Strand woven bamboo flooring is a little-known type of flooring that is destined not to remain a secret for long.
Like regular bamboo flooring, it is one of the most environmentally responsible ways to cover your floor, yet unlike standard bamboo, it has the beauty and grain of hardwood as well as double the durability and toughness of many hardwoods such as oak, maple, or cherry wood.
Bamboo is a type of grass that grows rapidly, and when it is cut, it replaces itself within 3 to 5 years. Compare this with the 15 to 25 years it takes to replace trees cut for wood, and you can see it makes ecological sense compared to something like oak flooring.
The bamboo plant itself is not uprooted when harvested and continues to sprout from its extensive root system, a system that itself helps prevent soil erosion and landslides in susceptible areas.
When the plant is cut, every part is used, either shredded for regular bamboo flooring or in long strands for the strand is woven bamboo floors, so nothing is wasted. The material is boiled to remove starches and sugars (which would attract termites and other pests), and then it is mixed with resins and low VOC (volatile organic compounds) glue and then bonded with heat and high pressure to form a block from which planks are cut, exactly like regular hardwood planks.
If you compare a strand woven bamboo floor to a regular one, you will see that the strand woven floor has a grain and variability to it, very like natural wood, whereas regular bamboo does not look like wood as it has a consistent look which may seem unnatural, especially over large expanses of the floor.
Also, the strand woven flooring is twice as hard as regular bamboo or hardwood on the Janka hardness rating scale used for measuring how much pressure is required to damage a surface.
If you want to save money, you may already be thinking about getting a good deal compared to hardwood by using bamboo flooring. Strand woven flooring costs slightly more than normal bamboo, but it is still a good deal cheaper, probably half the price of hardwood, and you will be getting the same hardwood flooring look with a natural material, unlike a laminate floor.
Installation of Strand Woven Bamboo Flooring
The flooring can be installed using any of the normal methods of wood floor installation – by a click system, hidden nails, or glue, depending on the brand of planks you buy. It is no more difficult to install than wood, and any hardwood flooring installer should be able to offer installation of this material too. The only slight difference is that you should let the planks acclimatize to the environment longer than with wood. 72 hours is suggested as a rule of thumb but check with the manufacturer or packaging instructions.
Once installed, strand woven bamboo flooring is just like any other hardwood except much tougher and more environmentally friendly. You can sand and refinish it like wood to change the color if you want, although this is not necessary as it comes in many different shades, from light honey to dark chocolate browns.
Caring for Strand Woven Bamboo Flooring
Bamboo flooring planks are generally finished with a tough coat of polyurethane sealant, which helps protect them,m but this in itself can be scratched, so it is important to keep your floor free of grit and hard particles by sweeping or vacuuming every few days.
Avoid letting pets’ claws get too long by keeping them trimmed, and don’t drag heavy furniture across your floor and expect it to remain unscathed. It won’t! To clean the floor, wipe with a well wrung out cloth or mop. You can use a mild soap solution if you like but don’t go overboard, as too much water can damage the flooring.
Use mats at doors to stop grit from being brought in on people’s shoes and put rugs in areas where lots of standing occurs, such as in front of sinks, stoves, and worktops. Also, buy some good quality furniture coasters to put under the legs of chairs and tables.
You will probably find that your bamboo flooring lasts for years with just a little care and attention, but if it does get damaged, you can sand it down (provided it is not sealed with a wax finish) and refinish it like any wood floor – although it may be best to hire a professional to do this for you.
You can also buy bamboo flooring that is already sanded and ready to refinish, but this is more expensive.
When installed and cared for properly, bamboo floors can last for many years, making them a sound investment for your home.
Bamboo Floor Scratch Remover
If scratches do occur, then use a scratch repair kit you can normally get from the store where you bought your flooring. Alternatively, disguise light scratches with a stain pen that matches the color of your floor. For deeper scratches, fill with wood putty and buff to a smooth finish before using the stain pen and then finishing with a polyurethane coating to blend in with the rest of your floor.
How to Polish Bamboo Floors
Once every few months, you should give your bamboo floor a good polish. This will help keep it looking new and lustrous for longer. You can buy special bamboo floor cleaners, but any PH-neutral cleaner for laminate or wood floors will do the job just as well. Follow the instructions on the bottle and then rinse with a damp cloth before drying thoroughly with a clean, dry towel.
Never use wax polish on your bamboo floor, as this will eventually dull the surface. If you have any old wax build-up, then strip it off with a special wax stripper before continuing to clean and polish as normal.
Now you know how easy it is to take care of bamboo floors, and you can enjoy their beauty for many years to come.