Bamboo flooring

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I was talking to a buddy of mine today and he mentioned that he was having his kitched floors redone with bamboo. For a long time I was incredulous, cause I always thought bamboo was this nice round segmented bush/tree that was rife with problems - it was small and round, it was relatively soft, it harbored bacteria, and it was hollow.
He mentioned something about how it was processed into a composite material that was harder than oak and very long lasting. What gives, when did bamboo become a flooring material of choice?
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typed:

I looked at some at Lumber Liquidators and decided bamboo is what I was going to buy. They have one style advertised on their web site at $1.99 per sq ft.
<URL:http://www.lumberliquidators.com/cart/index.php?p=productsList&iCategory=4
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Jeff Bailey

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I have been involved in several large bamboo projects while managing a large well-known flooring company. We saw and were hired to fix problems that other contractors experienced and had we some of our own. In the end, we pulled it from our showrooms and made it an ask-for item. The problems were mainly excessive splitting from nailing and 'staining' when trying to apply water-based finish.
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On Fri, 11 Aug 2006 15:49:16 -0700, "Eigenvector"

It has been around for some years. I've seen two varieties depending on the kind of cut. It is very strong. Personally, I prefer the look of white oak, sugar maple, or hickory.
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Eigenvector wrote:

The inner portion is soft, the outer part is quite hard. There are a multitude of varieties of bamboo, some of which can reach heights of 120 ft or so which are quite large in diameter and consequently, have sizable thickness of the outer layer required to support that kind of height.

Oh, about 5000 years ago or so.... :)
There are several ways to process it, from simply milling the larger stems noted above into usable pieces of material similar to more familiar sawmill operation, lamininating multiple thinner pieces a la laminated beams to chipboard-style usages.
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Bamboo is a fast growing grass something like 6" in height or so per day so unlike tress it could be harvested multiple times. It's more water resistant, harder and more stable than many hardwood species which makes it a good flooring material. I would say its a material of choice but certainly I wouldn't have any problem laying bamboo flooring in my house.
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I would consider it but, fyi, Consumer Reports does state that it is subject to fading.
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snipped-for-privacy@gmail.com wrote:

yes, but the natural finish is very yellowy, and it darkens quite a bit, but that is a better look imho. Gotta watch rugs and such near the windows. All real wood does this BTW.
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# Fred # wrote: ...

Some species may grow as much as nearly 4 _feet_ in height a day.
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The bamboo samples I checked out were quite hard indeed much harder than red oak or maple, and because of its stability, it would seem to make a good kitchen flooring. It also looks very good, but I agree that natural hardwood looks better for the variations of grain patterns and such. I am surprised that the Chinese haven't figured out a way to make bamboo studs and beam from the fiber. Given bamboo's fast growth and easy farming, it would be great to reduce the use of tree lumber from forests for building material.
dpb wrote:

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I am surprised that the Chinese haven't figured out a way to

The Chinese are more interested in eating the shoots than playing with the bamboo fiber.
Seriously, have you seen the use of bamboo as scaffolding in high-rise buildings in places like China and Hong Kong? Its preferred over steel scaffolding in that part of the woods. As for bamboo studs and beams I think its stronger than wood per weight but how do you nail it together?
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Alan wrote:

This is just a matter of personal taste. It's a different look. We're used to the hardwood look, but wood is just one material that can be used as a floor, and it's just a matter of being open-minded to other looks. The trick, for me, was just to realize that it's *not* wood. If you stop comparing it to hardwood, you will stop thinking it looks "inferior" and will instead just think it looks different.
For me, I actually like that it has all the properties of a good hardwood floor, but with a different look. We have a whole lotta hardwood in my house already, but we're doing one room in bamboo just for variety's sake.
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Alan wrote:

I have vertical [natural] bamboo, and it is nowhere near a hard as oak. My dog has clawed it up [without breaking the finish] and has not done so on the oak in my house. So although I like it, the hardness stuff is bs.
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It *is* harder than Oak, and about as hard as Maple. Hardness is relatively easy for the manufacturers to test. BTW, a dog will have no problems clawing up Oak or Maple either.
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Keith Williams wrote:

OK, it *ISNT* harder than oak, because I have had the house for 10 years, with the same dog, and the 10 year old[actually 16 yo] oak floors are relatively speaking, undamaged. So there is a gravity shift between my living room and my hallway[and bedrooms] then bamboo is in fact not harder than oak.
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The traffic pattern is identical? By all measures I've seen, it is harder than oak, though perhaps not maple. Of course I'd not have hardwood floors and untrained dogs either.
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yes but you do not have it in your house now do you? Comparison 9years oak floor little scratching, 2 years bamboo, plenty of scratches. One would expect better from the harder wood
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Bamboo, yes. Hardwood? Not in this house.

I've had it for 18mo. and a friend for about 3 years. No problems.
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Keith Williams wrote:

Well, it is relatively easy to test a single sample or even a particular manufacturer's product that is controlled to use the same raw material and go through the same process(es). But there are so many varieties of bamboo and such variability between them that you might as well be comparing an average of all the hardwood species in North America and claiming "it" is harder or softer than, say, Brazilian Cherry--it's apples and oranges.
A _very_ quick search found Janka hardness ratings for bamboo floorings from 1820 to 1155 on a set of roughly a half-dozen "samples". Beyond the factor of which bamboo was used to begin with, the hardness of a flooring will depend strongly on vertical/horizontal grain, composite/sawn material, caramelized treatment for color (softens it a bunch), etc., etc., etc., ...
The upshot is both sides of the argument here could well be right--some samples test as hard as or harder than either white (~1360 typical) or red (~1300 typical) oak while others don't come close.
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I have "engineered" bamboo floors and they dent easier than hardwood, but thats because its a thin layer of bamboo over a plywood backing. I thing "pure" bamboo would hold up much better. What kind do you have?
S
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