Tips on Purchasing the Best Bamboo Flooring for Your Home

Published: 15th January 2010
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You may have had bamboo flooring recommended to you by your contractor because of its affordability or by friends because of its good environmental ratings. The problem you might encounter, however, is that with so many specifications and different options it's hard to figure out what'll work best for your home. Here are a few tips to help you through the decision process.

What Type of Room or Area Is It?

The first thing to look at is what the area will be used for: Is it a passageway or entrance that gets a lot of foot traffic? Is it in a part of your home that gets plenty of humidity or direct sunlight? Is it near a fireplace? Is it likely to get items spilled or dropped on it often? The practical purpose and location of the area will largely determine what type of bamboo flooring you select. The panels come in different thicknesses and strengths, and therefore some are more durable than others. Don't be tempted to go for the cheapest option as these are likely to be the thinner panels. Ensure you choose the right gauge panels to fit the purpose of the room. For heavy traffic areas you will need to go for the thicker and harder types of flooring. These are sometimes called fossilized panels and are typically strand woven. In layman's terms this means that the panels have been manufactured using a technique of intense high compression rendering very durable panels that can be used for heavy duty applications. The same would apply to areas that receive a lot of direct sunlight, are in front of a fireplace or beneath a kitchen sink. The stronger, thicker panels are less likely to warp due to changing temperatures and high levels of humidity.

What Substructure Lies Beneath the Bamboo Flooring?

Bamboo flooring can be placed on just about any surface and can be laid by means of adhesive, nails or as a floating system. Most commonly the flooring will be nailed down where there is a wooden substructure. For concrete, tiles and other substructures, adhesive or a floating system will be used. Some people feel that a nailed down floor won't suit the style of their home, and others are unsure of the toxicity of formaldehydes used in some adhesives. Floating systems solve both these issues but can't always be effectively applied to all substructures. Knowing the substructure will help you decide what installation system to use, and therefore what type of panels to choose.

What Look Are You Going for?

Bamboo flooring comes in wide variety of tones and designs so you're sure to find one to suit your tastes. The natural color of bamboo flooring is blonde, so is suitable if you want a lighter shade in your room. Carbonized panels come in shades of light to medium brown, and stained panels can be matched to practically any tone or color. Panels come in a variety of finishes from matt to high gloss. You can also get unfinished panels which can then be sealed, varnished or polished according to your style preferences after they have been laid. If you are unsure of what'll work best for a particular room, laying unfinished panels will give you the opportunity to make the decision regarding the finish at a later stage.

Who Will Do the Installation?

Because of the simplistic tongue and groove system used for most bamboo flooring panels makes for a straightforward installation, many people choose to install them DIY style rather than using a contractor. If this is you, ensure that the type of panels you choose match the type of application you are capable of. Knocking in nails may seem like a simple task, but if the panels aren't sitting flush, or you haven't measured or cut sections accurately, you may have to pull out nails and redo sections. This can leave unsightly holes or result in you having to purchase additional panels. Some floating systems can also be more complicated, and adhesives can prove to be a messy business. If you are not confident of your DIY abilities then it's probably best to use a reliable contractor instead. The time saving and reduction of wastage may prove to be the most efficient solution.

How Do You Know that the Panels You Select Are Really Eco-friendly?

Bamboo plants take only three to five years to mature as opposed to hardwoods which take decades. Bamboo shoots are also self regenerating, and once cut new shoots grow off the same root system with little need for fertilization. For this reason bamboo flooring is the preferred environmentally friendly option as opposed to hardwood flooring. Where the debate comes in is with the manufacturing processes and the type of adhesives, varnishes, etc. that are used. Check that the supplier you're purchasing from has a FSC certification. FSC stands for the Forestry Stewardship Council which is an international standard, certifying businesses involved with responsible production of forest products. Check that the adhesives or varnishes used in production or installation do not contain formaldehydes which are considered to emit toxic fumes. Suppliers who are serious about environmental sustainability will also have a LEEDS rating. This is a standard which ranks company's production and practices in terms of how "green" they are.

Bamboo flooring provides a practical, cost effective, environmentally sound, and beautiful flooring option. If you follow these tips and guides, you will find it easier to choose a bamboo floor you really like that becomes a gorgeous addition to your home.At Cali Bamboo where we promote the use of bamboo as an alternative product made from renewable resources, that can help make a difference in the future of our planet. Visit online today.

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