Bamboo Flooring 101
A Beginner's Guide - Everything you wanted to know about Bamboo Flooring
The Buzz About Bamboo
Updating your flooring can totally transform a room. From slick stone to cushy carpet, there are seemingly endless options to choose from. With so many different types of flooring in the marketplace, it can be hard to know where to start. People love the look of hardwood, but it’s expensive. Linoleum is environmentally friendly but maybe not your taste. Carpet feels nice on your tootsies, but stains. Of course, at Bamboo Flooring Facts, we’re obviously pretty big fans of bamboo!
What’s not to love? There are so many reasons why bamboo flooring is great for your home. Let’s give you an overview of some of the biggest benefits of bamboo flooring along with some things to consider before you walk the plank.
Bamboo Flooring is Environmentally Friendly
Bamboo grows fast. In fact, it enters maturity way faster than trees and can be harvested after just five years. Bamboo is a highly renewable resource and can be grown very close together. This means that buying bamboo flooring is not driving deforestation by cutting down trees that won’t even grow back in your lifetime. Plus, bamboo is great for the environment just like trees. It cleans air and soil and sucks up carbon dioxide. This makes bamboo one of the most sustainable types of flooring. Just be sure to look into the brand you’re considering. Some may be more responsibly sourced than others.
Bamboo Floors Can Support Indoor Air Quality
As more people research building materials and consumer products for their homes, it has become widely known that certain products give off chemical compounds that hurt indoor air quality and may even increase health risks for some diseases. Bamboo flooring can vary from brand to brand, so make sure to look for brands that are free from formaldehyde-based adhesives and meet standards for low volatile organic compounds (VOCs). There are bamboo flooring options that meet these strict criteria, and they will be better for your indoor air quality.
Bamboo Floors are Durable
Bamboo flooring is durable, making them a good option for high traffic areas and rooms that may be used by the entire family. When looking for the most durable bamboo flooring, consider strand bamboo. It is one of the hardest types of flooring available and can stand up to a lot of pressure. Engineered and solid bamboo are not quite as hard, but still rate higher on the Janka hardness scale than many popular hardwood options.
Bamboo Flooring is Versatile
Bamboo flooring can come in many variations, with planks that are typically 3 ½ to 7 ½ wide and in a veritable rainbow of colors. The surface may be smooth or hand-scraped, giving either a clean and modern look or one that is more traditional and antique. Because there is such a wide variety of colors, textures, sizes, and hardnesses, bamboo flooring is versatile and a good option for many rooms in a home.
Bamboo Flooring is Less Expensive than Hardwood
Hardwood can be pretty spendy, y’all. Ranging typically from $5–$8 per square foot, hardwood runs on the higher end of flooring options. Bamboo flooring is less expensive, usually running $2–$5 per square foot. Keep in mind that there is still a wide array of prices and quality. So a high-quality bamboo floor that has better adhesives and the colors and textures you want could cost more. With bamboo flooring being manufactured all over the world from a number of countries and sources, quality is an issue. Be sure that getting a bargain isn’t going to sacrifice some of the features you need in a floor that will last.
Bamboo Flooring is Popular
That’s right—it’s hip, man! Bamboo flooring is popular for a lot of reasons. The look can be light and natural, but it can also be a great foundation for the kind of smart, modern designs that a lot of people love. Since bamboo is environmentally friendly, less expensive, and available in neutral colors, it can be a good buy for remodeling because the look is not likely to go out of style any time soon. Bolder options like tiger bamboo flooring might look dated in the future, so keep that in mind when you’re considering what looks cool now and what will continue to look good even as trends change.
Don’t Get Bamboo-zled
Nothing in life is perfect, right? And that’s certainly true of bamboo flooring. There are some reasons why you might not want bamboo in certain rooms, and some facts you should know before installing so that you don’t regret your decision later. You know what they say: the grass is always greener on the other side of the fence. Let’s make sure bamboo is the grass that’s best for you.
Bamboo Flooring is Durable, But Not Indestructible
Don’t confuse durability for indestructibility. Bamboo is not like Wolverine’s adamantium claws. It will show wear with age and can be damaged by dropping something heavy enough on it, gouging from furniture, and even from some aggressive stepping in jabby high heels. If you’re putting hardwood in a high traffic area, make sure you pick a hardness that correlates to the most durability, and consider taking shoes off at the door and using some well-placed rugs that add to your decor and keep your bamboo flooring looking good for years to come.
Bamboo Flooring Can Be Damaged by Moisture
Just like wood floors, bamboo flooring is susceptible to water damage. It’s great for a kitchen, but you’ll want to clean up any spills immediately. Keep in mind that things like a power outage can cause your freezer or refrigerator to leak water. Left unattended, it will cause your bamboo flooring to stain or even buckle. Similarly, certain climates can be harder on bamboo. Humidity fluctuations or periods of high and low humidity can cause problems for bamboo flooring. Super dry climates can cause your bamboo floors can crack or split, while high humidity can cause cupping or warping. Be sure you can maintain 30–60% humidity in your house year-round before you settle on installing bamboo flooring.
Some Brands Are Not Very Sustainable
Some people argue that bamboo is not as environmentally friendly as you might expect because the material is grown and harvested in countries that don’t provide oversight to the industry. In addition, some sources claim forests may be cut down to instead grow bamboo. How responsible is that? Not very. If want to be sure you’re supporting sustainable practices, look for bamboo flooring companies certified by the Forest Stewardship Council. These suppliers are recognized for superior manufacturing practices.