solid bamboo it needs to be fixed to the sub-floor by using elastic glue, nailing to plywood or fitted on the elastic matted system.
- Square Edged: This means there is no groove in between the planks and creates a smooth surface finish.
- Micro Bevel: The plank has a slightly rounded edge or bevelled edge giving the effect of single floor planks which gives the floor more definition. This also helps reducing the risk of uneven planks. Hand Scraped floors for example always comes with a micro bevel due to the uneven surface of the plank.
The 2 finishes available
- Unfinished: This is the raw product and needs to be sanded and finished after it is installed, although this might be the cheaper option initially, one has to take the additional cost of sanding the floor and finishing in to consideration.
- Finished: Pre-finished floors are the most common and these are sanded and finished at the factory. These floors are ready to install and drastically reduce the installation time.