Not all bamboo flooring is the same. In order to ensure beautiful, durable, renewable bamboo® flooring, consumers should ask the following questions:
1. When was the bamboo harvested? Moso bamboo, the best choice for flooring, takes 5-1/2 to 6 years to reach maturity—and when properly harvested traditional bamboo flooring can be 25 percent harder than red oak; Teragren’s® Portfolio Collection and Synergy® strand bamboo flooring with Xcora™ technology averages 154 percent harder than red oak. Some companies, however, harvest prematurely at three years or less, resulting in traditional bamboo flooring as soft as fir—which can dent or warp easily. Harvesting too early also causes damage to the plant.
2. What species was used? Moso bamboo is the best choice for flooring. Bamboo flooring may be soft and appear gray or dull if the wrong species was used or the bamboo was harvested too early.
3. How hard is it on the Janka ball test? The Janka ball test is designed to measure the hardness level of wood floors and the higher the number, the better. For example, due to a proprietary manufacturing process, Teragren’s Synergy® strand bamboo shows an average hardness of 3271—making it 154 percent harder than Red Oak. Teragren’s traditional (vertical and flat grains) bamboo products average 1820—resulting in flooring products 25 percent harder than White Oak (1360) and 12 percent harder than Rock Maple (1450).
4. Is the bamboo flooring coming from a reputable manufacturer, or from an importer or trading house purchasing from any factory or multiple factories based primarily on the lowest price? Much of the bamboo sold in North America is grown in China. However, quality control standards in China, where most bamboo flooring is also produced, are inconsistent. There is little industry oversight, and neither China nor the U.S. has created an independent grading system. Consumers should ask retailers or other suppliers if the manufacturer uses a system of quality control and grading standards.
5. What will I get in terms of customer service? It is important for customers to know that the company supplying their bamboo flooring can offer a high level of technical support and customer service. Discounters, importers and web-direct vendors may have difficulty providing this. Superior customer service and technical support from reputable distributors and retailers are crucial should problems arise. As a trusted company focusing solely on providing top-quality bamboo products for the past 15 years, Teragren offers a lifetime structural warranty, a 25-year residential/10-year heavy commercial finish warranty and customer service throughout the product’s life.
6. How truly environmentally-friendly is the flooring? Environmental friendliness is a big draw for many consumers—but not all bamboo is truly kind to the environment. Bamboo should not only be sustainably harvested (and manufactured in an ISO-9001 and 14001 certified factory) but also feature components such as water-based, solvent-free, low VOC finishes and a manufacturing adhesive that meets or surpasses stringent European (E0) standards for off-gassing formaldehyde. Teragren’s proprietary manufacturing adhesive emits less formaldehyde than allowed by U.S. OSHA, European E0, CARB Phase 1 and Phase 2, and Japanese JIS/JAS (F****) emissions standards. Only a true manufacturer can provide this documentation. Teragren’s products also originate from factories with Chain of Custody (COC) certification from the Forest Stewardship Council.
7. How does the flooring affect indoor air quality? Volatile organic compounds (VOCs) include a variety of chemicals used in building products that may have adverse health effects and, according to the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, VOCs are also consistently higher indoors than outdoors. Teragren is the world’s first and only company to offer FloorScore®-certified bamboo flooring, recognized for preventing indoor air toxins by Scientific Certification Systems (SCS). As the global leader in independent certification of environmental and sustainability claims, SCS sets the toughest limits in North America for safe indoor air emissions—measuring more than 78 volatile organic compounds (VOCs) emitted from building materials. Consumers can breathe easier knowing that Teragren’s SCS FloorScore®-certified bamboo flooring contributes to healthier and safer home, school and work environments.
8. Will the product offer lasting value? Bamboo products that are properly harvested and manufactured can add a beautiful new dimension to green home furnishings. However, it’s important for consumers to consider a products’ long-term value before making a purchase. While some bamboo flooring may be less expensive, it’s also more likely to have been harvested prematurely, making it susceptible to denting or warping. A shorter product life-span negates the eco-friendly aspects—and results in higher costs in the long run. Teragren offers high-quality, truly eco-friendly bamboo flooring, panels and veneer that provide long-term, lifetime value.
Written by: Ann J. Knight serves as Executive Vice President and Global Brand Director for Teragren®, a global leader in the manufacturing of environmentally responsible bamboo flooring, panels and worktops. Ann and her husband, David Knight, established Teragren LLC in 1994 to introduce a newly developed bamboo flooring product to the U.S. building market to help reduce the dependence on dwindling timber resources. In forming Teragren, the Knight’s overall goal was to build a company that is environmentally, socially and economically responsible.
At Teragren, Ann is responsible for the company’s overall marketing strategy including its domestic and international brand management and long-term growth and expansion initiatives. She oversees communications and public relations efforts and works closely with the company’s North American and International distribution network.
Through Teragren, Ann is a member of Business for Social Responsibility (founding member of the Green Cargo Group at BSR), the North American Association of Floor Covering Distributors, U.S. Green Building Council, World Floor Covering Association, National Wood Flooring Association, Architectural Woodwork Institute, American Institute of Architects and the International Interior Design Association.