Advantages and disadvantages of bamboo flooring – Forbes Advisor

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The global bamboo flooring market is valued at USD 1,249 million and is expected to reach USD 1,549 by the end of 2026. Bamboo flooring is getting more and more attention in recent years, in especially among homeowners looking for environmentally friendly and sustainable building materials.

Easy to maintain and install, bamboo offers a modern, natural aesthetic that could increase a home’s real estate value, and the cost of bamboo flooring is comparable to other popular flooring types. Unlike trees, bamboo stalks can have a five to six harvest cycle, making them much more durable. As a flooring, bamboo shares many of the same pros and cons as hardwood flooring, with a few additional advantages in its favor.

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Advantages of bamboo flooring

Although bamboo is most appealing to consumers interested in using natural and renewable building materials, it has many benefits that make it an attractive choice for anyone looking for flooring options.

  • Ecological
  • Easy maintenance
  • Finishing potential
  • Durability
  • DIY friendly
  • Pest resistant

Ecological

Traditional hardwood is made from oak, rock maple and hickory, which can take about 20 years to mature before harvesting is possible. On the other hand, bamboo is considered a grass, growing and developing in a cycle of five to seven years and can be harvested without replanting the root system.

Easy maintenance

Bamboo floors are relatively easy to maintain. Sweeping and vacuuming regularly to remove dust and debris should suffice. Occasional mopping with a bamboo floor cleaner or a mild soap and water solution can help it look cleaner.

Finishing potential

Over time, bamboo can scratch and discolor. Fortunately, the surface is easy to refinish by sanding it down and applying a new sealant coating. Finishing the top coat can make the floor look new and uniform, protecting it from future damage. Keep in mind that engineered bamboo flooring cannot be refinished.

Durability

Bamboo flooring is beneficial for high traffic areas like living rooms, kitchens and entryways. It is naturally resistant to abrasion caused by footwork and impact from dropped objects. Strand woven bamboo flooring weaves grass fibers together, creating an interlocking pattern that can be three times stronger than other types of bamboo flooring.

DIY friendly

Do-it-yourselfers can reduce installation costs depending on the type of bamboo flooring they use. Floating bamboo boards use a “click-lock” system which is easier to install and can be done without the help of a professional. This installation method is quick and effortless, and it also allows the floor to expand and contract as the humidity level changes in the room.

Pest resistant

Bamboo naturally has few pests. Even during harvest, it requires little use of pesticides. Some of the chemicals used to treat bamboo flooring make it impossible for termites to digest. Overall, most types of bamboo flooring are pet resistant. Plus, bamboo is inhospitable to dust mites and repels dust and pollen, and it’s a great choice for allergy-prone owners.

Disadvantages of flooring

On the other hand, bamboo flooring shares many disadvantages with hardwood flooring. Both are susceptible to scratches and require special sealants to protect against water. For anyone considering bamboo flooring options, here are some downsides to consider.

Subject to scratches

Although bamboo is very durable, its surface can easily scratch, just like most wooden floors. Carbonized bamboo flooring, which has a darker tone, is also noticeably more susceptible to scratches. Placing felt pads on furniture and touching up bamboo flooring from time to time can extend the life of this flooring and reduce the appearance of scratches.

Limited Styles

Although bamboo is a trendy flooring material, it has many style limitations. Aesthetically, bamboo flooring can adapt to different styles, although it is best suited to contemporary and Scandinavian design styles. Most bamboo flooring only has vertical and horizontal grains, in limited finishes and tones that may not suit all interior decors.

Sensitive to humidity

Since bamboo is grass, humidity affects it more severely than hardwood floors. If the floor covering is used in a very humid climate or in rooms subject to drastic climatic changes, the moisture in it is likely to cause the floor boards to swell and warp.

In dry environments, boards can shrink significantly, making them more susceptible to cracking in extremely low humidity. For this reason, we do not recommend bamboo flooring for bathrooms or homes with drastic changes in humidity. A humidity monitor can help maintain air humidity levels as seasonal temperatures change.

Potentially toxic

Poor quality bamboo may contain traces of urea-formaldehyde. Toxin levels vary depending on the adhesive resin used and how the bamboo planks are made. Cheaper products may have higher levels, while more expensive options may use alternate materials for their resins. Still, the amount of formaldehyde found in bamboo flooring is very similar to that found in engineered hardwood flooring and it only tends to be problematic for sensitive individuals.

Unreliable ranking

There is no effective and reliable grading system for bamboo boards. Retailers usually classify them as Grade A and Grade B, but this is an arbitrary system that means different things to different retailers. It has little to do with the quality of the bamboo. Therefore, it is important to find a reputable and reliable flooring dealer to ensure you get high quality materials.

In many ways, bamboo flooring works the same as hardwood. some might say it’s superior. For the most part, bamboo is a non-allergenic, pest-resistant, and durable material that offers many benefits. Working with reliable and reputable flooring dealers can help you find bamboo flooring products that circumvent various disadvantages and ensure superior quality material.

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