Our Stance on Bamboo Flooring

We get a lot of people ask why we don't sell bamboo flooring. We are not against the use of bamboo as a raw material given its potential as a renewable resource. We just haven’t yet discovered a bamboo flooring product that lives up to its promises & meets the standards of quality, performance & reliability which we strive to ensure for our customers. Below we explain various factors in detail...

Our Stance on Bamboo Flooring

Before we introduce a new product to the market our R&D team put it through a series of tests to determine factors such as reaction to heat/sun, reaction to damp/moisture, etc. Our team have done a lot of research on bamboo flooring, having looked into a large number of products from dozens of different suppliers. Unfortunately, very few of them are able to stand up to our rigorous testing.

The inexpensive price of bamboo can seem very attractive to some buyers who are in the hunt for affordable flooring. Bamboo flooring is usually less expensive than solid timber flooring and this comes back to how readily available it is due to the rate at which it can grow. Bamboo is a highly renewable resource and can be harvested in as little as 5-7 years - whereas in contrast to this hardwood trees can take 60+ years to reach full maturity.

In the marketplace Bamboo has become known as an eco-friendly product, but this is not always an accurate portrayal. During the manufacturing process of bamboo flooring, resins are usually added to hold it together. These resins are typically not very environmentally friendly and some of them emit excessive levels of VOC's such as formaldehyde. Aside from this, there is also great concerns for hardwood forests which have taken hundreds of years to grow and are now being cut down and replaced with bamboo forests for commercial purposes.

Bamboo is a grass, not a timber and it has a totally different cell structure to timber. When timber flooring gets wet, the pores of the timber allow the water to get out of the timber again - however, when water gets inside bamboo, the cells don't allow the water to get out again. This has lead to many cases of bamboo flooring swelling, cracking, and becoming very unstable - and because the bamboo does not release the water again these problems don't tend to subside over time.

Bamboo can also react very badly to heat - Heat can cause the resins that hold bamboo together to become brittle, causing cracking, cupping and shrinkage. We would advise extreme caution using bamboo flooring in rooms that may experience warmer temperatures from sources such as direct sunlight, under floor heating, fireplaces, air conditioning etc.

What about durability you say? Many of you would have heard about how hard bamboo flooring is but this is not all true. In the manufacturing process, aluminium oxide (one of the hardest finishes available) is commonly used - However, the underlying bamboo itself is extremely soft and the aluminium oxide is not enough to stop the flooring from scratching and denting. On top of this, Bamboo has no grain pattern and therefore typically has a glossy finish - and with smooth, glossy finishes scratches are extremely noticeable.

As you can see, there are not a lot of positives with bamboo flooring, although we are not without faith that someone will come up with a reliable and environmentally responsible bamboo product in the future!

Date Added: Thursday, 19th October 2017