Whether you’re looking to improve the appearance of one room in your house or hoping to install a durable, eco-friendly flooring option throughout your home, bamboo floors combine the resilience of hardwood flooring with the easy maintenance of laminate.
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Like any type of flooring, bamboo floors bring with them a range of advantages and a couple of drawbacks. Though they are more vulnerable to being scratched, they are easy to maintain and restore. And while some bamboo floors are constructed with VOCs that can reduce air quality, you can find chemical-free options on the market as well.
In this guide, we’ll discuss the benefits and drawbacks associated with installing a bamboo floor and help you find the best resources for pricing and bamboo floor reviews. Read on to discover more about the different types of bamboo floors currently on the market, as well as which homes can benefit from this type of flooring.
Bamboo is a quick-growing grass, the shoots and stalks of which are processed to create bamboo flooring. In fact, this process takes place without even destroying the plant itself. After undergoing a range of processes including boiling, fusing, and pressurizing, bamboo materials are formed into wood-like planks.
Bamboo flooring is more water-resistant than some types of hardwood flooring, making it an appealing option for areas in the home that may incur light moisture. This is especially true if the bamboo floor is laid over proper sub-flooring or underlayment.
There are three types of bamboo flooring: vertical, horizontal, and strand-woven.
All of these bamboo flooring options can be made to resemble various types of hardwood flooring to fit the aesthetic you have in mind for your living space.
Eco-friendly – This type of flooring is derived from natural vegetation – the bamboo plant. Bamboo is a renewable resource that can be grown much faster than other types of trees used for hardwood flooring. Bamboo reaches maturity in as little as three to five years, while other trees like maple and oak can take between ten and twenty years to be fully grown.
Easy to maintain – You can keep your bamboo floors maintained with regular sweeping and vacuuming and periodic damp mopping. Though bamboo flooring is more susceptible to scratches, it is very easy to maintain. The restoration process simply includes being sanded down and refinished, leaving you with bamboo floors that are as good as new.
Durable – Certain types of bamboo flooring are just as durable as some hardwood floors such as red oak. Durable forms of bamboo flooring are made from properly processed un-carbonized bamboo. Floors made from strand-woven bamboo are even tougher.
Trendy – Bamboo floors are currently very trendy in the interior design industry. They provide a sense of luxury to any living or corporate space and have an alluring appearance similar to that of hardwood flooring.
Bottom Line: Which types of homes would benefit from bamboo flooring?
If you’re looking for flooring that offers a hardwood-floor-like appearance but that is easier to maintain, bamboo floors are a great option. Since bamboo can be grown more quickly than hardwood trees, it’s also a more eco-friendly option.
Volatile organic chemicals emissions – Although bamboo flooring comes from natural products, the adhesive used with it can produce volatile organic chemical (VOC) emissions, which impact air quality. However, the Environmental Protection Agency asserts that “engineered wood flooring and bamboo flooring must be certified under the UL GREENGUARD or FloorScore indoor emissions testing programs.” Some engineered bamboo floors are constructed without the use of toxic chemicals and may be available for special order
Vulnerable to scratches – As mentioned above, bamboo flooring is more likely to incur scratches than some other floor types. From shoes to pets to furniture, bamboo floors can be damaged on the surface level by a variety of culprits. However, despite this fact, the floors can be easily maintained and restored with proper care.
Vulnerable to water damage – Though bamboo is slightly more water-resistant than its hardwood counterparts, significant water damage can cause floorboards to become warped and/or stained.
No standardized grading system – Bamboo floorboards differ from piece to piece, and there is currently no standardized grading system for consumers to consider. Though some retailers sort bamboo into A or B grades based on materials used, this system is not verified by an independent assessor, and therefore may not be completely reliable.
Bottom Line: Which types of homes might not be best-suited for bamboo flooring?
Bamboo flooring should not be used in areas that are likely to be vulnerable to water damage. Therefore, forego adding a bamboo floor to your bathroom, kitchen, and other moisture-prone areas within the home.
Bamboo flooring is typically affordable, although prices range depending on the exact look and type of bamboo you prefer.
Prices for bamboo flooring can be as low as $1.99 per square foot and increase to upwards of $9 per square foot, according to the type of bamboo floor you select. For example, EcoTimber’s Natural Skin bamboo planks cost $9.76 per square foot and consist of a surface layer made from a sole bamboo stalk that has been cut and then compressed flat.
On the other hand, Home Decorators Collection bamboo planks feature “classic natural horizontal bamboo with ‘knuckles’” and cost $1.99 per square foot. You can find various types of bamboo floors that fall between those price parameters as well.
When weighing your options for bamboo flooring, be sure to read a variety of reviews to determine which floor is best for you. Review the Consumer Reports Floor Buying Guide to see how bamboo floors compare to other flooring options.
Additionally, you should research industry-leading critics and professionals who can offer detailed insights into the best bamboo flooring options currently available.
Before having your preferred bamboo floor installed, it’s also crucial to read over reviews from contractors in your local area. Look for reviews that discuss the professionalism and quality of the contractor, as well as the warranties and packages they have to offer. Shop around to find the best quality for the best price.