Bamboo flooring has undergone a number of changes since it was first introduced in the early 1990s. The “third coming” in bamboo flooring is now unfurled bamboo, which was introduced around 2011-2012.
This format takes the round stalk of bamboo and runs a single slit up the length of the stalk. The round stalk is then carefully “unfurled” and flattened into a sheet. The width of this sheet is the same as the circumference of the round stalk – approximately 6” to 8”.
The thickness of the sheet equals the thickness of the stalk’s wall, which is approximately 1/4” thick. Now, for the first time ever, bamboo has a wide, single piece (6”-8”) face, with the knuckle running across its full width. This sheet can be used as is as a wear layer or three pieces may be laminated together in thickness prior to running it into flooring, yielding the standard U.S. 3/4” wood flooring thickness.
Even more unique, unfurled bamboo allows you to leave the natural skin on – just as it comes from the bamboo grove – and use this skin as the flooring’s natural finish without the need for topcoating with man-made finishes. Alternatively, you can partially remove the natural skin and tint/topcoat with traditional UV finishes.
Unique to unfurled bamboo being finished with UV finishes is the one-piece face with the knuckles running fully across the face. Given bamboo’s unique cellular and fiber structure, whereby the outer skin is by far the hardest and most impact resistant part of the bamboo stalk, initial ball drop impact tests on the natural skinned, unfurled bamboo (which better replicate walking in high heels on the flooring than a lab Janka hardness test) amazingly show less denting than even on the densified strand woven format!
We believe this is the result of both the hardness of the natural bamboo skin coupled with the bamboo stringy fibers, which are largely concentrated in the bamboo stalk’s wall just under the skin, acting much like steel rebar used for tensioning and reinforcing concrete for strength. Or simply think of skin and underlying fibers in unfurled bamboo’s outer surface as a trampoline, whereby high-heel impact/ball-drop impact springs back as a result of the skin/fiber tension, producing little to no denting.