Of the types of wood flooring that exist, bamboo flooring is one type that is still relatively unknown.
Because it is not as popular as solid hardwood or engineered hardwood, there is still an air of skepticism about it.
While a lot of this skepticism is well deserved, there are certainly some things about bamboo flooring that are worth taking a closer look at.
There is an air of mystery around bamboo flooring when compared to other kinds of wood flooring, and there is no need to be intimidated by bamboo flooring just because it is not as known as its counterparts.
Understanding the good and bad aspects of bamboo flooring will help you understand not only where it fits in among other wood types of flooring, but it might also lead you to choose bamboo flooring over other floors.
Give bamboo flooring a chance and use these pros and cons as your guide to not only compare it to other kinds of floors, but also guide you in making a much more educated decision should you decide to get bamboo flooring installed.
Before exploring the good aspects of bamboo flooring and the parts of bamboo flooring that are less than desired, it is a good idea to know exactly what bamboo flooring is and how it is set apart from other kinds of wood-based flooring.
There are also some misconceptions about bamboo flooring because it is not as common as other wood-based flooring. These misconceptions will also be explored and addressed.
What exactly is bamboo flooring, and what is misunderstood about it?
As mentioned earlier, bamboo flooring is not nearly as common as hardwood flooring. Before its qualities can be analyzed, it is necessary to know exactly what these qualities are and how they set themselves apart from other kinds of wood-based flooring.
Something that sets bamboo flooring apart from other forms of hardwood flooring is that it is made from a type of grass that is related to bamboo trees. It has wood-like qualities because bamboo trees are just as hardy as any other kinds of trees that make up other wood flooring.
One misconception about bamboo flooring is that its surface is not as durable as other wood type flooring. This is not an accurate observation.
Bamboo flooring is just as durable as any other wood flooring, it just uses a different kind of wood that is processed a bit differently. There are some cases where darker shades of hardwood are not as hard, but in most other cases, they are just as hard as any other kinds of wood flooring.
The process of creating bamboo flooring is similar to other kinds of wood flooring in that it is cut into planks. These planks are are a little more loose in their arrangement than other wood flooring. There are some benefits and challenges to this, and this will be explored a little later.
All things considered, bamboo flooring is not necessarily any different than its counterparts. The differences have more to do with their manufacturing and less to do with its surface properties.
However, the subtle differences between bamboo flooring and its counterparts can be more accurately expressed in the overall benefits and challenges that come with the flooring itself.
These benefits and challenges will be explored now.
Here are some Quick Pros & Cons on Bamboo Flooring
- Manufacturer claims these long lasting
- Excellent durability
- Generally less expensive
- Easy to care and cleaning
- Color-coordinated and refinish-friendly
- Environmental friendly
- Vulnerable to impact damage
- Can take less weights
- May stained out or discoloration quickly
- May lose hardness due to chronic exposure to moisture
What are the best things about bamboo flooring?
- Eco-Friendly– Because bamboo flooring is made by bamboo trees which are a form of natural vegetation, they are much more eco friendly. Bamboo trees are also renewable and grow at a much faster rate than other trees. This means it is extremely renewable compared to trees that hardwood floors are made from.
- Natural Materials– Something else that makes bamboo flooring more ecologically sound is that they are made from natural materials that are not overly manufactured. While there are certain manufacturing techniques used to process bamboo trees and plants to create flooring, the materials involved are all natural.
- Maintenance is Easy– Maintaining hardwood floors is a massive chore that nobody likes to look forward to. This is one of the biggest reasons why many choose not to get hardwood floors installed when they know it would be better than a different kind of flooring. Fortunately, bamboo flooring is much easier to maintain than other kinds of hardwood flooring. They are a bit more resistant to water damage, and you can clean bamboo flooring with a wider array of cleaning materials than with other kinds of wood-based flooring.
- Durable– Bamboo flooring is not only just as durable as other hardwood flooring types, but in some cases, it can be more durable. If the bamboo is not carbonized and was properly harvested and manufactured, it can be as durable as red oak. If the bamboo is strand woven, it can be even more durable.
- Many believe that bamboo is not as durable as other hardwood floors. This is clearly not the case, and you will be surprised at how durable bamboo flooring is.
- Sanding any given hardwood floor too many times will damage it permanently. While bamboo floors are not exempt from this, sanding a bamboo floor has a much more restorative effect than sanding a traditional hardwood floor, which does not restore it as much.
These are a few things about bamboo flooring that set it apart in a good way.
However, bamboo flooring is not perfect, and it can present some challenges for anybody who wishes to install them.
What should you watch for in bamboo flooring?
There are many things about bamboo flooring that separate it from other hardwood flooring in a negative way.
Not all flooring is perfect, and bamboo is no exception.
The first thing you need to look out for in bamboo flooring is that it the adhesive materials used to hold their planks together in their construction and installation release what is called a volatile organic chemical, otherwise known as a VOC.
VOCs can slightly pollute the air of any given interior space, and although this is largely negligible, it is still an issue that other wood-based floors do not encounter.
You’ll want to reconsider if you are intending on installing bamboo flooring in a room that has a lot of traffic. Although they are easy to maintain and are very durable, this does not mean that bamboo flooring cannot be scratched. And scratches can develop very easily on bamboo flooring, which does not make it suitable for high traffic areas.
Recall that bamboo flooring is made of natural materials. While bamboo itself can reduce water damage, it does not deal with moisture well at all, even if it is engineered. This can cause it to warp, plump, and even shrink. Be very aware of this if you have decided to install a bamboo floor in a place that is very humid or encounters a lot of rain.
Something nice about other hardwood floors is that the materials involved in making them have different kinds of grading systems that contain a lot of information but are also easy to follow.
This is not the case with bamboo floors because they are still lesser known. Their materials contain grading systems, but these grading systems are often arbitrary and do not contain a lot of useful information.
Carbonization is something that not only affects the color of bamboo flooring, but also how hard and durable it is. Bamboo planks that are not carbonized are every bit as durable as redwood. But what happens if you desire a particular color of bamboo planks? You’ll need to have the planks carbonized, and bamboo planks get less durable during the carbonization process.
Materials that are used in bamboo flooring are, indeed, eco-friendly.
But how eco-friendly?
Keep in mind that in order for bamboo flooring to be made, bamboo trees need to be cut down. And unlike other kinds of trees, there are not any real public environmental incentives to grow bamboo trees after they have been logged.
This creates a diversion when it comes to bamboo flooring: Sure, their materials are natural enough, but what about the adhesive material that binds them together when they are made into planks? This adhesive material can be toxic to subfloors, and this creates a lot of gray areas when it comes to the eco-friendly factor of bamboo flooring.
Bamboo flooring is just like any other wood-based flooring, it is just created differently and sees a different set of benefits and drawbacks.
It is up to you to explore these, compare them against other hardwood floors, and make an educated decision as to whether bamboo floors or other floors that are made of wood.
Fortunately, the above set of pros and cons of bamboo flooring should make it very easy for you to make a solid decision.
Choosing what kind of wood floor you want to install in your home or establishment is often a taxing decision that involves a lot of complicated research.
But it does not need to be.
When you are armed with simple lists of pros and cons of wood-based floors such as the one you just read, your decision will be quick, easy, and best of all, not confusing. This will allow you to focus on more important things, like how much money to spend and scheduling an installation.