Tuesday, November 14, 2006

Bamboo Flooring

. Tuesday, November 14, 2006

One of the things I want to do in the near future is replace my hardwood floors with bamboo flooring. My existing hardwood floors are pretty beat up and thought that bamboo flooring would be a green alternative to hardwood floors. Bamboo is green because it is a rpaidly renewable resource. Bamboo takes approximately 6 or so years to mature, which is much quicker than it takes hardwood trees to mature.

Bamboo is VERY durable:

• A typical bamboo has a tensile strength of 28,000 per square inch compared to 23,000 for steel.

• In late 19th Century Europe, bicycle frames typically were made of bamboo.• Bamboo survived the Hiroshima atomic blast closer to ground zero than any other life form.

• In 1882, Thomas Edison used bamboo filaments in the world’s first light bulb manufacturing.

• The needle in Alexander Graham Bell’s first phonograph was made of bamboo.

The grain looks very similar to "real" wood and is available in a variety of colors.

Converting bamboo stalks into one of its two final styles, vertical or horizontal. The bamboo is hollow in the center and therefore, it is cut into long strips. The result is strips of about 3 to 4 meters long. These long strips are then milled into rectangular shapes on all four sides. The next process is a soaking process in borax that will last several hours in order to rid the live product of any insects and arrest any decay causing agents. At this stage, these long strips are still in a blond color which is the natural color of bamboo. If we wish to have them colored into a darker color, these strips are put into a steam and pressure chamber to color them “completely through the fibers” into a kind of brown, honey color called "carbonized".
After this stage, we have either "natural" or "carbonized" colors. We now go to the drying process, and put the products into kilns for several days. At this stage, we have long strips that are ready to be assembled together. Our strips are sorted according to color to achieve the best match. Since bamboo is a natural product, color variations will occur. The strips then are covered with glue and assembled together to produce large boards, and the strips can be put together either vertically or horizontally. In either form the bamboo is placed into presses that exert up to 1,000 tons to insure a strong, stable bond is achieved.We therefore obtain large boards that will be cut into a variety of dimensions from 15.7 wide x 72 long to 4’ x 8’. Also, at this stage we can cut and mill the boards into flooring products.Except for the Vertical which has only one thickness, these large boards will be put together by layering several of them depending on the thickness we wish to achieve. We can and do obtain up to 6 PLY products.
While most bamboo flooring manufacturers use adhesives with urea formaldehyde, you should chose products that fall below the most stringent global standards. These standards are the European E1 requirements of 0.1 ppm (parts per million).


Friday's Child said...

If you are going "green" what will you do with your old hardwood flooring? How will you reuse it?

Anonymous said...

Bamboo is nice, didn't know all that stuff about it though! You'd never guess it was stronger than steel. wow My first fishing pole was bamboo, just a "throw-in." No reel. Sounds like a good idea boo. :)

But that glue smell, yuck. They need to come up with something else. I hate new stuff just because of the smells and odors they give off. Why do you have to use glue anyway? Can't you just nail it down? Or it would warp? Or? Just curious. :)

Boo said...

You got me there, Saint. The old hardwood floors would likely get thrown in the trash. I know. Bad Bunny.

The "glue" holds the strands of bamboo together to form the "boards". The glue smell if the urea formaldehyde and it is bad for you. That's why I recommend purchasing bamboo flooring from a company that does NOT use that type of epoxy.

Friday's Child said...

Boo, Don't trash the old flooring! Either put an ad in the paper for it for sale or free or take it to a salvage place. Plenty of people would put it to good use. When I tore all the knotty pine out of my dining room a co-worker came and took it to make cabinets.

Boo said...

That's a good idea but I really wouldn't have a place to store it while it waits to be sold. So unless I advertize and say you must pick up on this date, it probably wouldn't work out.

Anonymous said...

hey maybe you could find someone ahead of time to take it for free, arrange for them to come pick it up the day you take it out. Run a free ad. :)


Anonymous said...

There's nothing green about throwing away perfectly good building materials.

Here's some contact info for your local Habitat for Humanity:

USED Building Materials: To donate call Terry at 228-1305 or email terry@richmondhabitat.org

A quick google for "architectural salvage" shows the following places in your area:

Landmark Reclamation Company
1708 W. Cary Street
Richmond, , VA 23220
Tel: 804 353-5336
E-mail: annemarrin@yahoo.com

Blackdog Salvage
902 13th Street SW
Roanoke, VA 24016
Tel: 540-343-6200
E-mail: blackdog@rev.net

Mountain Lumber Company
P. O. Box 289, 6812 Spring Hill Road
Ruckersville, VA 22968
Tel: 804-985-3646
E-mail: sales@mountainlumber.com

Salvagewrights Ltd.
P. O. Box 1132
orange, VA 22960
Tel: 5406724456
E-mail: info@salvagewrights.com


Boo said...

Thanks Newt. It'll probably be a few years before we do this. Have other home improvement priorities to finish first. I'll definately keep that info for future reference.

Anonymous said...

nice going newt! habitat for humanity, that would be excellent! :)


Mohawk Chieftain said...

Bamboo would be very interesting, but it would mean you could never have pandas over there for a visit, as they would eat the very floor you are standing on!

Do koala bears have the same proclivity?

Boo said...

"Proclivity" is SUCH a big word for a savage like you