Bamboo

Phyllostachys spp.

Appearance

Bamboo

Shown with water-based finish (top), and oil-based finish (bottom)

Color: Typically available in light (manila/yellow tones) or dark (tannish brown) shades. Colors vary between manufacturers.

Grain: Distinctive grain pattern shows nodes from the bamboo stalks.

Species & Grade Variations: Available either horizontally or vertically laminated. Horizontal construction tends to show nodes more prominently.

Properties

Hardness (Janka): Bamboo is a grass. Janka values vary widely between various manufacturers and between horizontal and vertical construction.

Dimensional Stability: Engineered construction.

Workability

Sawing/Machining: Cuts easily with most tools.

Sanding: Due to its unique, fibrous structure, bamboo should not be sanded across the grain or at a 45-degree angle to the grain. Its light color tends to show swirl marks, other sanding marks and finish imperfections, much as a light maple floor can.

Suggested Sequence:

  • First Cut: 60 at a 7-15 degree angle with the grain
  • Second Cut: 80 straight with the grain
  • Third Cut: 100 or 120
  • Hard Plate: Not recommended
  • First Screen: 100 or 120
  • Second Screen: 150

Nailing: No known problems.

Finishing: All surface-type finishes have been used successfully with bamboo. Darker colors may tend to show lap marks—moving quickly during application and applying finish quickly around cut-in areas can minimize this effect. Filling is recommended.

Comments: Mostly available factory-finished. Because the product is rigid, installers should pay careful attention to the flatness of the subfloor.

Origin

Asia. The majority is made in China from the Phyllostachys pubescens (common name: Moso) species; however, some bamboo flooring is made from different bamboo species grown in countries such as Vietnam.

Availability

Readily available.