Different woods have different degrees of hardness and density which will affect how they look over time. Eastern White Pine, the softest wood used for flooring, has in many cases withstood over 200 years of use and abuse. You’ll never “walk through” a wood floor.
Hardness and response to moisture are individual to each species, and these properties are important considerations when choosing a wood floor.
The hardness of wood is measured scientifically by the “Janka” test. This test measures the pressure it takes to sink a .444 inch steel ball one half its diameter into the surface of the wood. A higher number denotes a harder wood. Woods that are naturally harder than others will show less dents and evidence of traffic, but this relative standard is mostly for cosmetic reasons as all wood floors will last hundreds of years before they are worn through.
Although many characteristics of bamboo are similar to those of hardwoods, bamboo is not a wood but a grass, with remarkable characteristics of its own. Its tensile strength and weight-to-strength ratio make it the strongest growing woody plant on earth. There are over 1500 different varieties growing up to 60 feet tall, from sea level to12,000 feet, on every continent but the North and South poles. Three species are natural to the United States, thriving best in the cotton states and the valleys of Southern California. Some species grow over four feet a day! Most bamboo is found in China, and starting over 4,000 years ago Chinese people used bamboo, then silk, then paper to record history and spread culture.
All Bamboo regenerates naturally from its root system like a lawn and is the fastest growing canopy for the re-greening of degraded lands. The bamboo specie used for flooring is harvested every 4 – 8 years, is not a food source or habitat for pandas, and releases 35% more oxygen than the equivalent stands of trees. (more…)