Bamboo Flooring Moisture Content
Not long ago we came across a discussion on a flooring message board that proved to be particularly interesting. It dealt with a consumer that had been told by an installer to acclimate the product by as much as two months which we considered to be a bit on the severe side. However the customer resided in a dry western state. The only confusing part of testing bamboo is how to perform it. Then we put in a call into a representative of Tramex, the world leader in moisture testing.
How To Test?
Considering bamboo is not wood but a grass, the response was to compare samples that we worked with in the past, as they have no calibration for bamboo itself. We thought "what a great response" and have pursued it since. Bamboo will react to moisture swings just as wood flooring will. In earlier days a distributor claimed they had a great product at a great price and wanted to move 40,000 square feet. We thought, why not check it out.
It spooked us to say the least and we avoided it after picking up a sample box and did some testing. Pictured below from left to right: Sample board, actual product, and a product we've had great success with. We were told initially when concerns were expressed about the high moisture content to let it acclimate for two weeks. The reading of 13.5 is two months of acclimation and it's obvious it will not improve. The reading on the far right is one of our proven products that has been sitting in the same environment.
From sample board
Bargain priced bamboo
What's Happening Today? 2015
This story was originally written in 2004. Since there have been improvements as the more recognized brands have taken notice of the issues. Choosing the better brands will give you more piece of mind and not the fire sale or too good to be prices. With regards to dry climates, acclimation periods should be extended as long as possible.
Some of the better manufacturers: