If you’ve shopped for flooring recently, you’ve likely come across bamboo as an option, and that’s a good thing. It has a lot going for it from a sustainability perspective, but did you know that bamboo can be harder and more durable than oak, maple, or even Brazilian cherry? It also has solid design chops with various styles and colors to match a wide range of homes. One of our favorite bamboo flooring brands is San Diego based CaliBamboo. It’s durable, sustainable, and beautiful—three of our favorite things.
Made to Last
If you’ve known about bamboo flooring for a while, then you know it suffered some bad press for being too soft or unstable. But that was a long time ago. In the past decade the bamboo flooring industry has changed a lot.
CaliBamboo’s solid bamboo floors start off as Moso bamboo stalks, cut at about 3-5 years old when they’re at their strongest. The poles are then split and stripped of the green outer layer and kiln-dried for several days. Next, they’re dipped into an ultra-low VOC adhesive and placed into a press. A three foot high stack of stalks is compressed into a block about 12 inches high, which is how the flooring becomes so dense and hard in the end.
At this point, the blocks are treated much like a log of traditional hardwood; they’re run through a milling blade to cut them into planks, then machined to become either tongue and groove or click lock edged. The planks are then sanded and sealed with a 10-coat finish to stand up to the rigors of life underfoot.
Sustainable and Durable
Bamboo can also be incredibly sustainable, especially compared to hardwoods. For starters, it grows incredibly fast. Some species have been measured to grow over 4 feet in 24 hours! After being cut, bamboo can also be re-harvested every 3-5 years.
One of the most impressive things that CaliBamboo has achieved is creating a floor that’s about four times harder than oak. Dubbed the Fossilized series, this flooring is harder than any known wood and holds up under dogs, high heels, and heavy furniture. CaliBamboo is so confident you won’t wreck it that they back up their floors with a 50-year warranty. While not indestructible, Fossilized flooring is harder than hardwoods and slightly better at dealing with moisture issues, all while maintaining a similar natural warmth.
The Janka hardness scale measures the amount of force required to bury a steel ball into the wood’s surface. CaliBamboo’s Fossilized floors are considerably harder than even exotic hardwoods!
CaliBamboo’s flooring uses bonding agents with super low VOCs that are well below the strictest California standards.
Bamboo as a sustainable building material is not entirely out of the woods, so to speak. Most bamboo is grown outside the U.S. and there’s still a need for better guidelines for bamboo farming practices to guard against monocultures and soil erosion. But again, when compared to many hardwood providers, the practice of farming, harvesting, shipping, and manufacturing bamboo can be a better option.
Finally, keep in mind that all bamboo products (with the exception of straight up bamboo poles) are manufactured products, meaning that the quality varies greatly between manufacturers. It’s not like a piece of oak that will be more or less the same from one retailer to the next. This is part of the reason we like CaliBamboo. Their manufacturing processes and attention to safety and sustainability put them in a class of their own.
If you need some design inspiration, check out the following gallery, courtesy of our friends at CaliBamboo. Interested in learning more? Sign up at the bottom of the page for a free consultation with a TreeHouse Design Consultant.