Specialty Floor Types
Repair & Care Of Floors
Bamboo Maintenance Problems
The title chosen for this article isn't entirely accurate as some consumers have had good experiences with bamboo floors. For others, since bamboo became popular as a flooring alternative, much has been discussed on the topic of being a maintenance and care problem. More likely they scratch, ding, and dent far too easily and the salesman or manufacturer claimed they were harder than maple floors. Why they chose maple floors as a barometer is beyond me. Maple flooring can be a problem due to it's open graining being more susceptible to show damage compared to other hardwood species.
When bamboo floors were introduced to the USA in the mid 90's there was very little information on the subject with flooring. We heard all the claims from being the most often used form of building material in many parts of Asia. What else would they use in the far east? Bamboo is abundant, grows fast and can be replenished faster than common hardwood. It is also stronger than common pine used here in the states for residential construction.
Here's The Gist
Bamboo being manufactured into flooring can be of different quality. Harvesting too early results in a weaker and softer end product. Many of the scratching and denting claims by consumers are directly attributed to this. Bamboo needs a maturity time during the growth cycle to achieve it's hardness properties. Leading to the confusion could be there are no common standards to oversee production as there are in the states.
Sure bamboo may be an ideal construction material, but had it been tested as a flooring material to be sold in the USA? American consumers desire durable quality. Somebody did not put two and two together. Considering there was very little effort being handled to assure us we are getting a good quality bamboo, any 'ole group of people could suddenly become an exporter.
Pricing differences are large. More times than not, lower priced bamboo floors are priced low for a reason. As in other forms of retailing, pricing typically dictates quality. Green bamboo is far more abundant than more mature higher quality bamboo.How To Shop For A More Durable Bamboo?
You could simply try the fingernail test while shopping. You may want to try the test first on a common sample such as a solid red oak. Grab a sample and press your thumbnail into the surface. Bamboo that has not reached maturity will be much softer, the indentation will be larger and more noticeable.
Site Of Interest: Tree Hugger - great feedback from many in the bamboo industry.