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Types and Styles of Bamboo Flooring

There are now so many different types of bamboo flooring to choose from that it can sometimes be a little confusing to figure out what’s what.  Originally, bamboo flooring came in a horizontal or vertical construction which constituted just two distinct colors; natural and carbonized.  Now we have a whole range of colors to choose from, and a few more construction types.  To make things simpler we’ll be discussing the three main type of bamboo flooring; horizontal, vertical, and engineered. 

Solid Horizontal-Grain Construction

Horizontal-Grain Bamboo Flooring
Horizontal Construction

The figure on the right shows a standard 3ply horizontal bamboo flooring plank.  During construction, three layers of bamboo are laid at right angles for maximum stability.  The term horizontal bamboo flooring is derived from this construction. 

When considering 3 ply horizontal bamboo products, it is worthwhile noting the factory lengths.  Lengths between manufacturers vary between 3 foot and 6 foot lengths.  In general, 6 foot lengths are more visually appealing. 

Horizontally constructed bamboo flooring is has a distinctive bamboo look and feel to it; the internodes giving it a unique style and finish.   This type of flooring comes in a range of colors including; natural, carbon, coffee, chocolate, and caramel.  Finishes available include; matt, semi gloss and gloss finish.

Solid Vertical-Grain Construction

Vertical-Grain Construction
Vertical Construction

Vertical type bamboo flooring is constructed in the reverse.  As you would expect, the pieces are laid out vertically to one another and glued together.  This is demonstrated clearly in the diagram to the right. 

Vertical bamboo construction gives the flooring a very fine grained linear look.  Vertical boards are also available in a large range of colors and all the standard finishes. 

Engineered Bamboo Floors

Unlike the solid vertical and horizontal bamboo constructions, engineered bamboo floors aren’t generally made up of entirely of bamboo.  In most cases, engineered floors consist of a sand able bamboo wear layer on top of a pine backing. 

Engineered bamboo floors are also available in a horizontal and vertical-grain type and in most cases offer more stability.  This is because engineered products often come in ply thicknesses of between 5 and 8 ply.  The extra plies make the product more dimensionally stable.  Most solid bamboo products come in 3 ply thicknesses. 

Many manufacturers claim that engineered products are also more resistant to water, but I fail to see how this is possible, especially considering that these types of flooring contain other woods like pine. 


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