Your most frequently asked questions
Your most frequently asked questions
For our bamboo products, we specify only Teragren Optimum 5.5 Moso bamboo grown in the Zhejiang province of China. There are more than 1,500 species of bamboo and moso (Phyllostachys pubescens) is among the hardest, with dense fibers that make for strong timber and beautiful, durable bamboo flooring, panels and veneer. Bamboo has greater compressive strength than concrete and about the same strength-to-weight ratio as steel in tension. But it doesn’t start out that way. To achieve the characteristics valued in construction material, it must be harvested at the right time, between 5-1/2 and 6 years.
Our most important ally in our efforts to make quality bamboo products responsibly is the single factory group with which we have worked for over 20 years. Headquartered in the Zhejiang province of China, our partner maintains our strict, environmentally conscious standards day in and day out. Teragren vice president of manufacturing and operations Tom Goodham frequently visits the factories for ongoing product development, quality assurance and to monitor working conditions. The factory group is certified ISO 9001:2000 and 14001 with 11 quality-control inspection stations in the production process plus a quality control engineer performing spot checks.
The high quality, mountain grown 5.5 year old moso bamboo – the only bamboo Teragren uses for our premium products – grows primarily in the Zhejiang province of China. Because that is where the bamboo grows, that is also where we make our products. Our bamboo is harvested by hand and each culm is carried out of the forest on foot to maintain the delicate root systems of the forest floor. Our manufacturing facilities are located within a day’s drive of the forest in order to cultivate close relationships with the family farmers who grow and harvest our bamboo, as well as to ensure access to the highest quality raw materials.
Because bamboo is so good at capturing carbon from the atmosphere and sequestering it within the stalk and root system, all Teragren’s products are carbon-negative at the time of manufacture. We work with Clean Cargo member carriers for our ocean transport, as well as partner with SmartWay carriers for our land transport within North America. Our intention is to keep the transportation footprint of our products as minimal as possible, and 70% of Teragren deliveries travel at least half of their journey via rail, which uses 76% less fuel per mile than other over land transportation methods. By the time your Teragren product arrives at your home or business, it is still carbon negative, holding on average 0.84 lbs of CO2 per square foot.
Teragren partner Resource Fiber is exploring opportunities to grow bamboo domestically in the future. To learn more about their efforts, visit their website.
We appreciate the trust you have placed in us to provide only the highest quality products, and we take our customers’ health and well-being very seriously. For over 20 years, Teragren has been committed to designing and manufacturing bamboo products that are healthy for the home and the environment. In that vein, all Teragren flooring products are tested and certified to the California 01350 standard for indoor air quality, the most stringent indoor air quality standard in the world, and are CARB Phase II compliant. Our panels and veneer are tested to the SCS Gold standard for indoor air quality.
Our products are tested through a US-based independent, third-party ISO/IEC17025 accredited laboratory specializing in the analysis of organic chemicals emitted by and contained in building products. All Teragren flooring products comply with California standard 01350 for indoor air quality, and are CARB Phase II compliant – emitting significantly less formaldehyde than allowed by the CARB standard.
If you have any additional questions or concerns, or would like to view original testing data for any of our products, please contact us.
Like all bamboo, each culm grows rapidly from a rhizome. Moso has been known to grow 47 inches in 24 hours, but it generally reaches its maximum height of 80 feet within just two months. After that, growth occurs within the stalk. The walls of the hollow culm thicken inward as chlorophyll, sugar and organic material are changed into dense, fibrous cellulose. It is these reinforced but lightweight internodes that provide tremendous strength with flexibility along the entire length of the bamboo culm.
Young shoots of moso are so tender that they can be harvested as a culinary delicacy (for humans, not pandas). One-year-old culms are still soft and can be used to make fine calligraphy paper. At four years of age, fiber development in the culm is more appropriate for pulp and paper manufacturing than bamboo flooring.
When the bamboo reaches maturity at 5-1/2 to 6 years, its fibers are at peak density—and it’s time to harvest. By using only Optimum 5.5 Moso bamboo harvested in this way, Teragren ensures that our products are harder and more stable for lasting beauty and performance.
Locking Floating Floors:
For this application, we recommend an impermeable moisture barrier such as 6 mil polyethylene sheet (available at any hardware store), followed by a 2mm/5/64” thick pad of foam or cork. Using a slightly thicker cork product may be possible – call us at 206-842-9477 with specific questions.
For floating floors where the tongue and groove are glued together:
For this application, we recommend an impermeable moisture barrier such as 6 mil polyethylene sheet (available at any hardware store), followed by a 3mm/1/8″ thick pad of foam or cork. Using a slightly thicker cork product may be possible – call us at 206-842-9477 with specific questions.
NOTE: It is very important to make sure you use an impermeable moisture barrier over a concrete slab. A moisture or vapor retarder will not suffice. Floating floors should only be installed in rectangle-shaped rooms. Transitions can be used in doorways to create 2 different rectangular spaces for the installation of your floating floor.
For this application, we recommend an asphalt laminated kraft paper product of the following specification: UU-B-790a, Grade B, Type 1, Style 1a permeable vapor retarder or equivalent with a perm rating between .7 and 1”. Roofing or builder’s felt is not sufficient. A couple of products that meet these requirements are linked below:
If for any reason you do not want to use an asphalt product, a silicone impregnated paper may be used instead, such as the Silicone Vapor Shield product by All Globe
NOTE: Make sure that the product you use is a vapor retarder and not a moisture barrier. Moisture barriers such as 6 mil polyethylene sheet or Rosin paper may trap moisture against the plywood subfloor, potentially causing mold, mildew or rot.
Teragren Strand material is very hard and dense. We recommend an 18 gauge cleat nailer. Using 18 ga staples or brad nails will result in the staple/nail wadding and curling up. Using a 15-16 gauge nailer will cause bumps to appear in the top surface, and possibly blow off the tongue of the plank because of the larger nails. The 18 ga cleats have a much wider cross section and will not bend or curl. The following nailers have been tested with our Xcora products by their manufacturers:
• PORT-A-NAILS: 418A Evolution
• Primatech: Pneumatic Nailer Q550
• POWERNAIL: Pneumatic Model Flex or 50P
• POWERNAIL: Manual Model 50M
You can download our complete nailing guidelines here.
If you need to rent rather than buy an 18 ga cleat nailer, you may want to check out the rental locater on the PowerNail website.
TIP: Ensure that the nailer is properly adjusted:
• Ensure that the PSI settings are correct (70-110 PSI depending on the model of nailer being used)
• Adjust your nailer “shoe” to ensure that the nail is passing through the nail-pocket on the tongue
• Cleats should enter into the flooring plank at approximately 50 degrees. If the angle of entry is too shallow (<45 degrees) dimpling of the plank surface may occur
• Always test your nailer on a sacrificial plank prior to beginning a nailing project.
Floating Floor T&G Glue
Use a Tongue and Groove adhesive when floating the Portfolio TG, Visions, Vantage and Craftsman floors. Similar to regular woodworking glues, it will come in a squeeze bottle for easy application. Ensure that you purchase and use an adhesive specifically designed for this application. Franklin TiteBond Tongue and Groove adhesive is one brand we know works well.
Glue-down installation We recommend the use of a low-VOC, premium, water-free flooring adhesive specifically recommended by the adhesive manufacturer for use with bamboo flooring. The following low-VOC adhesives are warranted by their manufacturer(s) to be compatible with Teragren flooring products:
• Franklin Flooring Products: Titebond 811 Advantage; Titebond 821 Premium; Titebond 741 Ultimate
• DriTac: DriTac 7700 Easy Clean Premium, DriTac 7500 Eco-Urethane Premium; DriTac 7000 Moisture Control
• Mapei: Ultrabond ECO 985, Ultrabond ECO 995, Ultrabond ECO 980
Download our complete adhesive guidelines here.
NOTE: Always use a moisture barrier and adhesive system manufactured by the same company – never mix products.
Teragren products arrive at the job site with a delivered moisture content of approximately between 7 and 10 percent. Always allow the flooring to acclimate in the room where it will be installed before installation to ensure maximum stability. For environments with an existing relative humidity of 35-55%, flooring products can remain in the box, on site, for 48 hours prior to installation, just to bring the material up to room temperature. For any environment out of the 35-55% relative humidity range, flooring planks should be removed from packaging and “stacked and stickered” in a log-cabin pattern that allows airflow in and around all sides of each plank. Use a moisture meter to test the moisture content of the material and then measure again every 24 hours. When the moisture content of the material has reached equilibrium – is no longer changing – the planks can be considered acclimated.
Please see Teragren’s Moisture Meter Guide for instructions on measuring the moisture content of our Strand and Traditional based flooring products.
You can download our Care & Maintenance brochure here for standard cleaning guidelines.
If you have a cloudy look to the finish of your floor:
It is possible that there is flooring adhesive on your floor. This is most likely if you notice the cloudiness immediately after a new floor has been installed. If you think this is the case, you will need to find out what adhesive was used and then contact the technical department of the adhesive manufacturer. They will have the best information on how to remove their adhesive.
If you’re fairly certain that the cloudiness is not due to adhesive residue, it is possible that you are seeing a build-up of Bona floor cleaner on top of your floor. You can test this by applying a bit of rubbing alcohol to a rag and see if it removes any buildup on the surface. If so, use a 50/50 mix of rubbing alcohol and distilled water in a spray bottle along with a “Swiffer” type mop to clean the floor of this residue.
We recommend the use of a rubber, honeycomb-type pad which has holes in it and will therefore allow the floor to “breathe”. Other good options include a 100% non-solvent based waffle type rubber, an untreated natural fiber such as wool or jute, or 1/4″ chopped urethane. Avoid rugs with sticky or tacky backers, solid rubber, PVC, and stiff pads with hard cleats or grippers on the bottom..
NOTE: Wood will change color over time due to sunlight, and the portion under the rug may change color as well. It is best to move the rug periodically to keep a more even color throughout the wood floor.
Scratches in the polyurethane finish show up white. To change the color of a scratch and blend it back in, use a product such as Zenith Almond Stick, or use mineral oil applied to a rag. This will not fill in the scratch, however; it will change the color and make it less noticeable.
For a deeper gouge, use RPM/Mohawk Fil Stiks. These are large wax crayons that fill voids and are a close match to Teragren’s colors. For ordering purposes through RPM, please use the information from this chart.
If neither of the above solutions works for you, it is time to consider plank replacement. Contact your original flooring installer, or find a flooring dealer through Teragren’s Locator to get a quote on replacing just the damaged flooring plank.
Frequent dust mopping will help remove grit that can scratch your floors.
Placing walk-off mats at entries will help to capture debris brought in on shoes from outside.
Keeping pet nails trimmed will also assist in keeping your floors looking beautiful.
Make sure to use felt “feet” on the bottom of any furniture that sits directly on your floor.
If wear and tear have dulled the surface of your floor, then it is possible to use a sandless recoat system such as Bona Prep or Basic Coating TyKote to refresh the finish of the floor. This process is acceptable for use on floating floors, as well as those that have been installed by nail, staple or glue-down.
NOTE: We do NOT recommend a full sand and recoat on a floating floor. The sanding machine can cause the floor to bounce up and down, which causes “chatter marks” in the floor surface.
Like any other hardwood, all Teragren flooring products include a structural and finish warranty when our products are installed into environments that maintain 35% – 55% relative humidity year-round, within a 60-80 degree Fahrenheit temperature range. If you feel confident that your installation can meet these requirements, then you should feel confident installing a Teragren floor. Below are a few common scenarios that may need to be evaluated on a case-by-case basis for suitability:
If your bathroom is well ventilated, then going with a hardwood floor may be an option. If you choose to do so, we recommend the use of a “splash guard” – in the form of tile or stone – immediately outside of showers or bathtubs, or other areas that are likely to come in direct contact with water on a regular basis. If condensation often accumulates on the walls of your bathroom, then hardwood flooring may not be the best choice.
If your space is regularly seeing humidity levels above 55% or temperature above 85 degrees Fahrenheit, then hardwood flooring may not be the best choice for your installation.
Homes that are closed up for an extended period of time often experience something known as the “Greenhouse Effect”. When houses or apartments are closed up with no airflow, sunlight through windows generates heat, which can then cause condensation and humidity to build up in the home. When people return and the heat or air conditioner is run, the indoor climate experiences a drastic swing. This cycle can cause swelling/shrinking in hardwood floors. As long as the indoor climate can be maintained within the 35% – 55% relative humidity range year-round, you should have a successful hardwood floor installation.
For any space that is below grade (lower than the ground surface outside), you must use a floating installation. If any portion of the subfloor is below grade, the whole floor is considered below grade. A floating floor works better in a basement because it is more tolerant of changes in relative humidity, and you can install it over a highly effective moisture barrier, such as 6 mil (0.006”) polyethylene plastic sheet.
If you know that your environment is going to be outside of the recommended 35% – 55% relative humidity range, you may still choose to install a Teragren hardwood floor. If you do so, it is important to recognize that as a natural material the floor will expand and contract seasonally in response to the change in relative humidity. You can prepare for this in part by using proper base moldings and transitions to allow for the anticipated expansion and contraction. Additionally, you may want to consider Vantage II, our high-performance oil finished floors. While Vantage II will act exactly like our other flooring lines, the high-performance oil finish allows for an enhanced maintenance regime that can help mitigate some commonly seen issues in particularly dry climates. Download our enhanced care and maintenance flyer for more information.