With a rise in the global acceptance of environmental responsibility, today more and more people are shifting towards the use of green products. This trend is abundantly evident in the choice of flooring material
wherein the demand for Bamboo as a flooring material has shown quite an increase in the recent past.
Today there are three processes by which bamboo tiles or planks are being manufactured. They are:
- The sold bamboo which consists of horizontally or vertically glued rectangular pieces of bamboo,
- The engineered bamboo which consists of wood layers placed below the wear layer generally made of bamboo and
- The strand woven bamboo which is the latest technology of construction being used, wherein adhesive saturated bamboo strands are fused together using enormous pressure to result in a product which is harder and stronger than the traditional bamboo.
While this “grass” is definitely a very good flooring option, there are certain caveats which need to be deliberated on before making the final selection like:
- Providing space for expansion: It is generally seen that when installing bamboo flooring, space left for expansion is only limited to the sides of the same. While this may work very well for hardwood flooring, expansion and contraction in a bamboo floor occurs much more along their lengths than along their width.
- Longevity and durability: It is generally perceived that a bamboo wood floor will be quite durable with a longer life span since bamboo is a very strong fibre. While it is true that bamboo has very strong fibres, the weakness lies in the lignin which bonds them together. Hence even though bamboo fibres are springy, they tend to dent under pressure from a sharp object.
- Effect of relative humidity: On exposure to a high relative humidity, bamboo fibres tend to swell up and expand which in low relative humidity they shrink and try to pull away from the other stands of fibre. Since these fibres are held together with the help of a cross-ply structure especially in an engineered bamboo, they are not able to move resulting in the breakage of the lignin bonds thereby creating cracks on the surface. Hence for regions with fluctuating relative humidity, a solid bamboo which has been well-acclimatised should be used.
- Need to acclimate: It is generally perceived that there is no need to acclimate a bamboo. But this is an absolute myth since they are made up of small pieces glued together, each piece has a tendency to expand and contract in the same direction. Hence even bamboo flooring needs time to acclimate. The good thing about solid bamboo flooring is that it acclimates quickly whereas strand woven bamboo needs a really long time to acclimate, engineered bamboo, however, does not need to acclimate at all because of the process by which it is made.
Yet taking everything into consideration, bamboo flooring is still one of the toughest, most environmentally friendly and the best inexpensive and budget-friendly flooring option available today. Easy to install and very stylish to look at, the bamboo flooring has today become a flooring trend few can afford to miss.