Here on the blog, we’ve discussed the pros and cons of vinyl, laminate, engineered hardwood, and carpet flooring options. One we haven’t talked about is bamboo flooring…until now! According to Cleanfax, the global sales of bamboo flooring in 2016 was at $1.13 billion. Yes, billion. It’s a growing choice among home owners, buyers, and builders. So what are the reasons you should consider it for your home…and are there any reasons you shouldn’t?
- Bamboo is usually as sturdy as traditional hardwood. (Although it should be noted that bamboo isn’t wood at all; it’s actually a highly processed grass). In fact, it’s reported that “natural, un-carbonized bamboo that was properly harvested and manufactured can be as durable as red oak. Strand woven bamboo can be manufactured even harder than that.” Because it’s similar to hardwood in its durability, most bamboo options can even be refinished over time.
- If the health of our environment is of concern to you, then you’ll be happy to know that bamboo flooring is natural and from a highly renewable resource. Bamboo plants grow much more quickly than hardwood trees, so it’s less strain on the environment in that way.
- If modern is your style, you’re in luck – it’s stylish, clean, and contemporary. Because it’s often light in color, it’s a great way to brighten up any space, and it goes with most modern decorating styles.
Easy to Clean.
- Just sweep or vacuum, and you’re on your way! Bamboo floor cleanser is also available for when you want to do a bit more than just sweep but be sure to read the directions. You never want to get bamboo floors too wet, as you’ll see in a moment.
Don’t Go Cheap.
- Bamboo flooring is on the same level as real hardwood flooring, ranging anywhere from $2-$8 per square foot. Inexpensive bamboo is easy to damage with scratches and scuffs, so if your budget doesn’t allow for better quality bamboo, it may be wise to go another route.
- Bamboo may not go with all décor tastes due to its very contemporary look, as well as it only being available in a few tones. (Although, “carbonizing” can darken it.)
Prone to Damage.
- While slightly more resistant to water damage than hardwood is, bamboo flooring can still be susceptible to water and humidity damage. And while cheap bamboo may be more susceptible, all bamboo is prone to scratching when it’s heavily used. Pets, furniture, and shoes can all cause damage to bamboo flooring, and it’s not ideal for humid or damp areas.
A Bit Ambiguous.
- Currently, there’s no industry-wide grading system for bamboo plank quality, so if you want the best quality, you’ll need to do the research to find a reputable source to make sure you’re getting what you pay for. It’s also a bit environmentally ambiguous. Despite being a natural material from a renewable resource, there are still some concerns as to the toxins used in the adhesive when manufacturing bamboo planks, as well as the potential concern with destroying forests in order to grow more bamboo.