The Benefits and Drawbacks of Bamboo Flooring

Bamboo is a natural surface covering material that has many of the properties of hardwood flooring, even though it is actually produced from a type of grass. It shares many of the positive benefits of a hardwood floor, as well as the drawbacks and vulnerabilities. The more you understand the properties of this material, the better informed you will be when making a purchasing or maintenance decision.

The Benefits of Natural Bamboo Flooring

Ecologically FriendlyBamboo is made from natural vegetation. The bamboo plant is a highly renewable resource that is able to grow to maturity in as little as three to five years. This is much faster than hardwood trees which can take upwards of twenty years or more to reach maturity.

Easy Maintenance: Bamboo is relatively easy to maintain. You just have to sweep or vacuum it regularly to remove small particle debris. You can also occasional damp mop it, or clean it with a non-wax, non-alkaline, hardwood or bamboo floor cleanser.

Water Resistant: This material is slightly more resistant to water damage, stains, and warping than hardwood materials, although it is still a concern.

Natural Material: The use of natural materials is an important trend in the construction industry right now. As people are becoming more ecologically conscious they are demanding products that reflect these values. They are also seeking materials and designs that reject the modern cookie cutter world and instead focus on individual personality and natural evolution.

Price: This material is priced at about the same level as most hardwood floors. You will often find bamboo ranging from about $2-$8 per square foot. You should avoid bargain basement materials as they are often lower quality castoffs.

Durability: There are certain types of bamboo that can be extremely strong, hard, and durable. 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.

Style: Bamboo is a trendy flooring material that can elevate the elegance of a space almost instantly. It has an appearance and a feel that is similar to hardwood and yet is still distinct and different.

Refinishing: Over time bamboo floors may become discolored, scratched, or marred. Luckily the surface of this material can be refinished, sanding it down and then reapplying the finishing coats to give it a fresh new look. The amount of sanding that can be done will be determined by the thickness of the planks used.

The Drawbacks Of Bamboo Flooring

Emission of VOC’s: Bamboo floor planks are manufactured by slicing or shredding the stalk of the bamboo grass plant and then adhering the pieces back together using heat, pressure, and a resin-based adhesive. This adhesive can release volatile organic chemicals into the air of an interior space over time. Most bamboo floors have this adhesive in them, although the level of adhesive used, and the amount of VOC’s emitted will vary depending on how the planks are manufactured.

Scratches: While a bamboo floor is relatively easy to maintain it is nearly impossible to keep it perfect if it is used regularly. There are a wide variety of things that can cause nasty scratches on the surface of a bamboo floor. High heels, pet claws, and furniture legs can all damage the surface. Small grit and tiny particles of sand or dirt will also cause scratches in the bamboo over time.