How Is Bamboo Flooring Made?
Our lovingly tended Moso (or Mao) bamboo grows for 5-7 years in managed forests free of pesticides, herbicides and other toxic chemicals. Individual markings detailing age and quality ensure that only the highest caliber bamboo stems (called culms) are selected for use during each harvest. Each stalk is cut from the middle of the bamboo (the trunk-like main culm) and subjected to a rigorous inspection before transformation into beautiful, durable Ambient Bamboo flooring. Weaker culms are recycled and used for power in other parts of the manufacturing process or to make non-durable goods.
Splicing and Sorting from stalk to strip
You can’t shove a square peg through a round hole, and you can’t make a flat floor using rounded bamboo stalks. That’s why our skilled workers feed the hollow bamboo poles through a specially designed slicer, splicing them into thin, equally sized strips before peeling away their green outer layer. After splicing, the nodes (or joints between sections) are sanded down to create a smooth surface, resembling traditional hardwood. Unlike traditional lumber planking processes requiring massive, energy-guzzling machinery, bamboo splitting uses simpler, more efficient tools to get the raw materials from field to factory.
Pest & Decay Prevention creating a bug forcefield
An ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure, so when it comes to fighting off insect invasions, Ambient floors get a battery of booster shots. Improperly treated wood flooring — whether traditional hardwood or bamboo — inevitably rots or falls victim to timber-consuming parasites, resulting in expensive costs which can be easily avoided by purchasing a properly treated floor from Ambient. To prevent decay caused by impurities and to inoculate against future infestations at the hands of termites and other floor-destroying pests, Ambient’s raw bamboo strips are boiled in a solution of lime acid to remove potentially damaging grime, insects, starches and sugars.
deep, rich tones, inside and out.
You guessed it, bamboo flooring is naturally blond (insert your own joke here). To achieve darker tones, bamboo strips are subjected to a heat intensive procedure called carbonization (or carmelization). This carefully controlled, pressurized heating process affects the sugars deep within the bamboo’s fibers, giving the entire strip a richer, darker color. Unlike staining, which simply changes the outer pigmentation of the lumber to which is it applied, bamboo carbonization changes the color of the bamboo all the way through, inside and out.
not too dry. not too moist. just right
Like a perfect bowl of porridge, carefully managing the moisture content of wood floors is essential to quality and durability; too much or too little moisture can cause wood to shrink or swell after its installed. Our floors are tested meticulously for just the right balance of moisture. If moisture levels aren’t up to Ambient’s exacting standards, we dry the off-kilter strips in specialized kilns and then re-test them to ensure proper moisture content, maintaining the 8% +/- 2% standard set by U.S. regulations. We test, and re-test, until we get this one right.
prepare for planking
Once free of impurities and balanced for moisture, the bamboo strips are milled, sanded, and given an inspirational half-time pep talk to prepare them for the plank construction process. Milling machines cut the strips down to a precise, standard width and thickness before wide sanders smooth the surface of each strip to a uniform texture. At this point, some strips are turned into veneer for engineered floors. The sawdust created by this process is recycled to heat the kilns used for carbonization (Phase 3).
putting it all together
Depending on which type of flooring is being made — traditional (horizontal and vertical), strand woven, or engineered — a different plank construction process will occur next. Below is an overview of each process.
Classic (solid, vertical and horizontal)
Because the individual bamboo strips are only about an inch wide, multiple pieces must be pressed together to form planks. Ambient’s vertical grain (also known as end-grain bamboo) floors are created by aligning the strips side by side before pressing, and horizontal grain (also known as flat-grain bamboo) floors are created by stacking the strips face-up, one on top of another. Once the strips are properly aligned, they are fused together using environmentally friendly adhesives and hydraulic pressure. Ambient’s adhesives contain formaldehyde levels of less than 0.03 ppm — well below U.S. Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA), European (E1 and E0) and California Air Resources Board (CARB) guidelines, and Ambient is proud to provide 100% formaldehyde-free floors on special order.
Bamboo strips are pulled apart into strands, which are woven together and compressed multiple times under extreme pressure and heat. Ambient’s strand woven floors are almost three times harder than oak, twice as dense as classic bamboo flooring, and able to leap tall buildings in a single bound.
Engineered (including some click lock)
The top layer (veneer) of our beautiful strand-woven bamboo flooringis bonded to a tough, high-density fiberboard (HDF) core sandwiched between two recycled poplar plywood layers. Like toilet paper, the higher the ply, the higher the dimensional stability, and Ambient’s engineered floors boast a super-stable 5-ply HDF core. No gapping on these puppies.
After pressurization, the planks are inspected once again for gapping, irregularities and other problems to ensure they do not delaminate. Planks not up to Ambient’s exacting standards are removed from the assembly line.
Hand Scraped (includes some click lock)
After making the cut, some floors are scraped by hand to create a distressed look.
our planks go together, like rama lama ding dong
High-quality locking floors click together in perfect unison, just like a good Grease song, the Rockettes, or a successful casino heist. The same goes for tongue and groove planks — the better the milling, the less gaps you will have when you slide the planks together. We know this all too well. Therefore, once the planks are successfully fused and
double checked for irregularities, it’s back to our German-engineered milling machines, which cut each board into either click-lock or classic tongue-and-groove flooring. For all floors besides the engineered variety, the underside of each plank is milled into a ribbed pattern for support and maximum dimensional stability. After milling, the planks are sanded on top to ensure a smooth finish application and once again, inspected plank-by-plank and by hand for quality.
AccuSeal® Finishing Process
the best finish on bamboo, proven
When you’re going outside in a thunderstorm you need a rain slicker, and when you’re getting stepped on day in and day out you need the most protective finish available on the market. Our industry-leading 10-coat AccuSeal® finishing process features a solvent-free, water-based, scratch resistant coating (using Klumpp and Treffert finishes) made in Germany. We apply a proprietary (shhhh… it’s a secret!) finish coating to top it off that makes our floors stand up for years while
retaining their beauty.
All layers are applied and UV-cured individually to create uniform protection across the surface of the floor. A double layer of topcoat and proprietary coating further sets our finish apart from all other bamboo floors. The undercoating layers provide protection against sub-floor moisture.
Organization and Packaging
plank by plank
Like an ostrich in a chicken coop, an off-color floorboard sticks out. To avoid mismatched eyesores, Ambient sorts its flooring planks by hand — one at a time — into similar lots grouped according to color. This painstaking process ensures that there is enough diversity in each lot to maintain natural color variation in your floor while minimizing the jarring, odd-colored boards that plague other brands.
We wrap the bundled planks in plastic to protect them during shipment, and finally, enclose the bundles in cardboard boxes before sending them on their way to your home or office.
Bamboo is indigenous to china and there are over 1,000 species of bamboo. The beauty of bamboo is that once it is harvested and grown, there is no need to re-plant it after it is cut. It’s shoots continue to grow and thus there is no shortage in sight if maintained properly. Bamboo plants are not removed from the soil thus not causing soil erosion – another reason why bamboo is so eco-friendly.
The process begins when bamboo plants are cut by hand at the base like a tree and transferred to a facility where they can be further processed. (timber tracks?) At the factory, the bamboo is first split into portions called fingers. Split into 2 meters sections –
fingers are broken down into loose strands . Biber fibers are muchs tronger than tumber fiber s – excellent ensile strength. Next they are carbonized where raw amboo fibers are steamed in high pressure to carbonize the water and sugar in the bamboo inorder to get the warm dark coffee color that you see today. These strands are then dried in low heat to remove all excess water. These stands are then stored.
Next bamboo is soaked in water based eco friendly glue – they are dried and then placed in a mold where they compressed in extreme pressure to form a beam – 24 hors later – allowed to wait for 6 weeks – cut into planks – stored for 3 weeks – finishing process – 9 coats of sealer , anti uv , no formalydhye – dried with infraior lights – fully automated process to fixation process for installation – click system – sorted and and imperfections are through – packageds in cartoned