After its introduction more than 20 years ago as an environmentally-friendly and sustainable flooring product, bamboo has risen to become a favorite of designers and do-it-yourself homeowners.
Bamboo flooring is fairly inexpensive and as easy to install as most engineered flooring. There are a few bamboo flooring tips and tricks that you can use to ensure the final look is lovely.
Bamboo Flooring Basics
Bamboo flooring is often referred to as a hardwood. However, it is actually a sturdy grass that is highly processed to create the durable materials for flooring, cabinets and other home improvement design elements.
To create the engineered flooring, the strands of grass are thinly sliced and shredded before being pressed together with high heat and sticky glues. The process and the layering forms the sturdy boards.
Benefits of Bamboo
Bamboo holds a few features that make it a solid design choice for homeowners. These favorable characteristics can be broken down into three main categories: horizontal bamboo, vertical bamboo, and strand-woven bamboo.
The knots and knuckles in the grain pattern of the bamboo boards are prevalent in horizontal, whereas vertical bamboo has a uniform, striped appearance. Strand-woven bamboo mixes the varied grass to interlock them for a hardy board that is veritably impenetrable and resistant to scratching or gouging. It is also the most expensive type of bamboo flooring on the market.
The bamboo flooring installation cost is fairly inexpensive, which makes it a popular choice for rentals and weekend warrior remodel projects.
Bamboo Flooring Tips and Tricks
Bamboo flooring is highly engineered, which can lead to defects. When choosing a bamboo manufacturer, consider one that offers a substantial warranty.
Installing bamboo engineered planks is as easy as typical tongue-and-groove wood boards. Cali bamboo flooring boards and other national brands can be installed by most savvy DIYers or by professional installers.
To get around corners or edging, a handsaw is good for cutting engineered bamboo flooring to fit snug in the space.
Cleaning Bamboo Flooring
A quick sweep with a damp mop and mild soap-and-water solution is enough to keep it clean under normal conditions and use. Sweep it on a regular basis to keep dust and debris from collecting on the surface and causing issues over time.
Bamboo flooring doesn't do well with wet conditions over a long period of time. Be sure to wipe up any residual streaks of moisture left behind from mopping.
Bamboo Flooring for Beginners
When it comes to bamboo, you get what you pay for. There are inexpensive bamboo flooring options available on the market, and these can be attractive for thrifty DIYers. However, the inexpensive versions of bamboo flooring are susceptible to scratches, gouging and dings.
Bamboo is highly susceptible to water damage. The grass-based product doesn't do well under high humidity conditions.
Overall, the tonal shades of bamboo flooring are rather limited. Bamboo can be refinished just like other hardwood flooring materials. If the bamboo planks have a thin veneer, you may want to hire a professional to refinish them.
How to Stagger Bamboo Flooring
Start with full-sized planks and lay them down end-to-end across one wall. Place spacers between the planks and the wall, then cut the last flooring plank to fit in that space.
The second row of planks will start a half inch from the first plank's position close to the wall. Follow the same pattern, working right to left, alternating each row as you go. Use remnant pieces close to the wall to assist in the stagger.
For a natural stagger, begin each row at the end of the previous one. When you get toward the end of a row, you will need to cut it to fit. Start the next row with a full-sized plank, using a remnant at the end of that row to fit close to the wall. This will create a natural stagger as you work each row across the room.
Kimberley McGee is an award-winning journalist with 20+ years of experience writing for a variety of clients, including The New York Times, Las Vegas Review-Journal Home section and other national publications. As a professional writer she has researched, interviewed sources and written about home improvement, interior design and related business trends. She earned a B.A. in Journalism from the University of Nevada, Las Vegas. Her full bio and clips can be viewed at www.vegaswriter.com.