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Frequently Asked Questions: Bamboo Flooring - Products

Frequently asked questions about bamboo flooring

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Our prefinished strand woven bamboo & eucalyptus floors are 3x harder than traditional wood floors.  Go ahead – order some free samples and hit them with a hammer, dunk them in water, and ding them as much as you want – this is a floor that won’t look dented and scratched up in 10 years like a traditional wood floor.  In fact, you’ll most likely never even have to refinish your floor, saving you a costly repair in the years to come.

Bamboo is one of the fastest-growing plants on earth, which makes it a rapidly renewable and eco-friendly product.  The bamboo we use in our floors regenerates in as little as 5-7 years, and the eucalyptus we harvest from well-managed forests regenerates in as little as 3-4 years.  Compare this to a hardwood tree that takes 60 years or more to grow.

Our floors are installed and maintained exactly like traditional hardwood floors.  All of our floors come prefinished out of the box, so you won't have to do any messy or hazardous on-site finishing.  Installation of our flooring is done using the same exact methods as hardwood floors.  Since we sell mostly premium widths (wide planks) and premium lengths (3 to 6 footers) our floors also take less time to install.

Our bamboo and eucalyptus floors can be glued down to concrete or plywood, and nailed down to plywood.  All of our tongue and groove floors can be directly glued down to concrete, all you have to do is use an adhesive that contains a moisture barrier.  We recommend our Ironwood Wood Floor Adhesive, but there are many adhesives on the market that will work.  Otherwise, if you want to float the floor, simply use one of our click-lock engineered floors. 

All of our floors are safe for you and your family.  Our annual test reports show that our floors emit "effectively zero" dangerous chemicals.  We take your health as seriously as if it were our own – that is why many of our own employees have our floors installed in their homes.  Check out our low emission formaldehyde free (NAUF) bamboo floors.

Our floors hold up great in beach houses, mountain cabins, and any other location inside the U.S.  Our floors are moisture-balanced to work in every U.S. environment.  We do recommend that you keep the humidity range between 35%-55% as per the National Wood Flooring Association standards.

traditional hardwood vs bamboo comparison chart

For a comprehensive list, check out our Why Ambient page!

Quality matters, especially with bamboo.  What really sets Ambient apart from other brands is our unparalleled quality control process, which takes place before, during, and after we manufacture our products.  A quick web search about complaints and reviews on real sites like Yelp,, and Reseller Ratings will show you that our quality is without peer in the industry. 

The environment matters.  Our floor materials are all sourced from well-managed forests.  All of our floors are Lacey Act compliant, which ensures they're legally sourced with minimal damage to the environment.  All of our adhesives are zero VOC and our floor finishes are all ultra-low or zero VOC as well.

Low prices for high quality.  Since we're the only bamboo flooring brand that doesn't sell through distributors or resellers, you truly get the lowest prices on the highest quality floors.

Dye-lot-specific ordering.  Every Ambient flooring order all comes from the same lot – so you don’t get shade patches in your floor.  Furthermore, each of our samples has a sticker on the back with its dye lot number – just mention that lot number when ordering and presto – your flooring order will come from that exact lot so you know that your final floor will match your sample.

All of our products are safe for you and your family.  If you're looking for safe, ultra-low emission floors, look no further.  We've proudly achieved Floorscore certification, and our annual test results show that Ambient floors emit "effectively zero" formaldehyde emissions.   In fact we are the only flooring brand that proactively tests its products for off-gassing randomly and voluntarily every single year, and have since 2006!  We take the health of our customers very seriously - as if it were our own – that is why many of our employees and their families have our floors in their homes.

We are a one-stop shop.  We provide a wide range of trim, moldings and installation supplies for our floors. Many of our moldings and trim pieces are specifically designed to match the colors and surface styles of our floors. We do all that we can to ensure that you have a finished look that will get compliments for years to come.

We specialize only in strand woven bamboo and eucalyptus floors.  We helped pioneer the market in these incredibly durable and beautiful products.   Because of our experience, we have one of the lowest claim ratios in the bamboo flooring industry – almost zero.

Don’t take our word for it – do a web search.  If you do a web search on our company name vs other brands you will see we have earned a reputation for quality that is unequaled.  We guarantee that if installed correctly, our floors will not shrink, buckle, or warp – problems that can plague other brands.


The best way to see the amount of variation between planks is to check the installation pictures we have on all of the product detail pages on our website or check out our bamboo flooring installation gallery.  The thing most homeowners like is that all of our floors have some variation, as they are natural products; this is what makes them unique and appealing as compared to laminate or other synthetic materials.  The carbonized color will usually have the most color variation within each lot, followed by some of the lighter stained colors.  Remember that you can always control the color of your installation – at the beginning of the installation itself, you can simply point out to your installer which planks are too dark or too light, and ask them to leave those planks out of the installation.

Solid bamboo flooring is made solely of bamboo - it is 100 percent bamboo throughout and is available in tongue and groove and click lock floating versions. You can see side cut views of the different types of bamboo floors here.

Engineered bamboo flooring is comprised of a wear layer of bamboo on top, with an engineered, multilayer core below. The benefits of engineered wood floors are ease of installation and higher dimensional stability.

Rigid core bamboo flooring (with SPC core) is a new type of bamboo that is considered engineered flooring but contains a Stone Polymer Composite Core (SPC Core) as opposed to traditional engineered multi-ply or HDF core.  These floors have exceptional water-resistant qualities, and high dimensional stability, so they experience very little expansion and contraction.  Our Ambient version of these floors also includes an attached IXPE underlayment pad, so they can be installed in basements and even directly on top of concrete.

Ambient's floors are 100% safe for you and your family. In fact, we're one of the few companies (if not the only one!?) that tests all products annually to ensure they fall within the CARB Phase 2 indoor air standard, which is the most strict in the world, and we've also achieved Floorscore Certification. The CARB Phase 2 indoor air standard requires less than .05ppm off-gassing of formaldehyde, and all of our floors consistently test at under .015ppm which is considered “Below the Limit of Qualification” or “effectively zero”. We highly recommend you check out our safety information and testing page as well as our informative article here. As you might know, formaldehyde is a naturally occurring substance that even our bodies generate, so no substance on earth is truly "formaldehyde-free", but Ambient solid strand woven floors are NAUF (no added urea formaldehyde).

More info about formaldehyde.  Formaldehyde exists in a wide array of household products including paint, wood furniture finishes, and cleaning supplies amongst others. Formaldehyde is also a naturally occurring substance found in air. 

More info about CARB Phase II.  We recommend further reading from the California Air Resources Board

All bamboo flooring is made in China (like the majority of building materials in today's markets).  In fact, many wood floors, regardless of where they're sourced (Brazil, Russia, Canada, etc), are often shipped over to China for milling and finishing, and then shipped back to the U.S.  Specifically, our raw materials originate close to our factory group, in the Zhejiang province south of Shanghai, the traditional hometown of bamboo.

For all of our bamboo products, we use only premium Moso bamboo (Phyllostachys Pubescens aka Phyllostachys  Edulis), which is also known as Mao or Hairy bamboo.  All of our Moso bamboo is aged to 5-7 years when harvested, and we only use the most stable middle sections of the culms. The bamboo is harvested without uprooting the plant, so the bamboo will grow back naturally and the plant is not destroyed when harvested. And not to worry, Moso bamboo is not eaten by pandas!

We do not sell random length or random width planks. Almost all of our floors come in single length planks lengths of six, four, and three feet depending on the product. Our Copenhagen XtraWide click bamboo flooring is an exception with both four-foot and two-foot planks included in every box. 

One of the benefits of this is that you will have a lot less waste as with random lengths you are usually left with a lot of the smaller pieces that you will not be able to use. You can still achieve the randomized look of the flooring planks by cutting the starting plank in each row at a random length.

We do not. Laminate floors are made from synthetic materials (usually an HDF core with a paper wear layer and finish ) and while they can resemble wood floors at times, they don’t have the beautiful natural variation that real bamboo solid and engineered floors have, and usually they aren't as safe from an off-gassing perspective.  Here's a great write up of Laminate VS Bamboo Flooring that highlights the differences.

In general, bamboo hardwood floors are much harder, more sustainable, and affordable than almost all other flooring products.  Read below for more differences.

Bamboo vs Eucalyptus.  Our strand woven bamboo and eucalyptus floors are exactly alike when it comes to durability, installation, and maintenance, but different in a few other ways.    Here are the main differences:

  • Most of our bamboo flooring options come in 6 ft and 3 ft lengths, whereas our eucalyptus floors come in 4 ft lengths (as well as eucalyptus moldings).  They are both available in wide plank.
  • Aesthetically, eucalyptus flooring shows the round knots in the grain, while bamboo shows the nodes from the bamboo culm.
  • When submerged in water bamboo reacts slightly better than eucalyptus. I.e. if a spill is left on the floor for more than 20 hours, bamboo often regains it's shape once it dries out, while eucalyptus (and most other hardwoods) do not.
  • Durability-wise, both strand bamboo and eucalyptus have Janka hardness ratings that far exceed other hardwoods, so they both stand up very well in heavy traffic.
  • Both strand bamboo and eucalyptus will hardly (if ever) need to be refinished in a residential setting, however they can both be refinished if needed.


Bamboo vs Laminate.  Bamboo floors are comprised of real bamboo wood, whereas laminates are made from synthetic plastic materials.  Laminate is often more affordable and in some cases easier to clean but will often curl at the edges of the planks if affected by moisture or water.  Real bamboo floors have natural variation and warmth that is hard to replicate in synthetic materials.  

Bamboo vs Tile.  Tile is much easier to clean (you can use abrasive cleaners) on a day to day basis, but grout upkeep can add an unwanted maintenance dimension.  Tile may also chip when heavy and sharp items are dropped on it.  Tile is more economical but does not have the warm feeling underfoot and is often cold to the touch on your feet.

Bamboo vs Cork.  Cork is also a great, sustainable flooring option and has a nice soft feel on the feet.  It is also very easy to clean and responds well to water.  One drawback is that the surface layer on cork can be damaged much easier than bamboo and does not wear as well over time.

Bamboo vs Hardwoods.  Bamboo is installed and maintained much like other hardwoods.  Bamboo is much more eco-friendly than most hardwoods as it regenerates in just 5 years compared to 40-100 years for some hardwoods.  Bamboo flooring costs are also usually much more affordable than hardwood floors since it grows so much faster.  Bamboo flooring is head and shoulders above hardwood floors in terms of hardness, sustainability, and affordability, and it rarely if ever needs to be refinished.
Bamboo vs Carpet.  Up front costs for carpet can be much lower than bamboo and hardwood flooring, and it is soft underfoot.  However due to its tendency to trap allergens, dust mites, smells, and stains, it requires more cleaning and replacement at shorter intervals over time, which actually makes it more expensive in the long run.

Bamboo vs Stone or Concrete.  Stone is a very durable floor that can be very beautiful, but it is cold and hard underfoot.  Natural varieties have nice natural variation like bamboo hardwood floors.  


We do not stock any unfinished or high gloss flooring in our U.S. warehouses, however, we can provide them (and other custom options) via special order with a 90-120 day lead time (minimum order quantities may apply). In the U.S., we only stock prefinished floors coated with our industry-leading Accuseal Ultra® finish system, our hyper-durable matte finish that is backed by a lifetime warranty!

These are all terms related to the color of bamboo flooring. Natural bamboo flooring is blonde, which is the original color of the bamboo raw material culms once the green outer layer has been stripped off.  Carbonization is a manufacturing process that darkens the color of bamboo raw materials and gives the Carbonized flooring its color name.  Natural bamboo that is heated in kilns becomes "carbonized" or "caramelized" because the sugars inside the bamboo heat up and turn a nice rich brown color.

Natural and carbonized are the two base colors that go all the way through the plank. When a bamboo floor is stained, the stain is applied to the top surface of the wood (both natural and carbonized planks can be stained), just like any other wood floor.  For example, oak comes in natural and gunstock - gunstock is a stain. Since strand woven bamboo floors rarely need to be refinished, this usually isn't a big deal, however, if you refinish a stained bamboo floor you will lose the stain color, because bamboo flooring cannot be stained on site (although it can be refinished and clear-coated). The material underneath a stained bamboo floor may be either carbonized or natural depending on what base material was used. To determine the base material of your bamboo floor simply flip a plank over - if it's blonde it is a natural plank, and if it is brown it's a carbonized plank.

Even though all of our floors have several UV protection layers added to our Accuseal Finish System, most floors will get lighter or darker slightly over time - whether they're exposed to direct sunlight often or not. Natural strand woven bamboo flooring will darken slightly darker over time, while carbonized strand woven bamboo flooring will get slightly lighter over time. The same goes for the stained versions of both types of floors. To ensure your floors stay protected, use rugs and mats with a natural rubber backing and periodically move furniture around in rooms that see lots of light.

If you live in the US and you have any flooring (bamboo or other) that is facing in a southerly direction and in direct sunlight, you might also consider installing window films and drapes that filter UV light.

Yes, Ambient is proud to be FloorScore® certified!  FloorScore is a voluntary certification program whereby floors must meet the most stringent indoor air quality standards in the world to gain certification.   Additionally, Ambient is the only flooring brand that proactively and voluntarily tests its floors annually for off-gassing and safety.  You can find Ambient's full test results and other technical information on our product and safety testing information page or learn more about the Floorscore® program here.

For the most up-to-date information we highly recommend you visit our Bamboo Flooring and LEED Credits page.  But in general, all of our floors contribute to LEED credit MR6 6.1, which rewards building materials derived from rapidly renewable materials (1 pt), and some of our floors contribute to LEED IEQ 4.1 Low-emitting Materials for composite wood and LEED IEQ 4.1 Low-emitting Materials for adhesives and sealants formaldehyde (1 pt)

Our floors are all NAUF (no added urea-formaldehyde), Floorscore Certified, and meet the CARB Phase 2 indoor air standard (most strict in the world).  Small amounts of non-toxic phenolic resins are added during the compression process in our strand woven floors to increase bonding strength so that the strands of wood fuse together more effectively.  This is resin is similar to those used to hold together the other wood furniture in your home, such as your kitchen table, your cabinets, your wood desks at home and at work, your dresser drawers, closets, shelves, etc.  All of our products are tested by an independent 3rd party laboratory every single year to ensure they don’t emit dangerous toxins!

All of our floors have micro-beveled edges.  The reason for this is because, on pre-finished floors like ours, square edges can splinter up or chip off when kicked under normal foot traffic.  Square edges typically only exist on unfinished hardwood floors.

Dimensional stability refers to the ability of a substance or part to retain its shape when subjected to varying degrees of temperature, moisture, pressure, or other stress. Bamboo floors, like hardwoods, are made of a natural and hygroscopic material, which means they are subject to dimensional change when exposed to variations in temperature, moisture, and humidity.

Engineered bamboo floors and hardwoods are typically a bit more dimensionally stable than solid floors (the former expands and contracts a little less) however this mostly comes into play with floating vs nail/glue down. 

Engineered floating bamboo floors are very stable, conversely when you are floating a solid bamboo floor (solid means the plank is wood all the way through, and floating means the planks are clicked or glued to each other instead of being nailed down or glued down to the sub-floor) you must have very strict humidity controls inside your home or it may pull apart and out from under walls (even if it is click lock). This is part of the reason we do not recommend floating solid tongue & groove bamboo floors.

While bamboo, eucalyptus, and hardwood flooring can be exposed to freezing temperatures for short periods of time (24-30 hours), prolonged exposure is not recommended. Bamboo and eucalyptus floors perform best when the indoor climate is maintained at around 40-60% humidity and 60-80 degrees Fahrenheit, although conditions may vary in different geographic areas. Hardwoods left in cold weather (below 40 degrees Fahrenheit) for extended periods may result in face checking, shrinkage, and even cracking.

STC and IIC sound ratings indicate the ability of a material to muffle footfall noise and reduce sound transmissions between levels. An underlayment or adhesive with a high STC and IIC rating will not only reduce sound transmission between levels more effectively, but it will also reduce footfall noise within the room more effectively.  Materials with higher STC and IIC sound ratings tend to be more expensive, and sometimes thicker, than underlayments with low sound ratings.

There's a common misconception that thinner floors are less sturdy than thicker floors. This is only true if you buy cheap engineered floors that have a razor-thin veneer layer, because they can't be refinished, and the wear layer is easily perforated when you drop something heavy and sharp on it. All Ambient hardwood and bamboo floors can be refinished a minimum of 2 times including our engineered bamboo flooring (non-SPC core). 

In fact, all of our bamboo and hardwood floors come with a lifetime structural and finish warranty regardless of thickness. The driving factor between whether to choose thick over thin is usually a matter of the layout of your home and subfloor. Some people get thinner floors to increase the headroom in their homes, while others choose thicker options so that they can more easily transition to other floors on the same level without using transition pieces. Sometimes door frame heights are also taken into account when choosing thickness. Also, if you want 6-foot long planks those usually require greater thickness to remain stable, while 3-foot and 4-foot long planks can be thinner and still retain their dimensional stability.

If you live on the West Coast and buy an Oak or Maple floor (which comes from the East), there is more embodied energy in that product than a bamboo floor made near the coast in China and shipped over the water. Ocean freight is simply that much more efficient. And this does not even take into account the fact that the tree cut on the East Coast will take 50 years to grow back and the bamboo plant will take only 5 years to grow back.

One interesting tidbit that people don't know is that a large chunk of wood flooring (apart from bamboo) harvested in Canada, Russia, Brazil, etc, gets shipped over to China first for milling and finishing, and then gets shipped back over to the US, which in effect doubles the transportation distance and CO2 emissions.

Large pets and active children are just a few of the reasons why families purchase our strand woven floors. Our floors resist scratching from pet claws extremely well!   Strand woven bamboo and eucalyptus floors are the hardest wood floors on the market and are used not only in residential locations but also in commercial locations around the world.  Our strand woven bamboo flooring can take a lot more punishment from denting and liquids than most other floors. 

Please note however that no floors are impervious to pet urine – even concrete will be stained by pet accidents! That being said we have many past clients with dogs, pets and active lifestyles that rave about the durability of our floors.  Order a sample today and hit it with a hammer, dunk it in water, and scratch it up, you'll see just how tough the finish and wood is for yourself.

Janka hardness is a way to measure the strength and durability of various hardwood flooring species, and our strand woven bamboo floors have tested at over 5,000 on the Janka hardness scale.  We have a great write-up about bamboo and Janka testing if you want to delve further into this matter.  Most of our bamboo and eucalyptus floors average between 4,000-5,000 on the Janka scale.  Depending on the time of the year the raw materials are harvested and the location on the plank where the lot was tested, different lots may have higher or lower Janka ratings than advertised; this is true across all brands.  Additionally, extremely high density can sometimes cause finish problems down the line as they are less permeable and thus don't hold finish well. Our Accuseal finish system has optimized flooring density and finish bond to provide the best finish on bamboo flooring.

Small floor samples with click lock profiles may appear to be loose when you click them together, however you'll notice when clicking full planks together that they fit much more tightly.  This is by design and the floors will not slide around once installed.  The reason there is a bit of space is because on longer flooring planks there has to be some room simply to be able to click the planks together - if there was no space for play, it would be impossible to click the long planks together (you'll have to trust us on this one!).  In fact, a not infrequent complaint from installers about low-quality click floors is that the click system is too tight and they have difficulty even getting the planks to click together - which adds time and cost to the homeowner.  Here at Ambient we're known for excellent overall quality and this extends to our milling machinery – in fact, installers comment all the time on how well-milled our planks are and how little waste they get when they install our floors. 

Below is an overview of the types of moldings and trim commonly used for flooring installations. You can also check out our Moldings 101 page!

T-Molding: This is used to transition between two floors of equal height or within 1/8 inch in height of each other.

Threshold: This is used to transition between two floors of unequal heights.  The bottom of this molding is commonly cut (ripped) as needed depending on the height of the lower floor.  Also commonly used at exterior doorways and sliding glass doors.

Reducer: This is used to transition down to the ground.

Quarter Round: Some installers call this shoe molding and although they serve the same purpose and are usually interchangeable they are slightly different dimensions-wise.  This molding goes all the way around the installation and is often paired with baseboard but not always.  It's used to cover up the expansion gap left around the perimeter of the installation.

Baseboard: This is used to cover the expansion gap all around the edges of the installation and is sometimes used with quarter round for a finished look.

Stair Nose: Also known as bull nosing, this piece is used to transition down to a lower level such as a landing, and at the top of a staircase.

Stair Tread: This is typically one entire piece to cover the stair step, we sell most of them in 48" lengths and some in 72" lengths.  Many of our treads come with two rounded sides and rounded front, so that they can be used on open staircases.

Stair Riser: This is the vertical piece on the staircase in between each tread and they're usually 48 inches in length but we also carry some 72 inch versions.  We stock them for our most popular colors, and we also sell the white stained poplar risers which are very popular and usually more affordable than the matching wood risers.

Register Vent/Dampener Covers: We have mostly flush mount register vents with a removable inner grill, but we also carry drop in vents in some colors.  We carry the most common vent dimensions of 4x10 and 4x12 but also some 4x20 versions in popular colors.

Cove Molding: These pieces are glue up under stair treads and noses to give a more finished look, where the nosing/tread meets the vertical wall or riser.  Most treads and noses aren’t finished underneath, so when you look up at them from below they’ll look nicer if you add a cove molding.

Spline: Bamboo spline helps transition when you change direction in your flooring planks. It allows you to place two planks (tongue sides) together and continue your flooring installation.

We sell only prefinished floors but can special order unfinished flooring with a 3-4 month lead time and minimum order quantity of 5,000 sq ft.  If you're interested in such an order feel free to reach out to our support team at (866) 710-7070.

Since we were one of the first few companies to pioneer strand bamboo flooring (in 2005), we have a long track record, and an unparalleled reputation for quality, which means that architects specify our floors on all types of projects around the world, including One&Only Resorts, national park projects such as Dry Tortugas National Park in Florida, and many others.  Our products have also been featured in multiple television shows such as Renovation Nation, Rescue Renovation, and other HGTV and Discovery Channel shows.

Our bamboo floors have been installed in residential and commercial locations around the world since 2005. Here are just a few:

•    Dry Tortugas National Park in south Florida (installed in 2013)
•    University of Maryland's new dorms and their student union (installed in 2010)
•    UnderArmour's headquarters in Baltimore, MD
•    Every Elevation Burger restaurant location from 2006-2014 (approximately 40 locations) around the world including Bahrain, Kuwait, etc.
•    Washington University in St. Louis (2011)
•    Radford University's Economics Building (2010)

Countless restaurants, spas, commercial and residential installations around the U.S. feature Ambient's products, including international installations in places like France, Bahrain, Tanzania, Guam, Kuwait, Mexico, and many more.

It is possible! Here are the steps we recommend you follow to determine if we might have a matching color and dye lot:

1. Visit our bamboo flooring page to see what colors and styles we offer. If you see that one of our floors might be a suitable match, please check the "Specifications" section on the product's detail page to ensure its dimensions (length x width x thickness) match your floor.

2. If you think we have a color that might match - remember that we may have up to 10 different widely ranging dye lots in each color, thus requesting a sample from our website is useless as you may only see one lot shade (we don't send samples of multiple lot shades).  Thus we recommend that you send us a sample of your floor so we can compare it to what we have in stock. We recommend sending at least a 4" sample of the floor you need to match to the address on our Contact Us page and write Attn: Sample Check at the top.  Don't forget to include your contact information and how much square footage you need.  Someone will check our stock for a match and contact you within 2 business days of receiving the sample.

Our industry-leading Accuseal Ultra® Finish System is so tough, we apply it to all of our floors and moldings, and it is backed up by an unbeatable lifetime warranty. This finish is a UV-cured acrylic urethane with aluminum oxide added in for additional durability; it is a proprietary process that endures scratches and abrasion better than almost any other floor on the market. These floors can last for decades without wearing through and needing to be being refinished (loss of luster may occur as with all floors in very high traffic areas and does not qualify as wear through). 

Please note that it is always recommended to use Scotch Delicate Surfaces tape on wood floors and moldings, as other types of tape can peel away even the toughest hardwood floor finish!

It grows fast, does it not?  Unfortunately, some of the species of bamboo that have been planted in the U.S. are of the variety that have deep underground runners, and it is therefore very hard to control.  While we would love to recycle that wood and make something new from it, unfortunately our manufacturing facilities are overseas, which means we would have to ship it across the water.  This would negate any benefit derived from taking that bamboo off your hands.  We recommend that you try to do something creative with it, like making picture frames, furniture, and other cool uses like making a bamboo bike!

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