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What's the Best Bamboo Flooring?

Bamboo Flooring is a Study In Contradictions. So What Determines Best Quality?

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Quick Lock Bamboo

Quick Lock Bamboo

J&L Bamboo
Bamboo flooring is now a force to be reckoned with. Once a novelty act, bamboo flooring is faster becoming a staple in homes. But what's the best bamboo flooring? The only fair way to assess this is to split it into categories:

Best Bamboo Flooring For Ethics and "Green Friendliness"

Teragren. With a lot of bamboo flooring, the provenance is dicey. Teragren, based in Bainbridge Island, WA, knows exactly where their raw materials come from and can let you know. Just because you're buying bamboo doesn't automatically mean you're being green or ethical. Teragren makes sure that its suppliers' Chinese factory workers and farmers are paid fair wages. Also, Teragren participates in LEED programs, harvests only highly sustainable bamboo, and is a member of several organizations dedicated to environmental issues.

Best Bamboo Flooring For Durability

Cali Bamboo. Based in San Diego, CA, Cali Bamboo offers up one monster of a product. It's called HD Fossilized, and comes in both plank and standard board form. HD Fossilized truly is a beast: at 5,000 Janka hardness rating, it's the toughest bamboo flooring on the market.

Even though adhesives contribute to HD Fossilized's strength, this flooring still has a low VOC rating and has no added formaldehyde. Strand-weaving the boards also toughens up this material for the hardest home or even commercial use.

Best Bamboo Flooring For Product Quality

Teragren. Once again, it pays to stay on top of things. Teragren, with its hand in the entire process of making bamboo flooring--from cutting the bamboo culm (stalk) to sending planks off to distributors--is able to quality-check its products in rigorous detail.

But the main thing that makes Teragren's bamboo flooring of a higher quality? A special species of bamboo called Optimum 5.5 Moso (Phyllostachys pubescens). This is not your backyard bamboo; moso has dense, hard fibers and is harvested only at its most mature point (about 5.5 to 6 years old).

Best Bamboo Flooring For Installation

Quick Lock Bamboo Flooring. Why install one floorboard at a time when you can install 20 short boards all in one fell swoop? That's the promise of Quick Lock. This bamboo flooring comes in big sheets with two comb-like sides that interlock with other sheets you lay down. Peel-and-stick adhesive holds pieces together, and with a few taps of a rubber mallet, the piece is in. Distributed by J&L Bamboo Products, Zhejiang, China.

Best Bamboo Flooring For Cost

If the price of bamboo flooring is your only concern, take your pick. It's easy to find cheap bamboo flooring. You can buy standard-issue horizontal-oriented bamboo flooring for under $2/square foot from most major flooring retailers such as Lumber Liquidators, Lowe's, and The Home Depot.

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