Strand woven bamboo flooring was introduced into the flooring market around 2002-2003. In this format, the 1/4″ by 5/8″ sawn strips of bamboo that were cut from the bamboo stalk were now partially shredded to open up and expose the stringy bamboo fiber. Phenolic resins were then added and the shredded bamboo was pressed under tremendous pressure. The result was a “densified bamboo/resin composite” product that effectively tripled bamboo’s hardness. Like traditional bamboo, strand woven bamboo was offered with clear topcoats in the natural straw color, the carbonized caramel color, or a mix of both in a “tiger” color. In addition, the surface could be stained to the color of your choice prior to topcoating.
This new bamboo flooring category took quite a while to perfect in manufacturing, with early generations being prone to cupping, fiber raising, and checking post-installation. Additionally, it took quite some time for installers and mastic manufacturers to catch up to the proper methodologies to use when installing this product. Since strand woven bamboo, due to its resin content, does not “breathe” in the same manner as wood flooring it required a learning curve to install properly in various site conditions.
Bamboo flooring manufacturers have continued to search for ways to improve their product and have come up with a number of recent innovations. One of these involves dying the shredded bamboo fibers and adding tints to the phenolic resins before pressing them together. As a result the color is no longer just a stain on the top of the flooring, it is “fused” into the floor itself. Another innovation has been to expand the materials that can be used to create strand woven flooring. In addition to bamboo some of the natural fibers that can be used are recycled wood and coconut. Both of these are grown for other industries and now we can take the remains and turn them into beautiful eco-friendly flooring!