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Last week, I talked a little bit about buying bamboo floors by color.  In the second part of our buying bamboo series,  here are some options to consider when you’re thinking about buying bamboo floors by cut.

Bamboo flooring is distinctive when you’re talking about natural patterning, in the same way that a hardwood floor is distinct from species to species in terms of grain patterns.  Bamboo doesn’t feature grain patterns that you’d see in wood floors, but rather what are called ‘knuckle’ patterns, or ‘growth rings’.

These ‘knuckles’ are the result of the way bamboo grows, which is in short, irregular increments.  When the bamboo plant is harvested, there are two main varieties of cut that show off these knuckle patterns in different ways.  Here they are.

The first type of cut is horizontal bamboo floors.  This style of cut is the result of a bamboo stalk being flattened and cut along its length, showing a wider patterning and a more pronounced knuckle pattern, which are the natural growth rings that make bamboo floors so distinctive.  Here’s what a horizontal bamboo floor cut looks like:

natural bamboo knuckle pattern

Note the ‘knuckle’ pattern which is pronounced here on the horizontal style of bamboo floor.

The second style of cut is vertical bamboo floors, which is the result of the bamboo being cut and bound according to the thickness of the stalk, not the length. With vertical bamboo floors, you get a narrower, channeled  pattern.  The natural knuckle patterning is not as prominent, but it is still evident.  Here’s what the vertical bamboo floor looks like:

verticle bamboo patterning

You can still see the knuckle patterns of the bamboo stalk. But, it’s the edges of the stalks bound together are what largely make up the look of this variety of cut.

Horizontal and vertical cuts are the two main options when looking for natural bamboo. And with both of these processes, there are a lot of parings left over after the stalks are cut. Luckily, innovation has led to a third variety of bamboo, which is strand-woven bamboo flooring.

Technically, this isn’t really a variety of cut, but is rather a bi-product of the cutting process. The parings of horizontal and vertical bamboo are bound together under extreme pressure and heat, creating a very hard style of bamboo that stands on its own; strand-woven bamboo. Take a look:

strand woven bamboo patterning

You’ll notice that the knuckle patterns are still evident. But with strand-woven bamboo, you’re getting a ‘grain pattern’ effect that is visually pretty close to the look of a hardwood.

With bamboo, cut method is vital to the overall look of the floor. When you’re shopping for bamboo, it makes sense to sample your options to determine which one best suits your taste, and your project too.

Next week, we’ll conclude our bamboo mini-series by talking about buying bamboo floors by surface treatment.

Cheers,

Rob









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Rob Jones

Rob served as Editor-In-Chief of BuildDirect Blog: Life At Home from 2007-2016. He is a writer, Dad, content strategist, and music fan.