Bamboo flooring has been around for generations, but as the growing number of dealers who have added it to their product mix in recent years know, the segment now offers a huge variety of textures, styles and colors. Thanks to state-of-the-art technology, the applications and design options for bamboo have grown exponentially, giving specifiers, homeowners and interior designers more choices and solutions than ever before.
The following is a look at some of the latest and greatest products and styles now available from some of the bamboo segment’s major players.
Years of experience in working with bamboo has enabled the company to create some of the latest styles and products in bamboo flooring for 2011, noted Rick Gill, marketing manager. In the solid tongue and groove category, “we have a unique product called EcoSolid Forest, which is essentially a bamboo stalk cut in half vertically, flattened and pressed, thus revealing the joints in the bamboo stalk which creates a relief effect that is quite different from traditional bamboo floors.”
Each case of EcoSolid is packed with 4-foot planks, 21⁄4, 33⁄4 and 5-inches wide. When this floor is installed randomly by alternating widths, he noted, it produces an incredible design feature, as random as the width of stalks in a bamboo forest, hence the name.
“The tongue and groove connecting system allows it to be nailed down to a wood floor substrate or with the proper adhesive, glued down to a concrete floor. EcoSolid is also extremely dense, which allows us to offer a 10- year commercial warranty and 50-year residential. EcoSolid is not your parents’ bamboo floor. You just have to see it and touch it to get the full effect.”
Combining the hardness and appeal of an exotic with the individuality of a hand-hewn floor is True Bamboo, noted Dan Natkin, Mannington’s director of hardwood and laminate business. “It offers rustic charm in a sustainable exotic species, and each plank is as unique as the plant itself. True Bamboo uses the entire stalk of bamboo, and through a patented process, smoothes it out so that it looks as it would in nature. The resulting floor is 100% bamboo; more than three times harder than oak, and finished with a bio-based, renewable coating system for the ultimate in durability.”
True Bamboo is offered in a 3.8-inch wide plank that is a full ¾-inch thick. “Its unique character and earthy, natural color blend with both contemporary and rustic home interiors for the perfect rustic exotic look,” he said.
Because it’s a grass, not a wood, traditional bamboo is relatively soft, noted Tammy Perez, senior brand manager, Mohawk Hard Surface. The mill has addressed this problem with new bamboo flooring that’s harder than oak— and uses 100% of the bamboo stalk.
Mohawk’s strand woven styles have been tested to be twice as hard as domestic oak, she explained. “Mohawk products are manufactured using all parts of the bamboo stalk for optimum green benefits, and they meet European E-1 Standards for low formaldehyde emissions. They can also contribute LEED points to an installation.”
While in the past the softness of traditional bamboo has been a limitation, Mohawk’s new strand woven bamboo “is sturdy enough to allow the species to be used in both residential and commercial applications, she concluded. “We offer two strand woven bamboo styles; Hilea and Kahala. Each is available with Mohawk’s Uniclic glueless installation system, and Kahala even offers new styling options, such as a scraped finish.”
Over 75% of the company’s flooring products sold are now strand bamboo flooring, stair parts and flooring trim lines, said Ann Knight, executive vice president and global brand director, including its Portfolio Collection in 10 designer colors and Synergy Strand bamboo flooring, available in mixed precise lengths or an engineered wide-plank floating floor option.
All Teragren strand products are made with the company’s proprietary Xcora technology, the very latest in strand bamboo hot-press product engineering. “Created through a manufacturing process that fuses together bamboo strands with an environmentally safe adhesive,” she explained, “Portfolio and Synergy products are extremely durable and perfect for high traffic installations—averaging 154% harder than red oak and 125% harder than North American maple.”
Featuring a variety of textures and patterns, including handscraped options—Portfolio demonstrates the unlimited design potential of bamboo flooring, she said. “Created with rapidly renewable bamboo, Portfolio offers a beautiful and environmentally responsible alternative to precious rainforest hardwoods.” The collection also features the modified Välinge-patented, 2G fold-down locking system for quick and easy installation.
Teragren has also launched the Color Palette Advisor, a tool designed to provide consumers with inspiration and how to create inviting/eco-friendly spaces from the floor up. “Portfolio features versatile options that are perfect for a variety of interiors— from simple and modern to eclectic and creative,” said Knight. “We’re thrilled to offer such beautiful options in bamboo flooring—along with inspiring ideas about how to use colors within the collection—to homeowners and designers who are committed to green décor.”
The company recently launched its Natural Bamboo Expressions collection that it previewed at Surfaces. “This will be part of an update to our Green Island Display,” said Gary Keeble, marketing manager. The collection includes 12 new locking solid strand woven bamboo in ½-inch thick x 5-inch wide solid construction, as well as a variety of stains, hand- scraped and antiqued visuals.
“Expressions will be the most fashion forward strand woven bamboo on the market,” he explained, “and it will be extremely competitive with other products of similar construction. Expressions floors are finished with our proprietary Endura AR finish and will be IAQ Certified to the Greenguard Children & Schools standard. They will also be backed by the industry’s most extensive warranties—lifetime residential wear, lifetime structure and a 15-year heavy commercial warranty.
“The market continues to show strong movement to the strand woven bamboo products,” he explained, “and, as the market leader in cork and bamboo, we’re making a strong and committed move, adding depth to our strand woven product portfolio. This is what our customers have asked for, and we are going to provide them with what they need in strand woven to be successful in their market. Strand woven bamboo has shown itself to be a serious player in the wood flooring category and it is most definitely here to stay.”