Bamboo can grow over three feet in 24 hours, making it the fastest growing plant on the planet. It also only takes three to five years to mature, as compared to most hardwoods which can take up to two decades. For environment-conscious homeowners, this adds up to a solid renewable resource for quality flooring.
You might not think of bamboo as a flooring option right away. Because the plant doesn’t grow in the United States, it hasn’t been a mainstream choice for very long. However, it is becoming more popular. If you’re in the market for a dazzling new floor (and who isn’t?), it’s time to hook up your trusty Internet connection and do some research.
Strand is one of the more popular bamboo flooring types you’ve likely heard about on the market. Let’s see if this flooring can survive the gauntlet and take home the prize: being taken home by you.
- Why bamboo?
- Is it durable?
- How much does it cost?
- What styles are available?
- Is it easy to install?
- The Verdict
Strand bamboo flooring is an eco-friendly alternative to many traditional materials. It’s created by fusing together strips and fragments of bamboo in a process which doesn’t waste materials, and creates few byproducts. Because the plant grows quickly, manufacturers can create more flooring without devastating the environment.
Manufacturers claim strand bamboo is durable and simulates many of the same pleasures as hardwood, without the additional effort required to make boards or tiles from traditional materials. The surface is easy to clean & can withstand the abrasion from a mop and mild soap.
Is it durable?
Strand is believed to be twice as durable as red oak, but this isn’t always the case. Bamboo can be damage resistant and can withstand light to medium daily use, but it is highly susceptible to scratches and damage from sharp objects. Despite being an extremely hard wood, the process of coloring it can weaken the structure.
Of particular concern: watch out for strand bamboo that’s been carbonized. This process darkens the wood but also weakens the structural material. Dark floor tiles are more likely to scratch, chip, bend, and develop other types of problems in comparison to lighter counterparts.
Unless you choose an option with an additional layer of laminate on the top, you might want to keep your high heels and pets away from your new floor. However, when you have strand bamboo with the extra laminate layer, you can expect this product to withstand the daily rigors of a busy household. Dust and other particles in the air are also unlikely to scratch the surface, which helps you avoid unsightly blemishes.
How much does it cost?
Strand bamboo comes in all shapes, sizes, and costs. However, you can expect spend an average of $2 to $6 per square foot, with additional expenses depending on the material’s fabrication. Some developers will create designs using the bamboo, usually mimicking the natural contours of the plant – or tiger stripes. These styles will typically cost more than regular wood options – which have been dyed to fit a uniform color.
Another factor affecting the cost is the warranty. You never know when the floor will give out from under you, and it’s nice to know you will be covered. Many producers include a residential limited lifetime warranty and a 15-year commercial warranty, although the length & cost of these are generally dependent on the overall cost of the product.
For someone seeking a reliable floor at a reasonable price, strand isn’t a bad choice.
What styles are available?
Strand bamboo comes in just about every shade of wood currently available on the market. Many styles mimic colors found in natural hardwoods, including walnut, cherry, oak, and ash. You can also choose between laminated or not, which changes the level of shine on the surface. You can choose between little to no glare, all the way up to high shine – for the extra glamorous. 🙂
As mentioned earlier, some manufacturers will also weave patterns into the bamboo strands so homeowners can truly customize their floors with a unique appearance. Tiger stripes are popular, as is mimicking the natural structure and style of bamboo. Otherwise, you can find strand that mimics typical boards.
Because of the strand creation process, you will be hard-pressed to find two tiles or boards which look exactly alike. This is beneficial for you, in the end, because the floor should look more natural. Essentially, you would have the choice between strand bamboo that looks like itself or a product that can be mistaken for other materials.
Is it easy to install?
Very few people want to spend several labor intensive days trying to put in a new floor, so the ease of installation is an important factor. Depending on the type of strand bamboo you buy, you could either glue or nail it down. In addition, you might find tongue-and-groove panels that can be interlocked.
It’s important to remember that strand bamboo needs to be given at least 48-72 hours to acclimatize to the new environment. And, you don’t want to install in an area with too much or too little humidity. Note: Some variations can even take up to 30 days to acclimate.
Strand bamboo requires a lot of special considerations. You can’t use a water or latex-based adhesive because the extra moisture can warp and split the boards. The material is also harder than typical hardwood, so you need a more advanced nail gun to keep the flooring in place. Many styles can also require annual waxing or oiling, which adds another step to installation and upkeep.
If you want something simple to install, strand bamboo might not be for you. It’s finicky and it’s very easy to accidentally split or ruin the boards – meaning you can run through a lot of spares, wasting an uncomfortably large chunk of money.
If you’re a unique soul who wants a unique floor, then strand bamboo could be for you. It’s environmentally friendly, sustainable, and creative. The only downside is you need to be willing to put in the work to maintain it, otherwise the flooring may become damaged and warped over time.
You might also want to consider hiring a professional to help with the installation, since it’s pretty easy to mess up. Klutzes or the forgetful most certainly shouldn’t handle this install on their own.
If you have any experience with strand bamboo, please share your reviews, pictures, and video here and on social media. What you’ve encountered can go a long way to helping someone find the floor of their dreams, or avoid possible sad flooring regret.