I was wandering around the Sydney Home Show almost 2 years ago and I came across Style Plantations . This company was displaying a new flooring product. I struck up a conversation with Brendon, who was representing the company on the stand, he explained the benefits of using compressed bamboo as a flooring material. What initially attracted me was that here was a product that was durable (it was 66% harder than Jarrah), had a good slip rating and came prefinished so no additional sanding, staining or coating was required.
In addition the product was made from a totally renewable resource, bamboo. I am a bit of a cynic so I decided to do some homework on this company. I found out that Style Plantations wasn’t just a sales outlet for this product, but were a joint venture partner with the factory (Anji Tianfeng Bamboo Products ) based in Zhejiang Provence in China. I was dealing with the maker, this cannot be a bad thing. In 2007 they made more than a million square metres of bamboo flooring.
I decided to use this product throughout the project so I struck up a deal with Brendon and he calculated that we needed about 254 square metres to completely floor the project. So I placed our order. In retrospect I could have placed the order a lot later as it took us another 9 months to get to the point where we were ready to lay the floor. Brendon showed great patience during this period as we delayed delivery date after delivery date. Well last week we finally took delivery.
John Bennett the builder lugged five pallets manufactured compressed bamboo floorboards onto the job. The first thing that he noticed were that they were incredibly heavy. These were some dense boards. I guess that this is a result of the manufacturing process where bamboo is stripped into long strands and then these strands are almost woven layer by layer, coated with a special adhesive and compressed into a sheet using incredible pressure. These sheets are then milled into tongue and groove, end matched floorboards. The second thing was how hard these boards were to cut. They were almost like steel.
As these boards are “manufactured” there are far less bows and curves than traditional flooring. But as they are still a natural product, the boards need to be graded colourwise so you get a consistent finish to the floor. After the grading process, John laid the longest run to use as a benchmark to work from.
At the doorways you can see that we have included a trim. As the boards are straight and true as well as end matched this process is not as difficult as normal. The finish looks great.
On the upper level the compressed bamboo is laid directly onto a plywood underlay. The boards are glued directly onto this underlay. This job has been made a lot easier by using the Ultraspreader that my friend Ray Greenslade developed. I have written about this tool before to read more detail on the Ultraspreader click here.
On the ground floor the compressed bamboo floorboards are glued to battens that are fixed directly to the concrete slab. Over the next few days the floor will be complete.