Bamboo Floating Floors

Bamboo is a great alternative to traditional timber

Are you in the process of building your new home, or perhaps doing a refurbishment on your existing residence? If so, you may be looking for perfect floor covering solutions. In the past, carpet was a cheap and often preferred flooring finish. Other alternatives were tiles, lino and wooden floors. Bamboo flooring has been on the market for over ten years now, however over the past couple of years years – many suppliers of bamboo flooring have lifted their games and the quality and price is excellent. Bamboo floating floors are now a practical, economic, stylish and unique addition to your home or workplace.

Why bamboo and other hard surface flooring?

Carpet is still a common choice for bedrooms, it’s soft under foot and warm in the cooler months. So why is the market for carpet in living areas and the likes declining? Unlike hard flooring surfaces, carpet is great at trapping dirt, grime and liquids. Modern society commonly suffers from raspatory conditions like asthma, and carpet hides many bugs and mites that cause reactions.

Hard floors like bamboo, wood and tiles are quick to clean and don’t hide any nasties out of site. So why was carpet ever used? In comparison, carpet was cheap and didn’t have some of the problems associated with hardwood floors and tiles. What are these problems?

Issues such as:

  • Too cold in the winter months
  • Hard under foot and causing impact injuries with children and adults alike
  • Expensive
  • Timber causing devastating environmental impacts
  • Timber floors being eaten by termites / white ants

Back on track, where is the bamboo floating floor on this list? It isn’t, lets address the issues above!

Too cold in the winter months: Whilst not as warm as carpet, bamboo is still a great choice. Bamboo floors are generally “floating floors” – the boards are glues together and float on top of a 2mm foam underlay. This system raises the floor from the sub structure and insulates from cold concrete slabs.

Hard under foot and causing impact injuries with children and adults alike: As mentioned above, the bamboo floor is commonly floated on a foam underlay. This makes the floor soft under foot, quiet and both the bamboo floorboards and underlay allow some shock absorption – minimising injuries (especially with little ones running around). Have you ever dropped a glass on a tiled floor and it didn’t break? Generally very unlikely, however with bamboo – whilst still extremely strong, most dropped items won’t break.

Expensive: Bamboo used in flooring is generally harvested after five years, a very short time in comparison to hardwood – 30 to 100 plus years. This fast harvesting cycle allows high output without the damage associated with clear falling timber. Most bamboo floating floors come pre finished, so the need to sand and seal the boards in your home during installation is removed. These factors reduce the total cost of floor installations.

Timber causing devastating environmental impacts: As mentioned above, the bamboo used in floating floors is harvested every five years. The new plant simply shoots from the existing root system. Bamboo is the greatest natural carbon sink know to mankind – for its ability to absorb carbon dioxide and release oxygen into the environment. Virtually all of the bamboo is used in the finished product – small limbs from clear fallen hardwood timber is generally burnt or left to waste.

Timber floors being eaten by termites / white ants: Bamboo is not a wood, it’s a grass! Termites don’t touch it!

Bamboo Flooring Frequently Asked Questions:

Q) Is there toxic off gassing from bamboo floors?

A) It’s always important to check from the supplier, however generally there is no toxic off gassing at all. Most of the bamboo flooring available is 100% formaldehyde free, and the products with formaldehyde are usually three times lower than the worlds most stringent limits.

Formaldehyde and toxic off gassing can cause medical problems and can be linked to the “sick office” syndrome many workplaces force their staff to work in. It’s important to note, this is not in the manufacturing period, the off gassing can occur in the consumers home / workplace over a long period of time!

Q) Why would you glue tongue and grove boards? Can you secrete nail them?

A) When installing a hardwood floor over a concrete slab, wooden battens are laid and then the floor boards are secrete nailed (nailed through the tongue). With bamboo floating flooring – a 2mm foam underlay is used instead of battens. The underlay is plastic backed and is layed directly on the concrete, the plastic stops any moisture transferring from the slab to the boards. The bamboo boards are simply glued together – a bead of glue runs around the tongue and grove only. The boards “float” on top of the underlay.

The floating installation method allows the floor to move in unity. When going from summer to winter – floors actually shrink (bamboo moves three times less than timber – leave a 5mm gap around skirting, not 15mm + like timber), if a floor is secrete nailed, the boards shrink individually – creating gaps / cracks, especially in doorways between rooms.

With the bamboo floating floor, the floor is not stuck / nailed to the slab, so it moves as one piece – therefore no gaps / cracks forming between the boards.