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What they don’t tell you about Bamboo flooring

It is often common to hear about all the glowing reviews that are given when inquiring about have a bamboo floor installed in your home, such as how it is considered to be very durable and resistant to impact.  However, it begs the question; what are the industry providers not telling you about bamboo floor covering?

After conducting some research from independent sources, the other truth about bamboo becomes very apparent.  In one such article, in the peer reviewed journal of Building and Environment (2012), entitled ‘Evaluation of formaldehyde emissions from different types of wood-based panels and flooring materials using different standard test methods’, the dangers of bamboo floor covering are outlined in great detail.  The study conducts tests to determine the formaldehyde emission of different types of wood based floor covering products, using different testing methods in order to give a more accurate reading of the results.  The test methods used were: European small-scale chamber (EN 717-1), gas analysis (EN 717-2), the American small-scale chamber (ASTM D 6007-02) and the perforator (EN 120) methods.  Four types of flooring materials were used:

Type 1 – HDF laminate flooring; bonded high-pressed laminate (HPL) panels on top with a waterproof HDF as a core substrate of various thickness (7, 8, 11 and 12 mm).

Type 2 – Solid wood flooring; solid spruce multi-layer of 10 and 15.5 mm and solid oak multi-layer of 10 and 15 mm.

Type 3 – Solid wood bamboo (Bambusa vulgaris Schrad. ex J.C. Wendl.) flooring; one layer of 12 mm and a multi-layer of 15 mm.

Type 4 – Polyvinyl chloride (PVC) with different thicknesses. Ultra-violet (UV) curable coating layer with different thicknesses was used for some PVC panels.

The test results were as follows:

Table 7. Formaldehyde emission values (mg/m3) from different types of flooring materials as measured by EN 717-1 method.

Flooring typeThickness (mm)Formaldehyde value (mg/m3)
SWF (Spruce multi-layer)100.035
SWF (Oak multi-layer)100.021
PVC1.2/0.07 mm UV-curable layer0.003
2.5/0.3 mm UV-curable layer0.005
5/0.5 mm UV-curable layer0.008
Solid Bamboo Floor (one layer)120.01
Solid Bamboo Floor (multi-layer)150.082

The results show that SBF (Bamboo Flooring) has double the formaldehyde emission of SWF (Oak Flooring) of a similar quality and manufacture production.  Out of the solid wooden floors, SWF (Spruce flooring) had the highest reading with 0.125mg/m2 followed by SBF (Bamboo flooring) at 0.082mg/m2.  Put this in comparison with Elyseum Timber Flooring, the preferred choice of timber flooring at Esspada Collection, which has 0.00mg/m2 formaldehyde reading.

This is because it does not contain any formaldehyde throughout in its manufacture or any volatile organic compounds (VOCs), making it the safest and most suitable flooring for people of all households.

The formaldehyde emissions of wood based products and flooring materials has been receiving much more scrutiny, from the general public as well as the wood industries, ever since formaldehyde became known as a toxic air contaminant (Salem et al. 2012).

In fact, the International Agency of Research on Cancer (IARC), which is a part of the World Health Organization (WHO), reclassified formaldehyde from the category of ‘probably carcinogenic to humans (Group 2A’, to ‘carcinogenic to humans (Group 1)’, in June 2004  (Salem et al. 2012).

Is it wise to have a carcinogenic flooring product in your home, constantly emitting toxic formaldehyde into the air; air that your loved ones is exposed to on a daily basis?  It is clear that the risks that the cons of bamboo flooring pose, far outweigh the pros.

Source:  Salem. M, Bohm. M, Srba. J, Berankova. J, (2012), ‘Evaluation of formaldehyde emissions from different types of wood-based panels and flooring materials using different standard test methods’, Journal of Building and Environment, Vol. 49, No. 1, pp. 86-96.


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"Esspada Collection were fantastic! They did everything to ensure we were satisfied with the end product. We are thrilled with all they did and the final product is outstanding! Thank you Esspada Collection!" "Esspada Collection went above & beyond to make sure we were happy with the final product." "They took care of us to ensure we were happy. We are absolutely thrilled with the final product and the fact that the team at Esspada Collection were so flexible and willing to meet our needs considering we lived three hours away. They were brilliant!"

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