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Bamboo Flooring is a Smart Choice

For today’s cost-conscious consumer, the new and improved bamboo flooring on the
market is hard to beat for  both price and performance, Consumer Reports  found.
In fact, some bamboo products beat out  some of the best hardwood floors on  the
market for  wear and  dent resistance,  according to  the magazine’s August 2009
flooring report.

Companies such as US Floors, Dansk, EcoTimber and Teragren  are
part of an industry trend toward strandwoven bamboo. Produced in the traditional
manner, bamboo strips are layered and glued together, but strand woven takes  it
up a notch. While it  is also made of pressed  bamboo strips, woven bamboo is  a
high-density material  that is  extremely hard  and can  be recommended for high
-traffic areas in commercial and residential applications.

-A number of  productshave hit  the market  in the  last year  with improved  finishing processes  and adhesive emissions, and  several suppliers have  moved toward urea  formaldehyde
–  free  manufacturing  processes.  Bamboo  flooring  has  also  skyrocketed  in
popularity in recent years  due to perceived environmental  benefits. Considered
more renewable than trees, it grows quickly and can be harvested every three  to
five years. Bamboo floors are harder than many hardwoods and can last as long as
50 years. While  it is biodegradable  and can be  used for fuel,  bamboo is also
associated with higher energy costs because it is transported from Asia.  Bamboo
also has an aesthetic story. With advances in technology, mills are now able  to
provide a vast array of looks,  which are attracting retailers and consumers  in
the common desire to beautify the home and create a more natural lifestyle. Many
bamboo suppliers now offer a variety of colors through staining that matches the
flooring to  hardwoods used  in cabinetry  and furniture.  The staining  process
begins  with  flat  grain,  natural planks  that  are  coated  with water-based,
solvent-free  stains  along with  an  aluminum oxide  finish.  Some add  scratch
-resistant polyurethane as  part of the  finish for easier  care and durability.

Aside from stains, other trends include handscraped, distressed or rustic.  Some
companies have gone so far as  to use reclaimed bamboo. Since bamboo  comes from
Asia, the product is usually manufactured there through a partnership with  U.S.
mills,  which  monitor the  process  to ensure  the  floor meets  U.S.  building
standards  and  codes. By  offering  an engineered  construction,  retailers and
installers  now have  more options.  The flooring  can be  nailed, glued  down,
floated and isolated from the subfloor to prevent
contact with moisture.




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