Tim Chavey

Flooring Specialist


Composite wood products: is a general term for wood-based panels made from wood pieces, particles or fibers bonded together with resin. This ATCM focuses on three main products: hardwood plywood (HWPW), particleboard (PB), and medium density fiberboard (MDF). Formaldehyde is emitted into the air from composite wood products when formaldehyde is released from urea-formaldehyde resin in composite wood products. Flooring consisting solely of bamboo veneers does not fall under the ATCM because such flooring is not specified in the ANSI/HPVA HP-1-2004 standard for hardwood and decorative plywood, which lists selected hardwoods and softwoods. Since bamboo is a grass, bamboo is exempt from the CARB & ARCM regulations.


Facts About Bamboo

  • Phyllostachys Moso is the largest temperate Bamboo in the world
  • Most Bamboo floorings are made from the Moso species
  • Moso Bamboo is a crawling type Bamboo
  • Bamboo is not a wood, it is closely related to the grass family
  • Moso Bamboo can grow in upwards of 24 to 47 inches in a single day
  • Bamboo containing formaldehyde (at the present time) is NOT regulated by the California Air Resource Board (CARB). It is exempt
  • Most Bamboo used in the manufacturing of flooring comes from the Hunan region of South-Central China and the Zhujiang River Delta area in Guangdong Province
  • There are more than 1500 species of Bamboo worldwide
  • Carbonized Bamboo is approximately 20% softer than natural Bamboo
  • Average Janka hardness for horizontal and vertical grain Bamboo is 1130 for carbonized and 1410 for natural. Strand-woven can average 3500 on the Janka scale


Bamboo culms reach a sufficiently high strength after standing for only three to four years. Bamboo continues to strengthen very slowly until it begin to deteriorate after seven to ten years. The average life span of Moso Bamboo is 12 to 20 years. Bamboo grown on hillsides is known to be stronger than that grown in wet places.

Important Information About Performing Moisture Tests On Bamboo Flooring

I am not sure, empirically how we'll ever come up with an exact method for measuring moisture content of stranded bamboo (other than oven bake-out).The strands are torn loose from the cane wall then reconstructed with a resin glue. Pinless meters have always been inaccurate when measuring in-situ as they often read below the surface as well and give an average reading of both media. If you are measuring the sub-floor and the wood then there is no way to compensate the meter. If you remove the wood, (bamboo) from the subfloor and read it with a pinless meter, the results will still be wrong as the meter is also going to read the glue that comprises part of the make up of the product.

Pin meters are converted ohm meters. They measure the change in voltage between the two pins. Since water conducts moisture the higher the MC the less voltage drop. But if you add a conductive or non-conductive glue (which then makes it a composite) there will simply be no way to get an accurate reading as these material have a completely different resistance than the surrounding wood fibers...which means you are no longer measuring just moisture.

It MAY also be true that stranded bamboo is more subject to ambient moisture conditions. "Normal" wood products gain moisture and expand...but first have internal compression that collapses part of the unsupported cell walls (water removed). While we seldom think of it in this way we see the exaggerated result with compression set. So, in essence, most wood products have some natural built in expansion...the cells that have been emptied of water during the drying process. If you fill that natural space with a resin the expansion can take place at a more rapid rate assuming the glue used gets hard and is unable to compress inward upon itself.