Bamboo flooring has exploded in popularity in the DC, Maryland and Virginia area since I first started shipping it from Washington state nearly 15 years ago. In fact, when showing samples to clients, I got used to being the first one to open this door for them. This is no longer the case as many have seen it in place or at least heard about it.
As a US Green Building Council LEED AP, I’m excited about the advances made in environmentally-responsible flooring, especially bamboo.
If you’ve never seen it, you’re in for a nice surprise.
Not only is bamboo beautiful, it’s durable and stable.
Bamboo also grows quickly (renewing itself every 5 – 6 years).
It’s technically a “grass” but performs much the same as hardwood, which grows much more slowly.
It’s so tough, in fact, that it is used as scaffolding for building construction in some Asian countries.
One of the first things I’m often asked is how it performs.
Well, I haven’t had a performance call-back, although I’m sure there may be someone out there who is not 100% satisfied.
Since bamboo is so hard (harder than red oak), it can take abuse.
It’s also more moisture-stable than any hardwood floor and is suitable for below-grade applications (basements…)
One thing to note, however, is that the hardness figures most commonly discussed are for natural bamboo.
When using carbonated or “caramelized” bamboo (bamboo that has been steamed to darken the color) the hardness rating drops to about that of standard maple.
Natural Bamboo Flooring Advantages:
Installation Ease – Any good hardwood installer (or handy home-owner) can install bamboo, since it goes down just like wood. And, since it’s stable, it can be glued over concrete as well.
Hardness – Natural-finish bamboo is harder than maple.
Variety – Carbonized (bamboo that has been steamed to darken its color) is slightly softer. We have installed bamboo in a number of different applications and it has performed beautifully in each one. Some manufacturers now offer fantastic styles and we carry them all, including custom color options for quantities over 500 square feet.
ABOVE – Horizontal Carbonized Bamboo Flooring
…nice character variations plank-to-plank.
And here is a “green” flooring option video just to give as much info as possible to you:
Now, this being said, here is an email from someone who chose not to use my services:
“Hi. You gave me an estimate some time ago for installing a bamboo floor on Ridge Rd in Old Greenbelt. Unfortunately I chose to go with a competitor (*** Floors) due to a sale they were having on materials and things didn’t go too well. The floor buckled in the humid summer months, possibly partly because it was placed without enough space for expansion. I don’t want to pay *** to fix the problem and was wondering if you would be willing to take a look and consider the job. I’ll also need a few finishing touches – thresholds and stepdowns in a couple of places. Look forward to hearing from you.”
We always strive to be reasonably-priced, however, sometimes a “great deal” can turn out to not be worth what you’ve paid. The above homeowner will wind up paying more than double what I would have initially charged since she will get the job done twice.
If you would like information about “green flooring” such as bamboo and cork, if you are interested in oa specific product, or if you’re just as excited about great floors as we are, call us at (703) 370-0000 or send me an email. Chris.
Main Reception Area To Chesapeake Bay Foundation in Annapolis, MD.
This specific example shows a carbonized border with a field of natural horizontal plank.
For the utmost in environmentally-responsible choices, they opted for a wax finish over the polyurethane/aluminum oxide combination.
It requires more maintenance and shows scratches in the wax, but it is very “green!”