Bamboo for Island Top

Lorenza5064February 15, 2014

I have been on a quest for a wood top for an island, dimensions approx 49x64. Butcher block in maple, walnut, and other American species is very expensive. I have a cutting board that is bamboo and it is fabulous. Any experience or knowledge of the use of bamboo for an island top? Cost? Durability? Maintenance? Sources? So many questions, thanks for your insights. L

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itsallaboutthefood

We have a teragren bamboo butcherblock counter along one cabinet run in our kitchen. We've had it for 3 years now. We chop on it all the time and it barely shows any wear. It was very economical (we ordered a 30"x96" piece it from a local mill house). But it sounds like you would need a custom sized piece...I'm not sure whether that is more expensive or not. You can get custom sizes up to 4 feet by 8 feet.

This is a picture of it right after it was installed and oiled. I haven't oiled it in a long time so it's faded a bit but otherwise it is holding up very well.

Here is a link that might be useful: Teragren Bamboo Butcherblock

    Bookmark   February 16, 2014 at 1:01AM
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Lorenza5064

Many thanks! I actually spent a bit of time on the Teragren website and have ordered samples. My reading indicates that "strand" bamboo is the hardest of the three manufactured products; strand, traditional vertical grain, and end grain parquet. Did you order you bamboo as unfinished or in the beeswax/mineral oil finish? Do you have a sink on that counter top? Thanks for your insights

    Bookmark   February 16, 2014 at 8:38AM
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rmiriam

I actually just installed bamboo counters all over my kitchen. I'm going to post a review after a year, because there's not much real-world information out there. But after three months, I really like it. It has the look of wood, but because of all the glue holding the bamboo strands together, acts more like a solid surface. It doesn't scratch or dent as much as I was afraid of, and doesn't stain or get water damaged. I just clean it with water and soap. I have strand bamboo, custom made by a local guy. It ran about $42/sq ft.

    Bookmark   February 16, 2014 at 9:12AM
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itsallaboutthefood

I ordered the unfinished. I don't remember there being an option for the mineral oil/beeswax finish when we did our kitchen. And there is no sink on our butcherblock counter.

I would definitely order the prefinished if I did it today. There was so much going on with the kitchen that I didn't actually absorb installation instructions for the bamboo counter until after it was installed when I realized I was supposed to have oiled both sides serveral times before installation! But it turned out fine for us to just oil the top afterwards.

    Bookmark   February 16, 2014 at 10:09AM
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Lorenza5064

Itsallabout,

Do you recall what you paid for the 30" x 96" piece of parquet countertop that you purchased from Teragren?

    Bookmark   February 24, 2014 at 1:37PM
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Lorenza5064

Miriam and itsallabout,

Your countertops are stunningly beautiful! Did your contractors have any issues fabricating the material, cut outs for sink, etc.?

    Bookmark   February 24, 2014 at 1:39PM
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Lorenza5064

Miriam, it looks like you have an undermount sink in your bamboo countertop. Do you have issues from the water at the sink? Do you have stains or spots from water at the faucet or on the edges of the counter where the top was cut for the sink? How often do you treat with mineral oil? Thanks for your help!

    Bookmark   February 27, 2014 at 7:21PM
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itsallaboutthefood

Lorenza -

We purchased ours from MacBeath Hardwood (www.macbeath.com). We payed about $355 for a 36x72 top 3 years ago. My contractor had no problems with it but we did not do a cutout for a sink. He only had to cut it to the correct length and install it on our cabinets.

    Bookmark   February 27, 2014 at 8:28PM
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Lorenza5064

Rmiriam,
could you share the vendor for your strand bamboo? Was it finished with anything, mineral oil, etc? How did you mount your sink, drop in or undermount? Was the guy who did the installation an "expert" with bamboo? Where are you located? So many questions. Thank you for your patience!

    Bookmark   February 28, 2014 at 8:10PM
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rmiriam

OK, I'll start from the bottom up :) Sorry I haven't checked this thread in a while. Our vendor was a local guy - bamboocrew.com if you're in Austin (which is where I am). I think they do mostly bamboo, and they make counters, cabinets, you name it. The fabricator finished it with some kind of marine varnish, several coats. Not the most eco, but they said it works the best. It also means that I never have to treat it, although it can be refinished in the future if it needs it.

The sink is undermounted, and it was not a problem at all. We haven't had any staining or water spots. Really, because bamboo is a grass and they use so much glue to hold it all together, it seems to function a lot like a solid surface counter. It does dent if you hit it hard enough, but I haven't noticed any dents in the counter so far.

I was unsure about the wisdom of installing (soft, scratchable) bamboo rather than something like quartz, but have been very, very pleased with its functionality after several months of use. I don't baby it at all, my preschooler eats at the counter and "helps" me cook, and it takes it all without a problem.

    Bookmark   February 28, 2014 at 11:39PM
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