Floating bamboo floor refers to the way that the individual bamboo planks connect, and does not have anything to do with the material itself. It is a common misconception that floating bamboo and engineered bamboo are synonymous. However, this is a misnomer, and floating bamboo planks can be either engineered “veneer” materials or solid composite materials. The defining characteristic is that the pieces connect to one another, not the subfloor.
Click-Together Floating Bamboo Flooring
Floating bamboo planks are manufactured in such a way, that the individual pieces are able to be fitted one into another, snapping the entire installation together. With these floors, there is no need to adhere or nail the material down to the subfloor. It is the entire contiguous weight of the overall floor that holds the surface covering in place.
Ease of Installation
The fact that you do not need to use adhesives, nails, or anything else to get the covering to remain in place means that installing a floating floor is relatively simple. The pieces are literally made to fit one another, snapping naturally into place with ease and grace. This will generally allow you to undertake the installation of one of these floors yourself, saving you the hassle and expense of having to have a contractor come into your home.
One of the advantages of a floating floor is that the planks are able to easily expand and contract with fluctuations in the temperature, without suffering from the stresses that many other floors will feel. That is because the planks are not adhered to the subfloor, only to one another, and so they have nothing restraining them when they plump or shrink.
This allows floating bamboo to be used in slightly more humid environments than a nailed down application might. However, the material itself will still be susceptible to warping and mold if water penetration occurs.
Resale Value of Floating Bamboo
Some people consider floating floors to be less stable and durable than regular hard installed materials. In some cases, the planks may actually be cheaper, or of a thinner make. However, a quality floating bamboo floor, properly installed and maintained, should be nearly indistinguishable from one that is permanently bonded in place.
Floating bamboo floors are installed by simply clicking the various planks to one another. That means that if a single piece is damaged through denting or scratching, it should be possible to simply remove that plank and replace it with another piece from the same lot. This can help save the cost of repairing or replacing an entire floor.
Laminate “Engineered” Bamboo Floating Floors
All bamboo flooring is engineered. Even solid bamboo is made from strips or pulp of the grass stalks, sliced and then pressed together into planks. However, when most people mention engineered bamboo, especially in connection with floating floors, they are referring to laminates.
Laminate floor plank is made up of a backing layer which is mostly filler. The surface of the material, however, is a thin slot of the actual bamboo material, treated to look its best. This is then protected with an invisible sealant layer, which spreads across the surface protecting that thin veneer slice from getting damaged or stained.
Laminate bamboo floating floors are extremely simple from start to finish. They come ready to assemble and can be installed by even an amateur. Then maintenance is just a matter of keeping the surface clean of loose debris. Otherwise, the wear layer protects the bamboo, keeping the natural stalk material from any substances that can harm it.
Solid Bamboo Floating Floors
Solid bamboo is made from the natural stalk material, sliced down into thin slats, and then adhered together using chemical bonding agents pressed with heat and pressure to create solid planks. This material can then be treated with stains, paints, and sealers to affect its color and protect its surface.
Solid bamboo floating floors will look and feel more natural than laminates. It may also be possible to refinish them, though you’ll need the assistance of an experienced professional who has undertaken that kind of job before.
Its ability to resist damage from fluctuations in humidity means that floating bamboo can be considered in some environments where the water in the air might rule out nailed down alternatives. In addition, floating floors can be installed over a wide variety of subfloors that traditionally adhered materials wouldn’t be able to stick to. Because they adhere to one another these floors can even sometimes be installed over existing flooring.