Tongue & Groove or Click Lock?

Laminated Solid Bamboo - Click-Lock with pre-installed underlay

Laminated Solid Bamboo - Click-Lock with pre-installed underlay

Click Lock systems were initially popularised with laminate flooring systems. Their big sell was that they reduced the cost and increased the simplicity of an installation. A number of designs have been patented, but the most common tend to be UniClick and Valinge. When Engineered flooring started becoming popular, the obvious choice for installation was to use a click lock system.

Click locking systems have only become available on solid wood flooring in recent years. As solid wood flooring is hygroscopic, there are some special considerations when using a click locking system, as the floor can move significantly when adjusting to changes in climate. Click systems are less “flexible” than T&G, so when there is a lot of movement in the floor, the floor can experience significant stresses that can result in a floor failure.

Tongue & Groove Solid Bamboo Flooring

Tongue & Groove Solid Bamboo Flooring

Tongue & Groove, on the other hand, has been the accepted standard in solid wood flooring for many years. This system requires a greater skill for installation, but does add some flexibility to the installation options available.

There are pro’s & con’s of a click lock system:


  • Much quicker to complete an installation.
  • No messy glues.
  • Less skill required to install (can lower installation costs).
  • Easy to replace a badly damaged plank.


  • Not suited to environments where there are extremes in humidity and temperature.
  • Solid wood, being hygroscopic, can move a lot. Excessive movement can cause a click joint to splinter or break. This cannot usually be repaired.
  • Can only be used for “floated” flooring installations (directly onto a solid base).
  • It is not recommended that a click lock floor be refinished (sanded down & a new finish applied) as this may weaken the click lock mechanism.

Based on the above, we suggest the following points be considered when choosing:

Click Lock

  • Click Lock is installed where the climatic extremes are typically not that harsh, specifically in regard to humidity.
  • The floor will be installed in a temperature & humidity controlled environment (typically Office blocks & Hotels).
  • Installation time is very limited (must adhere to above climatic conditions).
  • Don’t have skill required for T&G installation (must adhere to above climatic conditions).


  • Use T&G if there are climate extremes – you experience a very dry season (very low humidity) followed by a very wet rainy (very high humidity) season.
  • Your floor is to be installed on joists (click lock flooring cannot be installed on joists).
  • You have a room with a width greater than 4 meters & don’t want to use T-Profiles to cover the extra expansion gaps required (conditions apply).
  • If your design requires a wider plank.

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About The Oriental Bamboo Team

We only deal in Bulk Quantities of Solid Bamboo Timber Products - boards, counter tops, plywood panels and doors - nothing else.
Through extensive manufacturing research and experience, we specify our products at our factories to perform well in our diverse African climatic zones.
Being solid bamboo pioneers in Southern Africa, we have worked with users in all facets of timber application over the years.
We are driven to understand our customers specific requirements. As a result of these relationships with our varied clients, we have accumulated a lot of experience in using solid bamboo products wherever one would traditionally use timber.
This blog documents a few of our experiences and comments on various aspects of solid bamboo timber as used in various applications.
Oriental Bamboo is a BULK bamboo timber supplier of "specified for Southern Africa": bamboo boards, bamboo plywood panels, solid and hollow core bamboo doors, direct from our factories to the manufacturer - NO MIDDLE MEN. We supply bulk volume clients in South Africa and sub Saharan Africa.