Bamboo flooring is fast gaining popularity across the western countries especially Australia, Germany, France, United Kingdom and United States. Bamboo floorboards have become popular due to positive attributes such as its cost-effectiveness, environmentally friendly, beautiful grain pattern, durable hard surface and moisture resistance. The unique characteristics and aesthetic appeal of bamboo have made interior decorators and architects, in western countries, recommend bamboo-made products to businesses and homeowners.
In Australia, bamboo flooring is an emerging trend with a huge increase in people opting to use bamboo for a number of reasons. First of all, bamboo is the tallest and fastest growing grass on the planet. Compared to traditional hardwoods that may need 50 years to hit maturity, bamboo only needs about 4-5 years before its wood can be used in the construction of flooring. “Moso” species of bamboo that is widely used in the manufacture of bamboo flooring can grow up to 110-120 cm daily. This amazing growth rate makes bamboo a wonderful sustainable resource. Moreover, bamboo has the ability to replenish itself due to its extensive root system. This attribute makes bamboo a highly renewable resource because it will start growing as soon as it is harvested. The sustainability and renewability of bamboo makes it a wonderful hardwood alternative to the robustly depleting traditional timbers.
The forest-friendly attributes of bamboo are not merely limited to its fast growth. Bamboo plants produce 40% more oxygen and 20% more biomass than a comparable-sized timber forest. They help reduce the harmful effects of greenhouse gases and global warming. Moreover, bamboo provides soil restoration, improvement of watersheds, erosion prevention and toxins removal from contaminated soil.
The organic glow, wood-grain appearance, natural blonde colour and unique style of bamboo complement your interior décor. Bamboo is twice as hard as Maple and is 70% harder than Jarrah. The hardness and durability of bamboo even outsmart other traditional hardwood materials such as Pine, Blackbutt, Marri and Red Oak.
You can install a bamboo floor over a variety of surfaces such as concrete sub-floor, wooden sub-floor, tiles or even radiant heating. Bamboo flooring can be installed by using a variety of installation techniques such as direct stick, plank on ply, floating floor technique, using an underlay or using an Acoubond system. Depending on your requirements, condition of your sub-floor and financial budget, you will be able to find the right method to suit your needs.
This method is considered as the most popular technique of bamboo flooring installation in Western Australia. In this method, you prep the sub-floor with a moisture barrier and then trowel the glue. You can also apply glue directly on the back of the planks and lay the bamboo boards directly on the top of the concrete. Sikabond T55 should be used for gluing because it is a quality rubbery drying adhesive.
There are many advantages to use Direct Stick technique of installation. First of all, it makes a permanent and strong method of installation and you can start walking your bamboo floor the very next day of its installation. Second of all, this method generates a quiet floor to walk on. Last but not the least, the installation with Direct Stick is quite easy to carry out.
The only disadvantage is that this technique requires your sub-floor to be levelled.
Plank on Ply:
This method of installation makes use of 12mm sheets of plywood that are nailed onto your wooden or concrete sub-floor. The bamboo planks are glued onto the ply to make a solid foundation. Not only does this technique prevent absorption of moisture from the concrete slabs, but it also helps even out sub-floor undulations. However, ply offers a little benefit in terms of bamboo flooring and this method is more useful in building up floor heights.
In this method, cheaper laminates are installed onto concrete or wooden sub-floor with the help of thin high density foam and underlay barrier. The click and lock boards are laid on top of a sub-floor in such a way so that your bamboo floor literally floats. The floating floor technique is cost-effective and easier to carry out. Moreover, it can be walked upon straight away after its installation because it doesn’t make use of glue. It is softer to walk on and is moisture resistant as well. However, a floating floor is noisy and structurally inferior. The floating floor method of installation is very popular in many cities of Western Australia especially Perth.
Bamboo Planks on Battens or Joists:
This technique is not considered as a popular method of installation with bamboo flooring because it often produces a noisy floor. It makes use of ply battens or fixing timber to concrete or bearers. Then bamboo boards are fixed with the help of nails and glue to the battens. Battens are usually 40mm wide, 12mm thick and are made from jarrah or plywood. The only advantage to use this method of installation is that it produces a floor that is more comfortable to walk on.
This technique was developed by Sika International in Europe as a solution to the problem of noise transfer from upper floors to lower living areas. Australian Building Legislation has stipulated that high rise apartments in Australia must install floors with sound absorption systems. In this method, you have to lay the bamboo planks over a 5mm foam mat. Apply the triangular beads of Sika T 53 to the slots cut out of the mat. Acoubond system helps reduce the noise by 16 dB. Direct Stick method of installation, on the other hand, is responsible for reduction in noise by only 7 dB. Moreover, installation of bamboo flooring with Acoubond method compensates for surface irregularities and improves walking comfort. However, it is structurally inferior to the floor installed with Direct Stick technique and is a little nosier to walk on as well.
The most popular method of installation in Western Australia, especially Perth, is the Direct Stick technique because it makes a permanent and strong method of installation and it generates a quiet floor to walk on. Moreover, you can start walking your newly installed bamboo flooring the very next day.