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Saturday, December 29, 2007

Improving the value of your home with bamboo flooring

If you are looking to increase the value of your home, replacing old carpets or tile with a beautifully laid bamboo floor will certainly help. And if your home isn’t up for resell and you just want to have beautiful flooring, using bamboo is an elegant and affordable way to go.

Bamboo flooring may only be a little over ten years old, but its beauty and environmental factors have spoken for itself. And, floor experts have discovered that bamboo is actually harder than hardwoods such as Maple and Oak. Not only that, bamboo is extremely eco-friendly, and stands up the look, feel, sound, and warmth of its hardwood peers.

When we think of bamboo, we see reeds of tall grasses growing in tropical locations. So how does a grass become transformed into a wood floor? For starters, only a particular type of Bamboo is used, most often the Moso variety. Once Moso poles reach 40 to 50 feet in height, they are harvested and dried. The drying process is slow, typically four years in the sun. The bamboo is then sliced into thin uniform strips and planed on all sides. The pieces are converted into flooring made of either two or three layered horizontal or vertical laminated pieces. Bamboo can either be nailed to a wood subfloor or glued directly to a concrete sub-floor. Floating is not recommended. There is a variety of moldings made available as well to hide expansion gaps and for staircases.

Bamboo flooring comes in a variety of colors. Pretreated, coloring choices are natural and smoky amber. If the product comes to the states untreated, stains can vary from pinks to a variety of browns. Because bamboo is a grass rather than a tree, its finished appearance is very distinctive. Most distinctive is the eye-catching pattern of slightly darker bands produced by its nodes – a feature that clearly sets it apart from wood. Bamboo’s other aesthetic features include the tightness of its grain and the uniformity of its color.

These untreated and stained pieces of bamboo flooring are then given a final coating, typically made up of an aluminum oxide and polyurethane scratch-resistant topcoat. Coatings can be matte or glossy, with glossy tending to scratch more easily than matte.

Bamboo’s popularity has continued to grow with its discovery. The fact that it is a grass, a quickly renewable resource that yields a product 25 times faster than timber, has been of primary interest to the environmentally conscious. The beauty is an added bonus. With the cost of bamboo equivalent to oak flooring, it isn’t hard on the pocketbook either. Bamboo is also easy to clean and considered ideal for allergy sufferers, as they do not harbor dust mites.

When cleaning bamboo, a soft touch is best to prevent minute scratches on the surface. A padded cleaning head on your vacuum cleaner or a damp mop is most appropriate. This method will keep dust and debris from accumulating and scratching your bamboo floor. You should also take care never to over wet your bamboo floor. While it is resistant to moisture due to its tropical origins, it is best to minimize moisture exposure to help preserve the material. Mop spills using a damp cloth and dry immediately.

Putting area rugs on pathways that may experience high traffic. This keeps the bamboo floor from scuffing due to the high amount of traffic in a certain area. To prevent dirt and other debris from coming onto the floor from the outside, place exterior mats in entryways. Gravel and debris stuck in the bottom of shoes may scratch the finish of your bamboo floor.

If you have pets, remember to regularly trim your pets' nails to prevent them from scratching and gouging the bamboo floor. And of course, when moving furniture from one place to another, lift them instead of dragging them along the floor.

So if you are ready to transform the look of your home, putting in bamboo flooring will give you a huge start.

Greg Sullivan is the President of, a leading provider of home appraisals offering a nationwide personalized instant home appraisal service. For more information, please visit

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