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A Comparison between Strand Woven Bamboo Flooring and Cork Flooring

Updated on December 1, 2010

Making strand woven bamboo flooring and cork flooring

Both strand woven bamboo flooring and cork flooring are sustainable flooring types because they are made from renewable resources. This post will compare these two types of flooring.

Most strand woven bamboo flooring comes from China. It is made by cutting moso bamboo into strands which are then boiled to remove sugars. After this the strands are compressed with a low VOC adhesive under pressure to produce a block of hard strand woven bamboo that can be milled into flooring planks.

The process to make cork flooring is similar. Most cork oak trees grow in the Mediterranean area. After 25 years the cork oak is ready to be harvested for its bark. The bark is peeled off without damaging the tree. A cork oak produces a harvest of cork bark or cork cambium every nine years. It is the third and subsequent harvests of cork which are good enough to make cork flooring. First the cork is allowed to dry then it is boiled to remove the outer bark. Then it is ground up and mixed with low VOC adhesive and finally the mix is compressed. The result is a block of cork that can be cut into cork flooring tiles.

Although the processes of making strand woven bamboo flooring and cork flooring are similar, there is one vital difference: the cork oak is not killed in the process. This means the tree continues to absorb carbon and give off oxygen, and it continues to be part of the bio-diversity of the forest. In contrast, huge areas of Guangdong Province are clear cut for bamboo cultivation. It is possible to grow bamboo without fertilizers and pesticides but it is very hard to know how environmentally friendly much of the agriculture is behind the Iron Rice Bowl.

Cork flooring

cork flooring
cork flooring

Similarities

There are two main similarities between cork flooring and strand woven bamboo flooring. The first is that they are cheaper than hardwood flooring. The second is that they are both excellent flooring choices for people with allergies and asthma. Both strand woven bamboo flooring and cork flooring contain natural chemicals that fight off pests and pathogens. This makes them both mold and fungal resistant and also anti-microbial. They are both good at stopping the spread of dust mites in a house. It is mold, fungus and dust mites that are the main triggers for allergic rhinitis.

strand woven bamboo flooring

strand woven bamboo flooring
strand woven bamboo flooring

Differences

The differences between the two flooring types are interesting. Cork is light and full of air. As a consequence it is soft underfoot and a good thermal and acoustic insulator. In contrast, strand woven bamboo is very hard (one of the hardest flooring types) and reflects heat and sound rather than absorbing it.

Of the two types of flooring, strand woven bamboo is probably the best to deal with heavy furniture and high traffic situations; but, cork is the most comfortable to walk on and sit on.

Finally, it terms of appearance, strand woven bamboo flooring has a closer appearance to hardwood flooring with its grain and color. However, cork is very easy to stain and can be made to suit any type of indoor décor.

In closing

If you are considering whether to buy cork flooring or strand woven bamboo flooring it is worth considering if the flooring will see heavy traffic. It is also worth checking out the environmental credentials of the strand woven bamboo producer. And finally, it is a good idea to see samples to decide which you think looks the best.

Whichever you choose, you are sure to get flooring which is healthy and from a renewable resource.

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