A Closer Look at Bamboo Flooring: The Pros & Cons


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Bamboo floors have become more popular in recent years, due to their many similarities to hardwood flooring. Bamboo flooring has a chic, exotic look but is still relatively inexpensive, which makes it a highly appealing flooring option for many. But understanding the benefits and drawbacks of any type of flooring before installation is critical in order to ensure that the particular flooring works with your lifestyle.

What is bamboo flooring? In a nutshell, it?s a natural surface covering material that?s produced from bamboo, which is a type of grass. For many, it?s a wonderful alternative to traditional hardwood floors. Let?s take a closer look at the pros and cons of bamboo flooring; we hope you find this information helpful.

PROS OF BAMBOO FLOORING:

Bamboo flooring that is of high quality will wear as well and last about as long as traditional hardwood floors. (Of course, as is the case in every industry, the ?high quality? characteristic is key.) In particular, un-carbonized bamboo can as strong, hard, and durable as red oak, and certain strand-woven bamboo can be even harder.

A Stylish Flooring Option.

For those drawn to a clean, modern aesthetic, bamboo flooring lends itself to that style perfectly. The trendy flooring option is elegant and, although similar to hardwood, unique. The differences can be subtle yet undeniable.

One benefit of bamboo flooring is that it is available in a variety of styles and colors. (Note: It?s important to research what those various colors represent, however, because the darker colors typically result from a heat treatment that has softened the bamboo.)

Eco-Friendly.

As a fast-growing grass (full maturity and hardness is reached in five to seven years), bamboo is seen by many people as much more sustainable than traditional hardwood.

A Natural Material.

Because the use of natural materials is currently hot in home construction, bamboo flooring is a solid choice for many ecologically conscious people. What?s more, the subtle differences between bamboo and hardwood provide homes with bamboo flooring a sense of individual personality.

Easy to Maintain.

Bamboo flooring is fairly low maintenance, as it can be easily cleaned with mild soap and a mop. (No special treatments necessary.) This is a huge pro to many time-crunched homeowners.

Able to be Refinished.

Because bamboo floors can become discolored, dented, or scratched over time, it?s comforting to know that they can be refinished as needed. Typically, bamboo flooring installation involves many layers of finishing coats to protect the bamboo itself. But, if necessary, sanding down the surface and then reapplying finishing coats will achieve the look of new bamboo flooring.

Somewhat Water Resistant.

In further comparison to traditional hardwood flooring, bamboo comes out slightly ahead as being more resistant to water damage, stains, and warping. This doesn?t mean bamboo is exempt from damage, however.

Low Cost.

Despite its exotic, unique flair, bamboo flooring can be less expensive than or completely comparable to hardwood flooring. It can be cheaper than more traditional hardwood flooring. Bamboo floors will commonly range from $5-$8 per square foot.

CONS OF BAMBOO FLOORING:

(Note: The photos provided in the ?cons? section of this article are NOT included to reflect poor bamboo flooring design; rather, they are meant to provide further photographic evidence of bamboo flooring.)

Prone to Scratches.

Lower quality bamboo dents or scratches fairly easily, although any type of bamboo flooring is impossible to keep completely smooth if used regularly. Furniture, pets, and even pointy heeled shoes can damage the surface of bamboo floors over time, as can sand or the tiny particles of everyday life.{found on adaptdesignpdx}.

Potential for Water Damage.

As mentioned above, bamboo is somewhat more resistant to water damage than typical hardwood floors. But because bamboo is still a natural, organic material, too much moisture will cause warping, discoloration, or even mold growth.

Sensitivity to Humidity.

Depending on the size of bamboo planks used, splitting can occur in very dry or very wet environments. If, for example, the bamboo flooring is installed in a humid area, the planks will plump up (expand). The opposite is true (shrinking planks) in dry regions. Either way, the bamboo will likely crack.

Potential for Softness.

If bamboo isn?t allowed to mature and harden before being harvested (in some cases, as early as 3 months!), the flooring will look great at first but will be soft and non-durable. Typically, un-carbonized and strand-woven bamboo flooring is harder and more durable, while darker bamboo represents a weakened structure and general softness.

Less Stylistically Versatile.

Although the unique, contemporary look and feel of bamboo is one of its primary appeals to a modern space?s flooring, it is this same contemporary vibe that can be a drawback when viewed in a charming home?s vintage aesthetic.{found on lovenordic}.

Possible Toxins Emission.

Certain bamboo flooring from China potentially contains high levels of toxic chemicals, such as formaldehyde-based glues and finishes. As the bamboo must be sliced or shredded initially, it must then be adhered back together to form the planks that make up flooring.Sometimes, the adhesive used can release VOCs into the air over time, which makes the bamboo unhealthy for you and the environment. Certification from the Forest Stewardship Council (FSC) is something to look for to avoid this.{found on pbhconstruction}.

Questionable harvesting practices.

While bamboo is touted as being a highly eco-friendly option, sometimes the forestry practices can be irresponsible and environmentally unfriendly (e.g., clear-cutting natural forests for bamboo, or using fertilizers and pesticides unnecessarily). So, although bamboo is in some ways ?green,? it?s also environmentally ambiguous in other ways.

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