Volume 27/Number 23; March 17/24, 2014
The bamboo flooring market is moving in unison to strand-woven, an engineering process intended to make floors harder and more durable while creating a visual that closely resembles hardwood.
Today’s bamboo companies are combining that strand-woven look with styles (wide planks and strips) and colors (pink sand to jet black) that have refreshed the segment and, in some markets, given flooring dealers a differentiated selling option.
David Keegan, COO, said that in response to market demands, Bamboo Hardwoods has responded with a variety of looks, including distressed, hand-scraped, hand-woven and French bleed.
“We’re always approaching [design] from what the market wants rather than us saying, ‘Hey, we think this is cool. Why don’t you sell it?’” Keegan said. “We are listening carefully to our dealers and then responding so this is not some crapshoot.”
Driftwood, featuring gray tones, and Tawny, with its warmer brown/nutmeg look, are popular within the company’s Arcade and Suite collections. These bamboo products are available with a wire-brushed look or French bleed on the edges.
In June, Bamboo Hardwoods will launch Chalet, a hand-scraped line with a strand-woven wearlayer and multilayer plywood core. “Customers on the East Coast, West Coast and South into Texas have been asking for these looks, colors and construction,” Keegan noted
Developed and offered exclusively by Dasso, EcoBamboo uses an unfurled format to press the round bamboo canes flat instead of cutting them into strips for the traditional formats or shredding them for the strand-woven styles. The process leaves the natural outer skin on the face, which is the hardest part of bamboo; this becomes the floor’s natural finish. Products come in a range of widths, including 5-inch planks.
ColorFusion African Safari, a strand-woven engineered plank, is 9⁄16-inch thick, 5 inches wide x 73 inches long. Targeted for residential settings, ColorFusion can be floated, glued or nailed down.
Moisture problems have at times plagued bamboo, but Teragren’s hot press manufacturing process—in which heat is applied consistently to all four sides of the bamboo—produces a dense, more stable product, the company explained.
In 2014, Teragren will introduce 13 new looks in its Visions and Vantage II lines, including eight colors and a new wire-brushed finish option on the Vantage II engineered platform.The products include a hard wax oil finish that recently came to the North American market after experiencing success in Europe.
Interestingly, one of Teragren’s current best-selling products has been around for 20 years. “Our traditional-style floors have seen a skyrocket in the flat-grain, caramelized color (FGC),” said Caitlyn Kari, marketing communications manager. “This is one of the colors that we launched at the very beginning, 20 years ago.”
As with other bamboo manufacturers, USFloors is following the strand-woven trend with its Muse Strand collection of eight plank SKUs in dimensions of 5 1⁄2 x 73 x 1⁄2 inch, and two strip-width products in a 2 1⁄2 x 73 x 1⁄2-inch format.
Muse is an engineered product constructed with an HDF core; as such, it is more dimensionally stable and is designed to handle extreme weather. “It is the all-climate floor,” said Gary Keeble, product and marketing manager. “It will resonate with dealers who like bamboo.”
Muse is further distinguished by its staining techniques and a soft sculpted wire-brush look that provides a more random visual than the typical machine-scraped product. Muse displays ship in late March.
Strand-woven continues to drive Wellmade’s bamboo programs through all sales channels, with the company’s engineered strand collection the big seller. It features a seven-ply eucalyptus base and 4mm thick-sawn wearlayer, and is targeted for residential and commercial use. “Best of all, it can be used on any level of the project and performs in any climate, from humid to arid,” said Steve Wagner, director of sales and marketing.
Wellmade’s Old Growth Series features reclaimed visuals applied directly to a bamboo core, using the company’s high definition Clear-Tec bamboo imaging process.