Flooring

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"HeyBub" wrote:

Check with Consumer Reports.
They ran the tests.
Lew
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Lew Hodgett wrote:

Good idea? Got their number handy?
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On Wed, 01 Jul 2009 01:01:29 GMT, "Lew Hodgett"

and hallways. I used the vertical stacked medium carbonized version. I liked it a lot, except it looked "too perfect". Kinda like a bowling alley. It seemed to wear well, though it does dent. We also have it in this house, though in a horizontal light carbonized, in the great room, hall, and dining room. This stuff is clearly different than what we used in the previous house. It scratches badly (it's a new house and was badly scratched before we moved in) and has faded a lot. It's clear looking at the line under the door to a closet.
Bottom line - I liked it a lot in our previous house. I don't like this stuff at all. Why the difference? - no clue, but I'd probably rip this stuff out and do wood if it weren't glued down (slab construction).
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"krw" wrote:

Thank you for the input.
The stuff C/R tested didn't dent or scratch.
There must be several grades of bamboo flooring.
Lew
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Lew Hodgett wrote:

Or Consumer Reports was trying to dent it with a wet noodle and scratch it with a pencil eraser, which would be par for the course for them.
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Like everything sold in this world, there are many brands, different manufacturers and different processes and finishes. The cheap crap doesn't last nor wear as well as the quality stuff. You cannot just consider that it is bamboo and not look at the many other factors involved.
Some people want bamboo because they consider it a "green" product using renewable resources. These people haven't considered that bamboo flooring is made up of little strips of the material that takes considerable work to machine then is all glued together with "who knows what ingredients" unknown glue that may outgass toxic chemicals. Most are made in China where quality control varies greatly and the finishes they use can be as bad as the glues they use. Buyer beware.
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Lew Hodgett wrote:

I, personally, wouldn't put much faith in any CR testing...
There are, indeed, a multitude of grades and the hardness of bamboo in actual testing varies from softer than some pine to harder than hard maple (nominal values, of course, all woods have inherent variability in properties within the same species far more than most other materials).
There have been quite a number of articles in both FHB and FWW over the last several years on bamboo; most (but not all iirc) of the flooring applications in FHB as one would expect while the FWW concentrated more on its use as cabinetwood, counters, etc. Anyway, the upshot of the evaluations I recall ottomh include that how the flooring is manufactured from either end or side grain and very importantly, the actual species used makes a big difference. As well, the caramelizing process used to impart color has a large negative impact on the hardness of all types, again affecting some more pronouncedly than others. The darker the coloring, the more susceptible the end product to denting, etc.
There is a pretty good manufacturers' association and other web sites with more information; if you're really interested/serious I'd recommend them and doing a search on the Taunton FHB site for some more in-depth looking at the variables involved and particularly there for a couple of articles that discuss bamboo itself from the wood characteristics in a fair amount of detail. It ain't much at all like other woods in some important ways; similar in others.
--
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: Lew Hodgett wrote: :> :> The stuff C/R tested didn't dent or scratch. :> :> There must be several grades of bamboo flooring.: ...
: I, personally, wouldn't put much faith in any CR testing...
: There are, indeed, a multitude of grades and the hardness of bamboo in : actual testing varies from softer than some pine to harder than hard : maple (nominal values, of course, all woods have inherent variability in : properties within the same species far more than most other materials).
: There have been quite a number of articles in both FHB and FWW over the : last several years on bamboo; most (but not all iirc) of the flooring : applications in FHB as one would expect while the FWW concentrated more : on its use as cabinetwood, counters, etc. Anyway, the upshot of the : evaluations I recall ottomh include that how the flooring is : manufactured from either end or side grain and very importantly, the : actual species used makes a big difference. As well, the caramelizing : process used to impart color has a large negative impact on the hardness : of all types, again affecting some more pronouncedly than others. The : darker the coloring, the more susceptible the end product to denting, etc.
To add to this excellent post, I planned to use bamboo flooring in my home office, but was dissuaded when I fond that every sample I could lay my hands on dented very easily, and it's not recommended for a dry climate.
I have gone with bamboo-look laminate, which is cheaper, harder, and very nice looking.
    -- Andy Barss
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On Mon, 6 Jul 2009 18:22:18 +0000 (UTC), Andrew Barss

Again, my sample size is two but I've found the opposite. The "medium caramelized" I installed in VT was much harder than the "light caramelized" I have here. Maybe the vertical laminations are harder than the horizontal. Dunno. I'd do the stuff I did on my last house again. This stuff, not so much.

I had no problems with it in VT. I would have loved to put it in the bedrooms, but was moving so just threw down some new carpeting.

More information?
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krw wrote:

I wondered how long it would take...and surprised it took this long! :)
The key in the above on caramelization and hardness that was implied but not specifically stated is that the effect is within the same species and grain orientation, not strictly monotonic across all species/grades/manufacturing.
--
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Long?
So it's a crap shoot? I bought pretty cheap bamboo, since I was planning on selling the house in a couple of years. I went with bamboo mainly because it looked good and was cheaper than replacing the vinyl. It worked. I managed to sell the house at the end of '07.
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krw wrote:

It was five (5) days since I posted the comments on bamboo that included the caramelization issue remarked upon... :)
I had expected after I reread the post it would be about 5 minutes, tops...

Pretty much...the summary articles in FWW and FHB (and the data on manufacturers' organization website confirm) there's such a wide variation in basic properties between the various species and manufacturing processes used it's only looking at specific test data for a specific product that makes any sense.
Price isn't necessarily that much of a guide to the hardness in particular; it seems w/ bamboo flooring products more in other areas such as the orientation, finish durability, variability within product, etc., ...
--
--

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Oh, I was replying thru Andrew (hadn't seen your post earlier).

If you can trust any tests the manufacturer or retailer post.

The finish quality is an obvious place for differences. The difference in the substrate is a bit surprising, though. I guess wood isn't much different.
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krw wrote: ...

The bulk of the data in the FHB/FWW articles on bamboo characteristics itself came from USFS or similar sources...otoh, if the product manufacturers' trade associations are fronting bogus data, then there's little one can find to use on any product w/o testing it oneself.

That's the whole point -- wood and bamboo are nothing alike--their structures and properties are vastly different. Add to that there are a "veritable plethora" of species of bamboo which have properties that range from softer than some pines to harder than sugar maple, to consider that just because a flooring material is made from _some_ species of bamboo is essentially meaningless.
--
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If it varies so much, how can you know what you're buying?

I don't see any species of bamboo listed in catalogs. I guess bamboo isn't a useful product any more than "wood" is.
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On Wed, 01 Jul 2009 03:59:45 GMT, "Lew Hodgett"

It *does* dent, like anything else. It may be harder than maple, but it certainly *does* dent. Whack it with a hammer... ;-)

I think there are. The stuff I put down in my previous house was pretty cheap (<$2.50/sq.ft. IIRC). I bought it over the Internet and had it shipped (pretty cheap, amazingly). Of course, the crap they put in this house may have even been cheaper.
If you go with bamboo, I'd make sure to look at the vertical laminated version before you buy. I like it a *lot* better than the more common horizontal lamination.
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krw" wrote:

These days I' let others make those decisions, I just send in the check on the 1st of the month.
Lew
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