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Bamboo Glossary

bamboo glossary



“A” Grade Bamboo

is bamboo that has been allowed to fully mature before being harvested. The maturing process takes anywhere from
five to seven years, but allows the harvested bamboo to achieve consistent coloring, and helps build a stronger
resistance to mold and fungi growth. “A” grade bamboo flooring has higher milling standards and less color
variation than “B” grade bamboo. It also usually has more coats of finish.

Aluminum Oxide

is an amphoteric oxide of aluminum, commonly used to finish flooring because of its strength. It serves as a
hard protective coating for many hardwoods and bamboo.



“B” Grade Bamboo

is bamboo that has not been allowed to fully mature before being harvested. “B” grade bamboo is
harvested at some point before five to seven years of growth, causing it to have an inconsistent coloring and
lesser resistance to mold and fungi growth. “B” grade bamboo flooring may use finishes with higher
VOCs than “A” grade. It is weaker than “A” grade, yet is no less resistant to scratches
and dents. It will have more color variation and poorer millings standards than “A” grade bamboo.

Blind Nailing

refers to the process of forcing nails into the grooves of tongue and groove flooring planks. The nail is put in
at a 45 degree angle and made flush by using an electric flooring hammer because most types of wood flooring,
including bamboo, are too hard to be nailed together by hand.



Carbonized Bamboo

refers to bamboo boiled long enough to allow the plant sugars to caramelize and produce a darker color.
Carbonized bamboo is softer than regular bamboo.



Direct Print Bamboo

refers to bamboo printed with the pattern of another wood grain, such as oak or cherry before it is pressed
together and sealed. This allows homeowners to have the look of a hardwood, with the eco-friendly
benefits of bamboo.



Edge Gaps

Distance to the wall, which has to be observed when laying wood flooring. The so-called elasticity joint ensures
that the floor can contract or extract when climatic changes occur. The distance to the wall should be minimum 8
mm which should also be observed when heating pipes, door frames, or pillars etc. are involved.

Edge Type

refers to the edge of the sides of the strips or planks. Square edge has squared edges. Beveled and
micro-beveled edges
, also known as eased edge has a slight angle on the top edge of the planks. The beveled
edge helps to hide sub-flooring imperfections.

Emission Classification

A term, which is very often used in product information. E1 means that the
formaldehyde emission limit decreed by law of 0.1 ppm
(= 0.12 mg/m3 air) is observed.

Engineered Bamboo

a composite flooring made up of bamboo and layers of plywood. This type of bamboo flooring offers more moisture
resistance and is less likely to cup.

Environmentally Friendliness

refers to the factors about bamboo–or any other product–that make it easy on the environment. In the case of
bamboo, it is very environmentally friendly because it does not place strain on the environment to process,
regrows quickly, does not need to be replanted and does not harm a food source for wildlife.



Face Nail

refers to a nailing technique that secures flooring to the sub-flooring by using nails perpendicular to the
surface of the floor.



Glueless Click-Lock

refers to a very easy do-it-yourself installation of bamboo flooring. No glue is required to install the bamboo
because the planks “click” and “lock” into place.


refers to the alignment of the fibers in the grass, which designates the pattern seen on the flooring. The
grains found in bamboo are much lighter than those found in hardwood, and
can be horizontal, vertical or strand-woven.



Hand Scraped Bamboo

refers to bamboo that is scraped by hand rather than by machine to give the flooring an antique/distressed look.


refers to the strength of the bamboo material based on the
Janka hardness
scale which determines the amount of force it takes to drive a .444 inch steel ball into a plank of wood .222
inches in diameter.

Horizontal Bamboo

refers to the manner in which bamboo strips are laminated together. In the horizontal style, the strips are laid
flat so the top surface shows the bamboo’s natural growth rings or knuckles.



Inflammability Classification

refers to the likelihood that the flooring will not burn. According to American ASTM E648, bamboo falls into class
1, with a low inflammability.

Installation Methods

refer to the methods used to install bamboo flooring. There are two main methods: the nail down/glue down method
and the floating method. The nail down/glue down method requires the bamboo be nailed or glued to sub-flooring.
The floating method means the floor is not attached to the sub-floor, but instead “floats” above the sub-floor.
Some floating installations are glueless-click, meaning the flooring planks snap together without the need for
adhesive. Glue-seam floated floors require that an adhesive be applied to the seam of the planks before they are
joined together.




is a term used to describe the joints of the bamboo stem.



Mixed Grade

refers to bamboo flooring comprised of both “A” grade and “B” grade bamboo.


is a species of bamboo plant harvested for making bamboo flooring. It is not eaten by pandas or other animals.



Radiant Heat

is a type of heating system built directly under the floor or into the floor itself.

Resistance to staining

refers to the likelihood the bamboo will stain from spills.



Scratch Resistance

Allows an insight how the bamboo flooring will behave, when scratched. This is a very important quality criterion,
which is derived from scratching the flooring with a diamond tipped instrument.

Solid Bamboo

is bamboo flooring made solely from bamboo strands, and not engineered with other products. It can be horizontal,
vertical or strand-woven.

Stained Bamboo

refers to bamboo that has been colored with a wood stain. Available in light, medium, and dark shades to fit any

Strand Woven Bamboo

refers to flooring made from the shredded fiber strands of bamboo that are mixed with an adhesive and pressed
together. This leads to an even more durable bamboo flooring. It is available in carbonized, natural and stained




refers to how thick the planks of bamboo flooring are. The standard thickness for horizontal and vertical bamboo
is 5/8″ and the standard thickness for strand-woven is ½”.

Tiger Strand Bamboo

refers to a strand woven bamboo made from a mixture of natural and carbonized strips to look like tiger stripes.

Tongue and Groove

That is the profile construction milled to the panels’ sides allowing the panels to be pushed together. The
connection of tongue and groove is responsible for stable floor construction and protects the floor from moisture.




The thin layer of material between the sub-flooring and main flooring. In carpet, it refers to foam. The material
can be sponge rubber, crumb rubber, or foam. A plastic sheet needs to be added if the sub-floor is concrete,
acting as a moisture barrier for the bamboo and helping to prevent water from reaching the flooring.



Vertical Bamboo

refers to the manner in which bamboo strips are laminated together. In the vertical style, the strips are turned
on their sides and laminated together in long slender rows creating a smooth appearance.



Walking-Noise Insulation

Underlay such as polyethylene foam, PU-foam, corrugated boards, or foam felt are reducing walking noises
especially on ‘floating’ bamboo flooring.

Wide Plank Bamboo

refers to bamboo flooring planks that are cut wider than the standard plank, usually 5″ or more wide.

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(2) Comments

  1. My husband is ill so I am interested in the flooring products you carry with the lowest VOCs.

    We have ruled out tile because it is cold and are hoping to find something less expensive than hardwood. We need about 1,000 sq ft. Wondering if cork or bamboo would be an option.

    Do you have the VOC ratings available for your products?

    • BuildDirect Product Expert Team - Reply

      Hi Misty,

      Thank you for getting in touch! The best options for you would be cork or luxury vinyl plank flooring. We aren’t able to send out any VOC information but we do check over our products to ensure everything we sell is CARB Phase 2 compliant. These are the Californian standards and are the strictest in the world in regards to emissions. If you had any other questions or needed any recommendations please feel free to give us a call at 1-877-631-2845 and one of our customer service representatives would be happy to help out!

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