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Bamboo Flooring: The 6 Different Types

Engineered bamboo flooring vs solid bamboo vs click lock and more

Knowledge is the key to making smart home renovation decisions. Bamboo floors come in a variety of construction and installation types, each with their own unique set of benefits. We hope this guide helps you determine what flooring type is best for you.

Different Types Of Bamboo Floors

The 6 main types of bamboo flooring are: solid strand bamboo, solid strand "floating" bamboo, tongue and groove engineered bamboo, SPC rigid core engineered bamboo, click-lock engineered bamboo, and solid horizontal and vertical bamboo. Familiarizing yourself with the different types of bamboo floor construction ensures that you'll choose the right style for every project and that you won't experience problems with your installation. If you're looking for durability, we recommend strand woven bamboo, if you're looking for ease of installation, check out floating bamboo floors.

New to bamboo floors? We recommend checking out Bamboo Flooring 101: A Beginner's Guide. Further information about engineered bamboo floor advantages and disadvantages is listed below. If you have any questions about the different types of bamboo floors, don’t hesitate to get in touch with us.

1. Solid Strand Bamboo Floors - Tongue and Groove

Solid Tongue And Groove Bamboo Type
Installation: Nail Down or Glue Down
Pros
  • Much harder than traditional wood floors (2-3 times harder than oak)
  • Available in handscraped, brushed, flat, and other unique surface styles
  • Rapidly renewable bamboo that regrows in 5 years
  • Solid wood all the way through
  • Ambient® brand is Floorscore® Certified for indoor air quality
  • Can be refinished 2-4 times
  • Can be nailed down or glued down to a variety of sub-floor types

Bottom Line: The perfect combination of toughness, beauty, eco-friendliness and affordability. Can be nailed down or glued down (even on concrete) and there are no run limits. Holds up great against pets and children, can be used in kitchens, and is available in premium wide planks at a fraction of what you'd pay for traditional hardwoods.

2. Solid Strand Bamboo Flooring- Click Lock

Solid Click Lock Bamboo Floating Flooring Type
Installation: Floating
**Please note, Ambient does not sell this type of bamboo.
Pros
  • Many times harder than traditional wood floors (3 times harder than oak)
  • Available in a variety of surface styles
  • Rapidly renewable bamboo that regrows in 5 years
  • Solid wood all the way through
  • Can be refinished 2-4 times
  • Easy installation
Cons
  • Only suitable for indoor environments with very stable year-around humidity. Low-to-average dimensional stability leads to excessive shrinkage when humidity levels drop below 35%
  • Maximum recommended runs* if interior humidity varies more than 20% throughout the **year: 15 ft across widths (tangentially) and 25 ft lengthwise (longitudinally)

*A "run" refers to the consecutive distance the floor extends in any given direction

**Opening the windows in your home for a full day is okay.

Bottom Line: Floating solid (wood all the way through) wood floors generate a lot of complaints about shrinkage, as these floors should only be installed in homes with very stable humidity. If you want a floating floor we strongly recommend using an engineered bamboo floor (not solid) as engineered floors have much higher dimensional stability and aren't nearly as susceptible to humidity variation.

3. Engineered Strand Bamboo Floors- Click Lock

Engineered Click Lock Floating Bamboo Type

carbonized multi ply engineered amboo floating Flooring Type
Installation: Floating (click-lock) or Glue Down
PROS
  • Wear layer is up to 3 times harder than comparable wood floors
  • Wear layer is rapidly renewable bamboo that regrows in 5 years
  • Engineered bamboo floors have a higher dimensional stability than solid floors, which allows it to be floated
  • Ambient® brand is Floorscore® Certified for indoor air quality
  • Can be refinished up to 2 times if the wear layer is at least 2mm
  • Easy installation and can be installed in basements
CONS
  • If you live in an area with strong seasons (for example very humid summers, and dry winters), it's recommended that you keep your run limits shorter than 25 feet across the widths of the planks and shorter than 45 feet down the lengths of the planks. If your installation measurements exceed those limits you can install bamboo t-molding at convenient breakpoints (like doorways). However if you have built-in humidity control in your HVAC system, or use humidifiers and dehumidifiers to keep the humidity stable in your home, you don't have to mind these recommendations.

*A "run" refers to the consecutive distance the floor extends in any given direction

**Opening the windows in your home for a full day is okay.

Bottom Line: If you want to float a hardwood floor, engineered click lock bamboo is the way to go - it's tough, beautiful and easy to install. We recommend choosing an engineered floor with a minimum 2mm wear layer (can be refinished twice) and a high quality 3 in 1 underlayment that has a high STC sound rating - this will result in a final product that looks and feels exactly like solid hardwood when you walk on it.

4. Engineered Rigid Core Strand Bamboo Flooring - Click Lock (SPC Core)

Rigid Core Bamboo Side View
Installation: Floating
Pros
  • Strand bamboo wear layer is up to 3 times harder than comparable floors
  • Highly water resistant - great for kitchens, baths, basements
  • Easy click lock installation
  • Ambient brand comes with pre-attached acoustic vapor barrier underlayment for cushioning, sound insulation and sub-floor moisture protection
  • High-density core provides exceptional stability
  • Available in a variety of surface styles
Cons
  • Cannot be refinished. However, these floors will last decades in a residential setting without the need to be refinished due to the toughness of strand woven bamboo.

Bottom Line: Technically this is an engineered floor due to its multi-layered design however it's different enough to warrant its own category! Why? Because it's highly water resistant, and exhibits little to no expansion and contraction. The Ambient® brand version also happens to include a nifty acoustic vapor barrier pad attached underneath which allows it to be installed directly on concrete or any other level surface as long as it's not excessively wet*. With its stone polymer core and thick 40 mil wear layer, it's dimensionally stable, comfortable underfoot, and is built to last for years and years.

* 'Excessively wet' is defined as emitting moisture > 20 lbs per sq ft as determined by a calcium chloride test (usually a very small percentage of sub-floors). In these cases you will first need to lay down a plastic vapor barrier sheet or similar.

5. Engineered Strand Bamboo Floors - Tongue & Groove

Engineered Tongue And Groove Floating Bamboo Flooring Type
Installation: Glue down, nail down, glue together (floating)
PROS
  • Wear layer is up to 3 times harder than comparable wood floors
  • Wear layer is rapidly renewable bamboo that regrows in 5 years
  • Higher dimensional stability
  • Ambient® brand is Floorscore® Certified for indoor air quality
  • Can be refinished up to 2 times if the wear layer is at least 2mm
  • Can be nailed down, glued down, or floated
CONS
  • Floating installation requires manually applying a bead of glue on the inside groove of every plank
  • Maximum recommended runs* if interior humidity varies more than 20% throughout the **year: 25 ft across widths (tangentially) and 45 ft lengthwise (longitudinally)

*A "run" refers to the consecutive distance the floor extends in any given direction

**Opening the windows in your home for a full day is okay.

Bottom Line: Similar to the click lock engineered bamboo floors mentioned above, this tongue and groove version is very stable for floating installations. The downside as a floating floor is that they're a bit harder to install as you have to manually apply the bead of glue along the inside of the grooves of each plank. Can also be nailed down or glued down.

6. Classic Bamboo - Tongue & Groove

Solid Natural Horizontal Bamboo Type
HORIZONTAL BAMBOO FLOOR (natural color)
Solid Natural Horizontal Bamboo Type
VERTICAL BAMBOO FLOOR (natural color)
Installation: Nail Down or Glue Down
**Please note, Ambient does not sell this type of bamboo.
PROS
  • Eco-friendly bamboo floors
  • Available in multiple colors and surface styles
  • Can be refinished 1-3 times
CONS
  • Much softer than strand woven bamboo floors (1/3rd the hardness)
  • Dents and scratches much more easily than strand bamboo floors

Bottom Line: If you like modern looking floors, these are for you. However these floors are not intended for use in high traffic environments. From a hardness perspective they're just mid-range, more similar to Red Oak than to strand woven bamboo, which means these floors are more susceptible to showing dents and scratches over time.



carbonized vertical grain appearance

carbonized horizontal grain appearance

strand woven grain appearance

Bamboo Floors: Surface Styles

Different surface styles and variations are used to create a unique and rustic look to bamboo floors and other hardwoods. Here are the primary surface styles of bamboo floors that will add character and beauty to any room.

Bamboo Floor Surface Styles

Earth-friendly floors at people-friendly prices

Ambient has been shipping only the highest quality bamboo floors direct nationwide since 2005. We specialize in eco-friendly, durable, safe and high-quality bamboo and eucalyptus hardwood floors. We dedicate ourselves to providing beautiful bamboo floors at reasonable prices that are safe for you and your family, with personal and professional service to boot.

Beauty by nature. Quality by design

Our flooring is used by major architects and builders across the world in locations as far off as Kenya, France, Bahrain, Kuwait, Mexico, Guam and many others. Homeowners and flooring professionals alike rely on Ambient to provide bamboo floors with only the highest levels of hardness and quality.

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 its lot number written on the back - 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.

Safety is our #1 concern

Every single Ambient floor meets the strictest indoor air emissions standard in the world: CARB Phase II. We take your health very seriously, as if it were our own - that is why many of our employees and their families have our floors in their homes.

One-stop shopping

We stock matching trim, moldings, and installation materials for our floors. We can you assure you that we have the bamboo wood flooring type that will get you compliments for years to come.

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