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Old 04-19-2009, 11:34 PM   #1
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To use, or not to use Bamboo...


Hi! Do you know of anyone who has had the strand carbonized bamboo in their home long enough to know how it holds up compared to hardwood? We are considering strand bamboo (Morningstar Strand Carbonized Bamboo) to replace the existing 15 yr old carpet and linoleum in our entry, dining room, kitchen and familyroom. These are very high traffic areas and we are looking for something durable, scratch resistant, easy to keep clean, and affordable for our budget. The Strand Carbonized Bamboo is a relatively newer product and the reviews we have read are from consumers who have had it less than a year. My husband is reluctant to putting any wood product in the kitchen, as we have heard horror stories of water damage to wood floors in the kitchen area - even though we have never personally encountered the problem in the 30-some years we've been homeowners! We are looking for a floor that will last, and one we hope not to have to replace again. With that in mind, we have put a small sample of bamboo, that we obtained from Lumber Liquidators, through a number of tests. We have scratched it with a knife, dropped cans and knives on it, dropped it on concrete, soaked it in the sink overnight (it sinks in water!), and sanded part of it with sandpaper to see if it can be refinished like wood (don't think so). Overall, we were pretty impressed! This is pretty tough stuff! HOWEVER... My husband was STILL concerned with how the strand carbonized bamboo is made and the longevity of it, compared to real hardwood. Wood has been used in homes for a couple hundred years, but bamboo is rather a newer product and we haven't heard of it used in homes for near as long. So he decided to place a piece of the strand bamboo outside for a week, exposing it to all elements of weather (rain, snow, cold, and sun) to see how it compares to other wood. The strands started to split and after a week, he was able to easily split the sample of bamboo in two with his hands. Solid wood did not do this. After that, I'm beginning to have second thoughts on whether this is a wise choice. I love the bamboo, but I'm afraid of it! Just wish we knew how it holds up after 10 years or so and if there are any problems with humidity or dryness causing the bamboo to splinter or split, or other problems we should be aware of? I would hate to put this throughout and regret it a few years down the road. Would like to hear any opinions or experiences with long time use of this product. Thanks!

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Old 04-20-2009, 06:20 AM   #2
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To use, or not to use Bamboo...


Hi. I sell alot of bamboo, however, I always caution people that it's NOT a floor for a high traffic area. This is not so much a finish/scratching issue as most bamboo's have very good finishes. The big issue is denting. Don't fall for the sales pitch that one company's bamboo is stronger than someone elses. That's like saying my oak tree is harder than your oak tree! Bmaboo dents very easily, and in a high traffic area, you'd be dissapointed. Carbonized, in particular, is a bit softer than Natural due to the steaming process.

The only exception to the above would be strand bamboo, which is more of a shredded, composite type material. This is alot harder/denser than regular bamboo, and it does come in a carbonized color.

Good luck!

Wood Floor Guy


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Old 04-20-2009, 02:11 PM   #3
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To use, or not to use Bamboo...


Quote:
The big issue is denting
Agreed, however what else is there that doesn't have issues?

Vinyl dents
Tile cracks
Hardwood dents..

ect......

Find out what your biggest worry is and buy from that if your sure.
There is good and bad to every floor out there for you...

if moisture is REALLY a concern, then tile or sheet Vinyl is the way to go....For water proof.

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but bamboo is rather a newer product and we haven't heard of it used in homes for near as long.
There are Bamboo floors that are older than the United States.
It's just not in the united states.

Bamboo and all wood will react very similiar to almost every situation give or take....
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Old 04-20-2009, 09:07 PM   #4
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To use, or not to use Bamboo...


Tile cracks? Not if it's set over a good base and it's installed right. It could break if you drop your bowling ball on it tho?

Even if a tile cracks, it is often not considered anything you to have to worry about, but it can be repaired.

As for bamboo, I agree that it is inferior to most hardwoods that I know of. It's just this "green" craze, everyone thinks they are doing a good thing by using bamboo instead of oak. I'm not so sure about that.

American forest growers plant many more trees than they harvest, and use much less fuel to get it to our homes than is does to ship it here from friigin China, Sri Lanka or where ever. I think cheap is more of an attraction.

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Old 04-21-2009, 11:08 AM   #5
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To use, or not to use Bamboo...


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Tile cracks? Not if it's set over a good base and it's installed right. It could break if you drop your bowling ball on it tho?
I see your point. A bowling ball is going over the top a bit...I think a nice solid jar of pickles can crack a clay base.....but I digest.....

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As for bamboo, I agree that it is inferior to most hardwoods that I know of.
Just like Oak is inferior to Brazillian cherry...but both will dent and scratch...
Both are good floors...
I would rather say Carpet is inferior to wood for longevity...that's a big enough gap to talk about.

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It's just this "green" craze, everyone thinks they are doing a good thing by using bamboo instead of oak. I'm not so sure about that.
Sure it is. Depending.
Harvest Bamboo out of the wild and shake wild animals out to get your grass is not too green.
Harvest your own bamboo that you grow like cattle and that's as green as it gets.
Forget replanting what you took....try planting, THEN taking....
that's pretty green.

I agree with shipping, but unless your going to only harvest Oak and other North American species, then you will get some high shipping costs with Brazillian Cherry and other exotic species which are incredibly popular right now.
And how long does it take them to regrow? 10 years like Bamboo?

But I don't want to argue on how green Bamboo is...people know....
Bamboo can be good and green depending on manufacturing
wood....same thing.....
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Old 04-23-2009, 03:48 PM   #6
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Some good responses here. Here's some info from my boss who has been installing bamboo for years:

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Good quality bamboo
Make Sure That Your Bamboo Flooring is Well-Manufactured. Many of the less expensive bamboo products are grown in the lowlands and harvested every year.

The good quality material is grown in the highlands at altitude and is harvested every 5 or 6 years. This makes for a far more durable and dense product. Also with bamboo there are few, if any, regulations and rules concerning quality, grading and color consistency. Bamboo is also often touted as a "green product" simply because it re grows from the root after it is harvested but it is often the case that the byproducts of the manufacturing process are often disposed of by dumping in the local rivers or streams. Choose your bamboo from a reputable company and don't be fooled by their advertising claiming to be an eco friendly product. The quality bamboo also uses high quality European adhesives that contain no formaldehyde or other polluting agents.

If you are looking for the best and highest quality bamboo available I would recommend Teragren, closely followed by Ecotimber bamboo. Architects and designers routinely specify Teragren for high end homes, commercial properties and restaurants and having installed this type of bamboo flooring in many such buildings, I believe it to be the best available.
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Old 04-24-2009, 02:08 PM   #7
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To use, or not to use Bamboo...


I completely agree.
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Old 05-07-2009, 03:06 PM   #8
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To use, or not to use Bamboo...


I, too, was leery of the whole "bamboo" thing -- but did some research, and found a couple reputable companies in Canada that supplied sustainably grown bamboo. After installing 700 sq. feet of vertical natural Silkroad Bamboo, I would say go for the Strand Woven. It's more expensive, but worth it -- it is so hard! My cats scratched our bamboo with their back claws when we were playing with them. As with all wood, it is only as hard as its finish...

That said, Silkroad is much better then the crap Home Depot sells -- that stuff gives off VOCs! My whole flooring dilemna is chronicled here -- and the final product shown here.

Hope this helps!

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Old 08-18-2012, 04:29 PM   #9
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To use, or not to use Bamboo...


I have been doing a lot of research and have spent hours in flooring showrooms. It does not matter what the wood it ALL of it scratches, whether it is oak, an exotic like tigerwood, kempas, teak or bamboo. The Jenka rating is important as this tells you the impact force...ie if I drop a pot or dish on my floor will it leave a dent all carbonized stranded bamboo has a Jenka rating 2789. So this does matter. All Bamboo is not alike. The stranded Carbonized bamboo goes through a process where they take the whole bamboo, steam it and the sugars in the bamboo carmalize, then the individual strands are basically layed atop one another mixed with an epoxy like substance and compressed, so for instance to get a 3/4 or 9/16th floor they actually start out with about 5 inches of bamboo. So yes I agree if it is not carbonized and stranded it will scratch with socks on. The right kind of bamboo is very durable. It is one of the hardest materials to cut and when they put my hand scraped stranded carbonzied bamboo floor in they went through 2 saw blades and no you can not hand nail this floor down as you can with other woods. Yes I can take my keys or a knife and run it across the floor and it will scratch...but ANY floor will this this.
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Old 08-22-2012, 02:24 PM   #10
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To use, or not to use Bamboo...


Thanks James,
Unfortunately laminate nor engineered hardwood is not flooring that is considered to increase the value of the house. So after much research and looking at floors I changed my mind and I am going with handscraped 4 3/4 inch oak...my reasoning is I saw it in the showroom in the color I want, it had been down 4+ years with all the wear and tear the goes on in a showroom and it looked great as opposed to the brazillian cherry or other harder woods..they totally looked trashed.....
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Old 08-23-2012, 12:19 PM   #11
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To use, or not to use Bamboo...


Bamboo is a pretty good option. However, I would go with a better brand such as Teragren; as the morning star is the cheap stuff. The cheap stuff will not hold up well. You will find however that this stuff is probably about 3 times the cost of the stuff you are looking at, but it is at least 3 times better. If this is outside of your budget, I would maybe consider a hardwood instead as it will hold up better. For hardwoods, I prefer the site finished type over the prefinished. Hope this helps.

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