Bamboo flooring is becoming increasingly popular as a choice for many home owners today, this popularity is also shared by flooring suppliers too and for this reason it is important to spend some time getting to understand this interesting economic and environmentally friendly choice of wooden flooring. Perhaps one of the driving factors that is making bamboo flooring attractive is that bamboo is easy to grow and easy for producers to replenish after cutting. Bamboo can be grown in tropical climates as many of us know but it can even been grown successfully in temperate climates as far north as Ireland and the northern part of Japan.
Color and co-ordination with bamboo
Bamboo is an ideal wooden floor material to use as it can be colored to fit in with your room furnishings. Unlike more traditional wooden floor materials such as pine and softwoods it lends itself to be being stained or painted to color co-ordinate with your existing furniture so that you are not faced with a “truck roll” furniture replacement in order to make sure that your furnishings and flooring do not clash. If you are installing bamboo floors and want to retain the natural appeal of the wood you can mix laying the floor using vertical or horizontal cuts to either create a smooth appearance or more of a mosaic effect.
Painting or varnishing bamboo wood is another option to color co-ordinate your bamboo floors, however you need to take care with direct sunlight as bamboo is porous and direct exposure to sunlight can cause the painted colors of bamboo to fade. Using drapes and light linen blinds to block the direct sunlight will increase the long effective life of your bamboo flooring without the need for heavy duty maintenance.
Decrease the eco impact of installing your floors with bamboo
Bamboo is able to be produced in many different climates and this means that you and your flooring suppliers can source bamboo for your floors from producers who are local to you. Unlike hardwood flooring that may require that the hardwood is supplied from Southern Asia or South America, you are able to ensure yourself that the wood being supplied comes from trustworthy suppliers who practise environmentally friendly manufacturing practices and rejuvenation of the wood that has been harvested. Because this supply line is quite short as you can source your wood from local suppliers, the supplier you pick should be able to show you their American manufacturing and replanting certificates that show they are a responsible supplier.
Do consider the environmental impact of your choice of wooden floors carefully as to decide to install hardwood floors even if they are produced responsibly can mean that they will have to be transported many thousands of miles. You know that transporting this heavy material so far will have a serious environmental impact, so consider this very carefully.
Where you shouldn’t use bamboo floors
Bamboo flooring can be used in many of the rooms in your home; however there are some locations where it is not advisable to install them. Generally any room where the floor is constantly likely to get wet is not a good place to lay bamboo floors. The primary candidates here are bathrooms, shower rooms, laundry rooms and kitchens. Also don’t install bamboo floors in entrance hallways, should your home be in an area where people can come running in with wet shoes, boots, coats and umbrellas they can inadvertently put bamboo floors at risk.
Even the smallest crack in your floor varnish can allow water to enter and this can cause the bamboo to expand, as it does so it causes the flooring to rise and progressively destroy the varnish from below.
Strand bamboo and humidity
Strand bamboo is the most commonly used bamboo flooring, cheap durable and easily available, it is the best bamboo choice for flooring in your home. However you need to take note that it responds to humidity, either dry or wet conditions can cause a damaging effect. Unlike hardwood strand bamboo will respond to excess humidity and if the air in your room is humid, the flooring will begin to swell bulge and warp.
But this is not all, dry conditions will also cause damage, with too little water strand woven bamboo will start shrinking, drying out and causing your floor to crack. If you live in temperate climate zones such as in Europe or many parts of North America, you will be unlikely to face these problems unless you fit bamboo floors into naturally humid rooms like bathrooms. But even here if you are planning to install bamboo floors in basements where humidity is a problem, you need to make sure that you have installed de-humidifiers to avoid damage to your bamboo floors.
If heat is a problem, turn on your air conditioners on hot sticky days as these suck out the moisture and protect your bamboo floors and also make you more comfortable. During the winter when your home may be damp and cold, use your heating and de-humidifiers to raise the temperature to avoid further damage.