Suppose you are shopping for new flooring options and have narrowed it down to two options. It’s either bamboo flooring or laminate flooring. At first glance, both look pretty similar, but each has its competitive advantage if you look a little closer.
There is no all-time perfect or superior option among bamboo and laminate floors. In a head-to-head showdown, it all comes down to your personal preferences and specific needs. Nonetheless, knowing the pros and cons of bamboo and laminate flooring can make it easier for you to choose.
- What Are Bamboo Floors Made of?
- What Are Laminate Floors Made of?
- Our Pick: Bamboo Flooring
- Difference of Bamboo Flooring vs. Laminates
- Similarities in Bamboo vs. Laminate Flooring
What Are Bamboo Floors Made of?
Although some people think that bamboo floorings are hardwood floors, this is not true. Bamboo is actually grass that grows around Asia. However, like hardwood flooring, these are engineered solid products, also known as engineered bamboo.
An upside of bamboo flooring is the wide variety of raw material options. There is carbonized bamboo and strand-woven bamboo. Then you have different choices of vertical and horizontal weaving as well.
Typical bamboo floorings are made of narrow bamboo strips glued together, and strand woven bamboo floorings are made of long bamboo strands hardened together. Carbonized bamboo floor has the same manufacturing process, the only difference being that it is treated in a carbon oven. This treatment gives it a darker color compared to natural wood.
What Are Laminate Floors Made of?
Although a laminate floor gives off the impression of natural wood, it is entirely synthetic. As the word ‘laminate’ suggests, it combines several layers of materials. A plywood or fibreboard core layer has a top coat of a water-resistant and realistic layer that mimics natural wood. Lastly, dings and scratch-resistant coatings go on top.
Our Pick: Bamboo Flooring
Bamboo floorings are a whole package, and they are versatile with a little bit of everything and check all the ‘must have’ attributes for commercial and domestic uses. May it be for dining rooms, living rooms, or any other area, this flooring option does not disappoint.
We have chosen this product for you after careful consideration. We have performed a critical comparison of several characteristics that excellent and reliable floorings must have.
Bamboo flooring pros outweigh those of laminates, and a few reasons why it takes the lead is that it:
- Is non-destructive to the environment
- Provides better indoor air quality
- Has a smoother texture
- Reduces body strain
- Is a natural insulator
- Is more waterproof
About Bamboo Flooring
Bamboo floors are made of authentic wood, and there is a minimal amount of additives involved in processing. Thus, it is an engineered bamboo that is exceptionally natural.
The planks are made of genuine Teak wood, derived from natural bamboo. The product has a subtle yet unique brown color. It is excellent for indoor and outdoor applications and doesn’t require expensive installation equipment. This set is the best flooring option as it is economical and covers a significant area of almost ten square feet.
About Laminate Flooring
Laminate floors are an excellent option for most rooms though it is not advisable to use them in areas exposed to water. It’s not very environmentally friendly and gets damaged due to water, but great value for money.
The planks have an elegant grey color which compliments several decor styles and covers a large area of almost 15 square feet. They also come with a one-year warranty and are very easy to install. However, you may need extra adhesive if the subfloor is unclean.
Difference of Bamboo Flooring vs. Laminates
- Bamboo Is Highly Durable but Is Prone to Denting: Bamboo floorings are as hard as solid hardwood. This is not a surprise, as bamboo flooring is much more complicated than other floorings. However, it is prone to scratches depending on the type of final finish. Although it may sustain damage over time, it can be refinished to look as good as new. Also, the latest high-quality flooring uses gums and polish, which give bamboo flooring durability on par with hardwood flooring.
- Laminates Are Indefinitely Durable: A laminate is a compact structure of layers that are incredibly long-lasting. Thanks to a resilient topcoat, most laminate flooring is tough and resists dings from pets, kids, and heavy furniture. They are also capable of withstanding heavy traffic in commercial areas. Laminate floors also have moderate scratch resistance, depending on their quality. AC, i.e., Abrasion criteria, measures the hardness of laminate floors. AC1 is the lowest, and AC5 is the highest hardness value good for domestic and commercial use.
- Zero Environmental Damage by Bamboo Floors: Since bamboo is a natural material, some people speculate that it is not environmentally friendly. That’s not the case. Bamboo floorings are the most eco-friendly option because bamboo is a type of grass that grows rapidly. Moreover, harvesting bamboo doesn’t affect the environment.
- Controversial Eco-Friendliness of Laminates: Unfortunately, laminates are not as environmentally friendly as bamboo flooring. Although it looks like natural wood, it is entirely synthetic. For example, an adhesive in the protective coating contains compounds which are toxic and cause cancer. However, what makes it controversial is that it has several upsides. For instance, it uses recycled wood pulp, so no new trees are damaged. Whether it is a good option or not, it is up to you to decide.
Indoor Air Quality and Off-Gassing
- Bamboo Floors Are VOC-Free: It is crucial to regulate the quality of the air your breath, and the flooring type can significantly affect that. Bamboo flooring is perfect for reducing volatile organic compounds (VOCs) in your house as it is a natural product. However, strictly speaking, bamboo floorings do release a small amount of hazardous compounds from the adhesives used in their production. Overall, it is the best option for indoor home improvement.
- The Bad Reputation of Laminates for VOC Emission: As mentioned above, most laminate floorings contain cancer causing agents. This attribute of laminate contributes to the low quality of indoor air quality. However, high-quality laminate floorings that produce smaller quantities of toxic gasses are available. Nonetheless, it is still less air-friendly than all types of bamboo floors.
Surface Feel and Texture of Bamboo Flooring vs. Laminate
A good surface feel is a relative term that significantly depends on the user. Both laminate and bamboo floorings can provide a soft and comfortable feeling, for the right price, of course.
- Bamboo is Warm: Bamboo is an excellent insulator, so you can walk around barefoot in winters without catching a cold. Irrespective of the pricing, all bamboo slabs are insulators, so you will always get cozy and warm underfoot. Also, it feels like natural wood since it is derived from nature, and this natural woody texture is also soft, which reduces body strains.
- Laminates are Cold: Laminates use resins that get cold, so you may feel a bit chilly because you will be walking around on a cold floor. Also, they feel artificial and plastic-like. However, a high-end product on the upper side of the price scale has a smoother and velvety texture.
Water Resistance of Laminates and Bamboo Floorings
- Excellent Water Resistance of Rigid Core Bamboo Floors: Bamboo floorings are not 100% waterproof. However, they do offer very high protection against You can clean spills quickly, even after 30 hours, without permanent damage to your floor. A significant reason why bamboo floorings are so popular is their ability to resist water damage in comparison to other wooden floorings. Regardless of their waterproof capacity, it is advisable not to use them in areas frequently exposed to water, like laundry rooms.
- Moderate Water-Resistance of Fiberboard Core Laminate Floors: You can freely clean a bamboo floor with a damp mop, but it might not be a good option. Although the laminate coatings are waterproof, the inner layers are not. The core acts like a sponge, soaking up the water and expanding. Ultimately, the floorings will swell and gradually start to crack and crumble. The only solution would be to replace it. If you search hard enough, you can find laminates that claim to be waterproof. These products use separate coatings for inner layers and seal off any openings. Even then, it is not entirely waterproof but gets the job done.
Cost and Availability
The quality of the laminate or bamboo floor you get depends greatly on the price you are willing to pay. We will provide a cost comparison for bamboo vs. laminate flooring by considering the maximum benefits you can get in both at a moderate price.
- Cost of Bamboo Flooring: Bamboo flooring is always available. It is a fast-growing grass, so there is rarely a shortage. It has a competitive advantage in terms of price since bamboo flooring costs less than hardwood flooring. If hardwood excites you, then bamboo floorings are a perfect way to get all their benefits and more at a lower price. Since it is eco-friendly and comfortable, it has a higher demand, making it more expensive. Moreover, the cost can add up if you choose high-quality flooring like strand-woven bamboo floors. Typically, bamboo flooring costs $2.00-$7.00 per square foot.
- Cost of Laminate Flooring: If you are looking for an affordable option, then laminate is the right flooring for you. It costs even less than bamboo floors, making it a top pick for people with a tight budget. Out of all flooring options, laminates save money without compromising quality. Typically, laminate flooring costs $0.50-$2.00 per square foot.
Similarities in Bamboo vs. Laminate Flooring
Ease of Installation
Bamboo flooring is a multi-use product. You can glue down or nail down the slabs onto the subfloor without much hassle. You can install bamboo floorings yourself if you are good at DIY. However, there are several steps, and you have to follow them strictly; otherwise, you may ruin the floor.
Unlike bamboo flooring, you can only install laminate floors via the floating floor method, i.e., each slab is floated onto the subfloor. However, this is the easiest fitting method without many steps and can be perfected by a skilled DIY artist.
The fitting costs are nearly the same for both, and there are only minor differences in the process. Installing laminates is as easy as installing bamboo floors.
Ease of Maintenance
Maintaining bamboo and laminate floors is no science. It’s very basic, and there isn’t much difference either. You can keep them in top condition by regularly sweeping, cleaning, and immediately mopping spills.
One crucial point is to avoid steam mopping. Both bamboo and laminate floorings are prone to heat damage.
Which of these is a better option? That is entirely up to your preference and usage. There is no absolute winner. However, comparing bamboo flooring with laminate, it is clear that each has its plus points. Laminates are more affordable and easier to install, but bamboo flooring is safer and more comfortable.
Hopefully, you no longer have to examine your options and can get started on your home improvement project right away.