We've served the San Francisco Bay Area for over 20 years and take pride in our reputation for exceptional quality, outstanding creativity, and incredible reliability.

Learn More

Archive for flooring

What Is Strand Woven Bamboo Flooring?

Originally published on Thespruce.com on February 15 2019 By Lee Wallender

Fully-grown bamboo in gardens can be quite imposing, overtaking yards, creeping into neighbors’ properties, and resisting machetes and shovels. Cut and expose the core of this grass to sun and rain for only a short time and it will quickly start to flatten, shred, and break up. Paradoxically, bamboo has also become a highly popular interior floor covering material known for its toughness.

Bamboo flooring imbues your living space with a depth and richness normally associated with highly expensive exotic hardwood. With the right surface treatment, this chameleon-like material is able to adopt the look of walnut, oak, or pine flooring. Bamboo’s structural weakness means that flooring manufacturers must invent ways to turn grass into a material that behaves and looks similar to wood. Not only that, a browning treatment for bamboo flooring called carbonizing, or carmelizing, can further weaken the bamboo by up to 30-percent, increasing the need for strengthening measures.

Producers subject the material to tens of thousands of pounds of force and bathe the bamboo in resins. These production processes create a floor covering that is durable enough to withstand human and pet traffic for years to come. Strand woven bamboo flooring is a sharp departure from traditional horizontal and vertical bamboo floors. It is far more durable and offers greater structural integrity than conventional bamboo flooring.

What Is Strand Woven Bamboo Flooring?

Ordinary horizontal bamboo flooring looks like pressed bamboo, despite any staining or other surface treatments. The coloration might say walnut or oak, but the patterning definitely says bamboo since the bamboo’s culm (stalk) and distinctive nodes are visible.

Yet anyone purchasing strand woven bamboo flooring and expecting that their floor will look like bamboo might be disappointed. Early in the production process, the bamboo loses its iconic look.

Bamboo is used as a source product much in the same way that wood pulp makes particle board or crushed minerals make quartz countertops. The bamboo is not stripped in recognizable form and laminated. Instead, it is machine-shredded to pull out and isolate its strong fibers. These fibers are then pressed by steel hydraulic presses and subjected to heat until they form extremely dense logs. Once these logs are cured, they can be milled and fabricated.

San Francisco-based Smith & Fong introduced Chinese bamboo flooring to the U.S. market in 1991. A decade later, the company introduced strand woven bamboo flooring. They call strand woven bamboo flooring “an entirely new bamboo aesthetic” because it moves beyond that traditional bamboo look that attracted so many buyers in the 1990s and 2000s. Strand woven bamboo can be turned not just into floorboards but other building materials such as plywood.

Strand Woven Bamboo Flooring’s Durability

Unlike oak, hickory, maple, or other hardwoods, bamboo is not inherently wear-resistant. Even without treatment, many hardwoods wear quite well. Even a softwood such as cedar is known for its longevity due to its natural oils that help the wood resist weathering.

By contrast, bamboo flooring relies almost entirely on manufacturing methods such as the strand weaving process, binding materials, and tough surface aluminum oxide finishes for its strength and durability. Strand woven bamboo flooring is far more durable than vertical or horizontal bamboo flooring because the cross-hatched strands act in concert to hold the material together.

Testing of many exotic hardwoods with the Janka hardness testing system shows that a majority have around a 4,500 rating. According to major bamboo flooring supplier Cali Bamboo, third-party testing “typically find(s) Janka hardness ratings for most strand woven bamboo floors test closer to 3,000 pounds.” Strand woven bamboo flooring is roughly three times more durable than conventional horizontal or vertical bamboo flooring, making it an excellent floor covering for high impact areas. If you have young children or large pets, bamboo flooring might be the highly durable material that you need.

Sources of Strand Woven Bamboo Flooring

Smith & Fong Plyboo

The originator of the bamboo flooring movement in the U.S. has moved well past producing only residential interior flooring and now they produce underlayment, gym flooring, trim and molding, and a host of other bamboo-based products. But Smith & Fong is still a reliable source for strand woven bamboo flooring with its Stiletto Strand and PlyBoo Strand flooring lines.

Cali Bamboo

All of Cali Bamboo’s Fossilized Bamboo Flooring products are strand woven and exceed the 5,000 Janka point rating. Cali Bamboo’s Fossilized strand woven bamboo flooring compacts 30-percent more bamboo into each plank than horizontal bamboo flooring.


Based in Bainbridge Island, Washington, Teragren keeps track of and controls the entire manufacturing process for its strand woven bamboo flooring.

Build Direct

This online-only home improvement materials retailer offers inexpensive strand woven bamboo flooring, though you do need to meet certain order volume minimums to secure those lower prices.

Tips for Tiling Beginners

Originally Published on Footbridgemedia.com

Anyone who’s ever undertaken the task of a DIY home tile flooring project can tell you that there are many possible pitfalls that await you. As the saying goes, “you don’t know what you don’t know”. And this couldn’t be truer than when tiling your first room. If you walk into most home’s you can see a huge difference in the quality of tiling from the first project to the fifth. This is because tiling isn’t difficult once you get the basic concept down and learn a few tricks along the way. So here are some tips to help you on your freshman effort. Good luck!

Whole Is Greater Than the Sum.

No tile project is an island. You need to consider every element of your room as a whole. For instance, if you are tiling your kitchen, you need to ask yourself how the tile is going to match the cabinets, the paint, the appliances, and the toaster. Most rooms are the equivalent of a canvas in which all subject are creating a vibe.

Plan! Plan! Plan!

Do the math. Crunch the numbers. Take the measurements. You need to know within a given margin how much your project is going to cost and if it is within your budget. This will be determined by accurate measurements, number of pieces ordered, tools needed, all supplies, including additional items you might have to purchase such as quarter round trim along the floor. Will anything need to be pulled up, destroyed or replaced? Take into account the entirety of the project.

Take Inventory

When the day finally comes that you purchase your tile there are two questions that you need to ask your tile retailer: First question, Here’s how much I need, do you have enough in stock? Second Question, If I need to reorder down the road will it be available. The first question is usually a yes. The second question is usually a no. Tile is like fashion clothing. It comes in and out with the tide. For both questions, it is better to purchase some extra tile. Another reason for this is because you’ll probably mess up a few pieces since you are a beginner. You’ll need extra. Get it. Store it.

Design In Advance

Some people like horizontal, some like vertical, and some like diagonal. If you do not know but would like to find out, then try to draw a mock up of your room with the floor design. It doesn’t have to be a professional spec, just a scratch drawing of the room either from an angle or from the ceiling view. If your tile floor design is a little more complicated than the three options mentioned above, then sketching it out is essential.

Tools of the Trade

Here is a general list of tools you’ll need to efficiently and effectively do the job.

  • Snap Chalk Line – This guides the tile rows on the floor.
  • Carpenter’s Square – The insures that the intersecting chalk lines are angled correctly
  • Straightedge – this keeps the tile rows even. A long straight edge is preferred
  • Notched Trowel – This spreads the thinset along the floor. Make sure the notch sizes match tile manufacturer’s specifications.
  • Wet Saw – This gives you efficiency in cutting and gives you straight edges. It is also safe as it keeps sparks from flying during the cutting.
  • Tile Nipper – To make small cuts and trim away excel tile.
  • Rubber Tile Spacers – These are essential and very effective at making sure you tiles are evenly spaced. We recommend using 2-3 evenly spaced tile spacers on each side of the tile.
  • Rubber Grout Float – Apply enough grout to fill the spaces in between the tile without spreading the grout over the entire tile. This greatly reduces messy application.
    Sponges – Silicone Sponges wipes away excess grout. A dry course sponge buffs away grout haze which can settle on the tiles.
  • Drill & Mixing Bit – This is not essential. It is efficient, however, and gives your thinset and grout a great mix. This is the equivalent of using a mixer instead of a spoon for whipping up your cake ingredients. It’s just easier.

First Layout, Then Install

It is best to pre-cut every piece and lay the entire design out on the floor before you actually attach it. This is especially beneficial if this is your first project. Sure, it creates a little more work, but it is worth it to see the finished product before you install it. This will save you possible future headaches. Once the tile is attached, there is no turning back.

Follow Thinset & Grout Instructions

Make sure you read the mixing and installation instructions on the back of the thinset or grout bag to the letter. Make sure the mixing ratios are measured and perfect.

Clean As You Go

It is always best to clean the thinset and the grout before it has a chance to dry. It is much easier to clean it while it’s still fresh. Be careful, however, not to use too much water to clean. Your sponges need to be damp but not soaking wet. Too much water can get into the thinset or grout and keep it from firmly setting. Too much water can also create water bubbles which lead to gaps in your mix.

Happy Tiling

Alright, there you go. This is a general rundown of how to undertake your first tiling project. Although this checklist is helpful, it is by no means, comprehensive. The key is to do proper research from experienced professionals and make sure you learn as much as you can before you launch. This will help you save money and create a beautiful floor from start to finish. Good luck!