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Tracy Van Niel
Username: Tracy_van_niel

Post Number: 31
Registered: 04-2002
Posted on Friday, May 16, 2003 - 09:15 am:   Edit PostDelete PostPrint Post

Has anyone specified bamboo flooring before? I need to for a current project and wondered how much it differed from specifying wood strip flooring. There are NO CSi formatted guide specs that I've been able to find.

Many thanks!
Ralph Liebing
Senior Member
Username: Rliebing

Post Number: 19
Registered: 02-2003
Posted on Friday, May 16, 2003 - 09:34 am:   Edit PostDelete PostPrint Post

Haven't taken much time,and found no CSI spec, but a Search on MSN, for "bamboo flooring", uncovered a raft of sources and many types, and colors of bamboo flooring.
Good Luck!
Robin Treston (Unregistered Guest)
Unregistered guest
Posted on Friday, May 16, 2003 - 10:34 am:   Edit PostDelete PostPrint Post

I have spec'd bamboo flooring and have started with my wood floor spec and only modified it slightly for finishing. I spoke with the Smith and Fong people at the AIA convention last week and they did say that the installation is very similar to wood floor.
(Unregistered Guest)
Unregistered guest
Posted on Friday, May 16, 2003 - 11:04 am:   Edit PostDelete PostPrint Post

I've been considering bamboo flooring for some renovation work at my house. I found a series of csi format specs at http://www.timbergrass.com/tghtml/features/csi_specs.html. I haven't used either the spec or the product, so I don't have a useful review.
Posted on Friday, May 16, 2003 - 12:08 pm:   Edit PostDelete PostPrint Post

I have speced bamboo flooring after considerable research. Typically, installation is similar to other wood flooring but you really need to check the manufacturer's literature and talk with their reps to determine the best application and installation. There are applications for direct application to a substrate as well as a sleeper system.

There are differences between bamboo woods and the sources, reconstituting processes, vertical or horizontal cuts, binders/resins, finishing processes, number of protective top coats, etc. that affect the product and the quality. The standard manufacturer's literature doesn't address most of the concerns we spec writers like to know. It takes some digging.

I suggest specifying either Chinese or African mature bamboo culms, cut into strips, 4 to 5 years old, minimum 3 ply alternate layering with the center layer set perpendicular to the top and bottom layers, laminated under heat and pressure. I don't allow a cold pressing with hand clamps process. I call out for a prefinished minimum 7 coat urethane reinforced with aluminum oxide finishing and an antiscratch top coat.

Some of the manufacturers include Amati Bambu, Ltd., California Bamboo Flooring Company, GreenWood Flooring, Mintec Coporation, and TimberGrass, LLC.

Use care in selecting the manufacturers. Not all have tested their product to ASTM standards and US standards. Most of the bamboo flooring products are acceptable for residential use. Only a few are intended for or have been tested for heavy traffic or commercial use. The source of the bamboo is important and directly affects the quality.

Some characteristics to check and there are ASTMs applicable for these characteristics: dimensional stability, compressive strength, modulus of elassticity, tensile strength, hardenss or indentation resistence, and of course, slip resistence for the finishing/top coats.

I suggest you might want to include a crack and acoustic absortive underlayment under the flooring to reduce echoing and telegraphing of cracks that may later occur in concrete substrates, especially in residential construction. I include moisture and adhesion testing on the substrates. Sometimes I need to include a vapor barrier.

I have a section that I could email to you.

Tracy Van Niel
Intermediate Member
Username: Tracy_van_niel

Post Number: 32
Registered: 04-2002
Posted on Monday, May 19, 2003 - 08:16 am:   Edit PostDelete PostPrint Post

Thanks everyone for your input. Anon, one of the manufacturers you noted is who we will basing our spec on. The comments regarding lack of testing to ASTM standards is so true. When trying to locate "guide" specs on the various bamboo flooring websites, I didn't find much reference to ASTM or US standards. Most of the time, the "specifications" page on the websites consisted of a table of different plank sizes available and that was it. If you don't mind sharing your section, I would appreciate getting a copy of it.

Anne Whitacre, CCS CSI
Senior Member
Username: Awhitacre

Post Number: 62
Registered: 07-2002
Posted on Monday, May 19, 2003 - 02:23 pm:   Edit PostDelete PostPrint Post

Just a note on bamboo flooring -- all bad, actually. I have heard reports that in the Seattle area, the bamboo flooring is inconsistently curling and not staying dimensionally stable -- and this is from a rep who handles the product. The other thing, which is much worse, is that I have a colleague who installed bamboo flooring, and after two years, had a full infestation of borer beetles... and they are still arguing about the resolution of this problem with the flooring providers. Borer beetles are not native to this area, and they clearly hitched a ride in the flooring, which was not properly treated to kill any larvae. Make sure you have a good warranty on the stuff...

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