A Guide to Bamboo Flooring Hardness

The subject of bamboo flooring hardness is commonly debated in the market. Some people say that bamboo is extremely hard and durable. Others argue that it is easy to dent and is not very hard. Here are a few things to consider about the hardness of bamboo flooring.

Janka Scale

When looking at the hardness of bamboo or hardwood flooring, the industry uses a tool called the Janka scale. This is a scale that is used to compare the hardness of wood flooring against each other. In order to perform this test, they drop a steel ball bearing on the floor from a particular height. Depending on how it reacts to having a ball dropped on it, it will achieve a score on the scale. The higher the score, the harder the wood is.

Carbonized Bamboo

One type of bamboo that many people consider is carbonized bamboo. Carbonizing bamboo is a process that is used to change the color of the bamboo. If you see a dark, caramel color bamboo, generally it was made this way by carbonization. When a bamboo goes through this process, it is going to make it softer. This is the softest type of bamboo that you can purchase. On the Janka scale, it has a score of 1180. This is softer than red oak, as it has a score of 1290. This means that it is the most susceptible to dents and scratches of all of the different kinds of bamboo on the market.

Natural Bamboo

Another type of bamboo is natural bamboo. This is a very common type of bamboo that you frequently see in the market. You will be able to tell that it is natural bamboo by the yellowish, gold color in the floor. Natural bamboo is a little bit harder than carbonized bamboo. On the Janka scale it has a value of 1380.

Strand Woven Bamboo

The hardest and most durable form of bamboo flooring is called strand woven bamboo. This type of bamboo flooring is made differently than traditional bamboo flooring. In order to construct this, they use small slivers of bamboo fibers. They take the pieces of bamboo and mix it together with a strong adhesive and resin. They take this mixture and press it together very tightly. It is constructed under extreme heat as well. Once the mixture is pressed together, they allow it to dry and it forms a very hard board. On the Janka scale, it can achieve values as much as 3000. This is comparable to some of the hardest hardwoods in the world.

Compared to Hardwood

Although people use the Janka scale to compare hardness, there are other factors that you need to consider as well. Pieces of bamboo are held together with adhesive. If something sharp drops on the surface of the bamboo, it will be much more likely to scratch or dent when compared to a hardwood with an equal Janka scale rating.