Wood floors are more popular than they have been for many decades, affording a timeless, classic yet modern look to your home. From hardwood to engineered wood options, there are many considerations when you make your choice, and you need to understand the pros and cons of each option and how they apply to your unique needs.
One engineered wood option for your home is bamboo flooring. Bamboo flooring is sleek and stylish, delivering a timeless finish, making it popular amongst architects and many homeowners. But is it really a wise flooring option? What are the bamboo flooring pros and cons?
What is Bamboo Flooring?
Bamboo flooring has been available for only a couple of decades. It closely resembles other engineered wood products, yet it is crafted very differently.
Raw bamboo grass is boiled and steamed to remove starches and sugars from the natural plant material. It is then dried. Many hundreds of strands of raw dried bamboo are then sliced, shredded, woven, and pressed to create the flooring material. These grass strands are pressed with resin binders, glues, and heat to form the flooring boards. The result is solid engineered bamboo planks or engineered planks with a top layer of bamboo.
Types of Bamboo Floors
- Horizontal – show knuckles in the grain
- Vertical – delivers a striped, uniform look
- Strand Woven Bamboo – mixes interlocking grass fibres. This is the most expensive and hardest bamboo flooring product.
Naturally light in colour, most bamboo flooring is light amber or blonde in colour. Bamboo flooring may be darkened via carbonization. This results in a softer flooring product than natural bamboo.
Bamboo flooring is generally nailed or glued to a subfloor surface.
Bamboo Flooring Pros and Cons
Bamboo Flooring Pros
- Tough and Durable – top quality bamboo flooring is exceptionally dense and hard; harder in fact than some hardwoods. As such, it is very durable, structurally-stable, and tough, potentially lasting as long as fifty years with careful attention and maintenance. It is also termite-resistant. With normal family wear and tear, it is expected to last up to twenty-five years.
- Sustainable – one of the biggest drawcards of bamboo flooring is its eco-friendly status and sustainability. Bamboo plants grow quickly so are rapidly renewable (harvesting every five or six years). Most bamboo is farmed sustainably. Using bamboo flooring relieves pressure on other wood species. (The cost of shipping from overseas, however, contributes to the carbon footprint of bamboo flooring).
- Appeal – it affords a clean, modern look.
- Easy to Clean – IF finished properly. (Not all bamboo flooring is created equal!) It can also be refinished.
Bamboo Flooring Cons
- Generic, Uniform Look – unlike engineered wood and hardwood flooring, bamboo has a distinct grain pattern which is quite uniform. It can be generic, whereas timber and engineered wood floors are unique.
- Knuckles – these are often distinctive in this type of flooring, especially in horizontal bamboo. Knuckles are the nodes, or natural growth rings, on bamboo stalks. Many people find this feature unsightly in a floor.
- Health Implications – most bamboo flooring is crafted overseas. There is little oversight on the manufacturing process, and some bamboo flooring products may incorporate formaldehyde and other glues which emit toxic volatile organic compounds (VOCs).
- Damage Susceptibility:
- If the raw bamboo is not boiled, steamed and completely dried properly, the end product may shrink after installation. This can cause it to gap and crack.
- Bamboo grass easily absorbs water. This leads to the flooring being vulnerable to humidity and water damage, shrinking, warping, swelling, and buckling.
- Inexpensive or darkened bamboo flooring is susceptible to dents and scratches.
- In time, bamboo can fade, become marred, and discolour.
- Expense – the cost of bamboo flooring is comparable to most hardwoods. It also, in most cases, incurs shipping costs as most products are imported.
- Not ALL Bamboo is “Green” – some manufacturers harvest young bamboo grass that is too soft and uses toxic adhesives which compromise the sustainability of the product.
A Better Option?
Bamboo appeals to customers seeking a natural, renewable flooring option.
While bamboo flooring can be a good option for some homes, if you seek a long-lasting, high-quality, environmentally sustainable flooring product that is stylish and budget-friendly, we recommend quality hardwood timber, engineered wood flooring, or even hybrid vinyl. These products deliver increased levels of quality, durability, and visual appeal without the potential ramifications that may accompany bamboo flooring options.
Impact Floors for Superior Flooring Options
Impact Floors is a superior provider of modern flooring solutions on the Sunshine Coast. We cater to the budget-conscious and midpoint customer, with a strong and expert focus on stylish and functional residential and investment flooring solutions.
Our team is friendly and professional, providing a relaxed and supportive service with advice to help you choose and install the right flooring products for your home’s aesthetic and your unique needs.
Browse our website to explore our range, or call our store today to speak with the flooring experts about how to best renovate your floors on (07) 5443 1295.