Bamboo has been used as a self-renewing building material for thousands of years. A member of the grass family, bamboo provides the natural beauty and feel of a wood floor yet produces hardwood fiber much more quickly than trees. In fact, bamboos are some of the fastest growing plants in the world. On an established plant, bamboo poles mature in about five years. These poles are then removed to allow the rest of the plant to continue to grow. Bamboo benefits from its harvest as the plant’s energy then gets redirected to grow new replacement shoots as well as to the other poles left behind.
There are two main types of bamboo flooring: strand bamboo and milled bamboo.
Strand bamboo, sometimes called strand woven, is made from post-industrial recycled bamboo remnants leftover from making other products. The recycled bamboo strands are laid together like celery strings into a resin and then pressed with heat, which results in a very hard material. In the manufacture of strand bamboo, there is no splitting or milling. Although its bamboo appearance is subtle, strand bamboo has become a popular flooring material.
Milled bamboo has the original bamboo look. The thick-walled timber bamboo (typically Moso) is milled into thin splits laid up to form the width of the flooring planks. Milled bamboo can be produced with a horizontal or vertical grain. The grain refers to the way the bamboo poles are cut.
Horizontal grain produces strips about one inch in width, preserving the characteristic bamboo look with pronounced nodes. In its manufacture, the bamboo is split as chords taken around the stalk perimeter.
Vertical grain produces thinner strips of about a quarter of an inch in width. The narrow strips mimic a straight wood grain, giving the flooring an appearance similar to traditional hardwood. The bamboo is cut radially (“quartersawn”) through the wall of the bamboo. The end product is slightly harder than horizontal grain
Find out below about the origins and other features of this durable and sustainable material in our gallery.
See the swatch samples below for examples of bamboo flooring types we carry and visit our showroom for distressed and other bamboo flooring varieties.