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What to Look for in Bamboo Flooring

   There are a lot of misconceptions about bamboo flooring and a plethora of choices on the market. There are different ages of bamboo maturity and subsequent different hardness ratings, different factory finishes and different manufacturing processes, making for a very confusing selection process. Many customers end up disappointed when they purchase a bamboo floor that is not high quality and scratches very easily—sometimes before installation is even complete.
 So what qualities should you look for? Most bamboo flooring is made from bamboo pieces glued together in alternating layers and then milled into flooring pieces. Ideally, the bamboo should be at least four to five years of age in maturity so that it achieves a hardness rating of at least 1,400 psi on a Janka scale (harder than most oak flooring); some flooring is being made out of only 2- to 3-year-old bamboo that is not fully mature and much softer on a hardness scale. Some customers have even blogged that they can easily sink their fingernails into the flooring!
The moisture content (MC) should be 8 percent or less and consistent throughout the flooring boards. Consistency and even kiln drying is the key. There should be minimal color variation so that the installers don’t have to worry about drastic color patterning. The glues and finishes should be of high quality, contain at least one layer of a high-quality aluminum oxide for increased scratch resistance and durability, and have low to no VOCs or formaldehyde. Some flooring has only one or two layers of polyurethane, while others have five to six coats. Look for flooring that passes the strict CARB standards that California has set for indoor air quality.

Why Finish Wood?
While choosing which type of wood finish to apply to your wood furniture, floors or other woodwork projects might be a dilemma, we can all agree that applying a good finish to your wood is absolutely essential.

Without a good finish, wood is likely to deteriorate – it may dry, crack, or swell if exposed to moisture, or shrink due to other weather changes. A good wood finish not only seals the wood against the elements, but also protects against accidental damage such as stains or scratches. Wood finishes also enhance the appearance of the wood by adding color and contrast.

Types of Wood Finishes
Types of wood finishes have evolved over time with various consumer demands. The two main players in the market are penetrating oils and polyurethane finishes.

Penetrating oil finishes, typically derived from plants, do just want the name suggests – they penetrate and fortify the wood from the inside, at the same time allowing the wood to ‘breathe’. They have been around for several decades, and have a long tradition of use in Scandinavian countries.

Polyurethane finishes on the other hand, are a blend of synthetic resins that harden into a protective plastic-like coating on the surface of the wood. These were developed to meet the consumer demand for a type of wood finish that is very durable, and the mostly widely used are water-based and oil-based.

WOCA’s Premium Penetrating Oil, Diamond Oil Active
Extremely durable wood finish
Plant based
Resistant to liquids such as water, coffee, tea and red wine
Gives the wood a beautiful, breathable surface
Approved for indoor use
isocyanate free
Low odor
Can be used on all wood species, including Exotic.
9 popular colors available.



As I mentioned above, bringing in 30-degree air at 50 percent RH, then warming it to 70 degrees causes its RH to drop to 10 percent. To raise the RH, we need to add moisture. The American Society of Heating, Refrigerating and Air-Conditioning Engineers (ASHRAE) publishes charts showing moisture and air relationships. Using these charts with our example house from above, we need to add about 3.3 pints of water per hour to raise the inside RH to 30 percent. If the ventilation rate is higher, we need to add more water. If it’s colder or warmer outside, the amount of water needed changes. This same house, if located in Duluth, Minn., would need almost 5 pints per hour during common winter conditions. If we want the RH to be even higher, we need to add more moisture. The colder outside air requires more moisture. Higher ventilation rates require more moisture, and higher target indoor RH levels require more moisture. Since the ventilation rate and moisture needed are related, an economical approach is to reduce ventilation rates, then add moisture. Moisture is added to indoor environments from normal household activities and use. When this moisture is not sufficient to meet the needs, a humidifier can be added. A family of four contributes about ¾ pint of moisture per hour. This number is likely smaller than that shown, because people aren’t home all day and don’t clean every day. So I would suggest ignoring household sources when determining moisture needs. Adding moisture then boils down to using humidifiers. Humidifiers can either be stand-alone or attached to a central forced air furnace. Typical residential systems can provide up to about 6 pints per hour. This is an important number: 6 pints per hour, maximum. More than 6 pints per hour are necessary to get to 40 percent RH when it is real cold outside in a relatively tight, 1,800-square-foot house. We can’t even get to 30 percent RH in a somewhat leaky house when it’s moderately cold outside, or in a larger, moderately tight house. (By moderately cold, we mean the kind of weather in South Carolina. By real cold, we mean the type of weather in Minnesota or New Hampshire.) To make matters worse, moisture output from some humidifiers depends on furnace air temperature. According to Aprilaire, a large manufacturer of whole-house humidifiers, their humidifiers produce a maximum of about 3.6 pints per hour when connected to a heat pump. With that number, we can’t even get to 30 percent RH in a moderately tight, moderately sized house in a moderate climate