Natural Character of Bamboo Flooring

By Steve Cooper

bamboo 2Visiting a friend the other night, I was impressed with his new kitchen floor. This look of the place is sleek and modern, and the floor was a perfect match.

“It’s bamboo,” my friend said. Although I had seen this product in stores and at trade shows, I’d not seen it used in a real-world installation.

“Impressive,” I said. “The effect is similar to Scandinavian style. But it’s a little different. Somehow even more serene, if that’s possible.”

There’s something about the thin strands that give the floor its pleasing, natural character. It’s a little more showy than a soothing maple, which shows very little graining. Coming from Asia, my friend’s floor called to mind a truism that might have come from Asia: Gathering many strands gives strength to the weak.

bamboo 1Bamboo grows as strands because it is a grass, not a wood. This also allows frequent harvest. While it takes decades to grow hardwood trees that can only be harvested once, bamboo can be harvested every three years without need for replanting. The roots are still in the ground, so the plant just grows again.

Most of all, though, it is appealing in a contemporary setting. It looks smart and is a smart buy.

For more information on flooring visit the World Floor Covering Association’s Consumer Carpet & Flooring Guide.

Getting Transition Molding Right

Submitted by Steve Cooper

Molding for transition from one flooring material to another appears inconsequential. It hardly seems worth a blog post. That is, until you walk barefoot over a threshold that has been poorly designed. How does a bad transition make you yelp or squirm? Let’s count the ways.

transition wood_carpet1. Too narrow

2. Too high

3. A too-sharp edge

4. Splinters

5. Nails

You’ll know what’s wrong the minute you step on it. Your foot may glide across the transition but get creased by a sharp back edge. A nailhead may snag your stocking. Or the width will be so narrow that it’s slightly painful if the molding is stepped on squarely.

transition moldingWood-molding remedies are easy as long as the design gets attention prior to installation. Don’t let one be made so tall that you can stub your toe on it. Instead, have it built at least 3 inches wide, tapering down at each side. A 6- to 8-inch-wide transition may seem excessive, but it provides comfort. All nails should be set and the holes filled. For screws, countersink holes to eliminate a potential hazard.

If you are using metal or any other material for the thresholds, check for comfort before installtion by testing it with bare feet. Make sure no screw heads will be sticking up.

Let your installer know that you are concerned about comfort at transition points. This often goes unmentioned and, since molding is the last item during installation, it does not always get the attention it needs.

For more information on flooring visit the World Floor Covering Association’s Consumer Carpet & Flooring Guide.