Is Bamboo Flooring Hard Enough? Let Science Decide!

In the flooring industry, there are designated tests to place each type of wood flooring on scale of which is the softest to the hardest.  A point which all bamboo flooring sellers make, including us here at BuildDirect, is that bamboo floors are comparable to many species of hardwood for hardness.  But, a lot of consumers simply don’t believe the hype.  And other consumers are prepared to test the hype on their own.

Testing bamboo flooringHere’s a great blog entry by Bruce Schena on the Pope Street Modern blog.  Bruce is an electromechanical engineering & product design consultant located in the San Francisco Bay Area who takes his flooring purchase pretty seriously.  Basically, when sceptical about how bamboo flooring would stand up to stress, he decided to conduct his own series of scientific tests bases on the Janka Hardness test.

Basically, Bruce set up a variation of the test where he specified a certain force and measured how deeply a steel ball would sink into his range of wood flooring samples, which included strand-woven bamboo, which is widely known for being an extremely hard floor, even when compared to traditional hardwoods.  Here were his findings, using his old floor (white oak) as a baseline:

Based on my data, our Teragren Synergy Strand (Wheat) Bamboo looks like a great choice – nearly twice as hard as our original floor and pretty far out on the end of the hardness scale. Our second choice – the Plyboo Strand – was the hardest of all, but only slightly more than the Teragren.

And both were harder than the white oak, a popular choice in wood flooring, the hardness of which is not usually questioned.

A choice in flooring is an investment in time, money, and in the long term value of a property.  But, you’ve got to hand it to someone who is not willing to buy what it says in the sales brochure and is willing to see what the laws of physics has to say about what he’s buying.  So, flooring sellers beware – be sure your product does what you say it does, lest your next customer be a product design consultant who blogs!



Take a look at Bruce Schena’s site for more information about him and his work.

Bamboo testing image courtesy of

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