Question

We are considering radiant heat. Will manufactured bamboo flooring stand up to the challenge?

Asked by Julie Reimers, Stony Brook, NY

We are considering radiant heat. Will manufactured bamboo flooring stand up to the challenge?

Answer

Lily Livingston

Answered by Lily Livingston

San Francisco, CA

Lily Marie Livingston, AIA

January 25, 2007

Bamboo can do just fine over radiant heat, but performance depends on:

  • the quality of bamboo flooring,
  • the installation method, and
  • user maintenance.

Engineered flooring is more stable than solid flooring

A floating engineered bamboo floor is best suited to radiant heat. Flooring material is expected to move to some degree with changes in interior temperature and seasonal changes in moisture content. Engineered flooring tends to be more stable than solid flooring, with the cross-lamination reducing expansion and contraction.

Also, make sure you select a company that sources mature bamboo.

Installation

How the bamboo is installed is essential to its performance over the radiant subfloor.

  • For example, it is important to have the material acclimatize in the structure prior to installation.
  • Also, the radiant floor should not produce temperatures over 85 degrees Fahrenheit.

When choosing an installer, look for members of the Radiant Panel Association, which provides helpful information in its Radiant Flooring Guide.

Maintenance

Finally, educate yourself about care of your radiant system with a wood floor.

Once the floor is installed, do not force the heat quickly (for example, after a long vacation), or heat over too large a temperature range; this can damage the bamboo.

Warranties

Because there are so many wild cards in the performance of bamboo over radiant heat, from installation to user actions, some companies do not warranty their bamboo flooring for this use.

EcoTimber does not provide a warranty for use over radiant heat, but Bamboo Hardwoods does.

Tagged In: bamboo flooring, home air quality, radiant heat

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