Bamboo is the only natural flooring material that behaves much like a hardwood. Both flooring are durable, attractive and adds real estate value to a home. Most homeowners find it difficult to make a choice when deciding between the two. Here is a comparison for bamboo flooring vs hardwood.
Bamboo is a type of grass that can be processed to produce stronger, durable and versatile materials for home improvement products including flooring. Bamboo flooring is thus classified as a hardwood due to its strength and appearance.
Bamboo flooring is manufactured by slicing or shredding strands which are then compressed using heat and adhesives to form flooring planks. The boards are made with tongue and groove for nail-down installation or with click fitting profile.
Bamboo flooring can either be solid, engineered or laminated but structurally different. The structure of a bamboo determines its quality, cost and durability. Types of bamboo flooring based on their structures include:
- Horizontal bamboo: The strands are cut into small thin strips which are dried and glued together horizontally to form planks with wide and more evident grain pattern.
- Vertical bamboo: The cut thin strips of bamboo are dried and glued together vertically to form flooring planks with a thinner, less evident grain pattern.
- Strand woven: The bamboo is shredded into strands and fibers that are mixed and highly compressed into planks with random grain pattern. This is the strongest, versatile and most expensive type of bamboo flooring.
Just like a hardwood flooring, bamboo comes in different color options and finishes. Bamboo can be left to appear natural in its blonde or golden hues or be carbonized to darken the surface into coffee brown tones.
Bamboo Flooring Pros
Here are the advantages of a bamboo flooring:
1. Renewable resource
Bamboo grass grows fast and the stalks are harvested repeatedly without environmental liability. This is unlike to hardwood where trees take many years to grow, and cutting them down causes environmental concerns such as greenhouse effects and ecological threats.
2. Bamboo is strong
A high quality bamboo flooring is harder than some species of hardwood. Strand woven bamboo is an example of a strong and versatile flooring material that performs better than some hardwood flooring.
3. Affordable material
The cost of a horizontal or vertical bamboo runs from $2 to $4per square foot. While a high quality strand woven bamboo cost around $3 to $5 per square foot. Averagely, installation of bamboo floors cost about $5 to $7. This is a fraction of cost for installing a hardwood flooring that averages between $6 and $13 per square foot.
4. Stylish appearance
Although not available in varieties of colors, bamboo offers a clean cotemporary appearance that befits a modern interior décor. Like hardwood, bamboo flooring are uniquely attractive due to their ingrain patterns and deep rich hues.
5. Easy to clean
Like other hardwood floors, cleaning of bamboo flooring is a simple easy process. Dust and loose dirt debris are easily removed by sweeping with a soft bristle broom , a dust mop or by vacuuming. Damp mopping is done occasionally using a bamboo floor cleaner.
6. Sanding and refinishing
Quality bamboo flooring can be sanded and refinished to remove scratches, dents and make it to look new again. Although some types of engineered bamboo planks may not be thick enough to be sanded you should discuss with your manufacture before making an attempt.
7. Resistant to heat
Bamboo is slightly more resistant to heat as compared to hardwood flooring. Upon discussing with manufacturers, you can install it over radiant heating system.
Bamboo Flooring Cons
The following are disadvantages of a bamboo flooring
1. Prone to scratches
Less quality bamboo flooring can easily scratch or discolor. This is a less concern if you go for an expensive thick material that can be sanded and refinished.
2. Susceptible to water damage
Bamboo flooring boards can easily absorb water, swell and buckle or grow mold. High or low humidity also causes bamboo to crack easily. It is thus not the right option for humid climates. With a bamboo flooring, humidity has to be maintained between 30 – 50%.
3. May contain toxins
Adhesive or glues used in binding strands or for installation may contain toxic chemicals that are harmful. A safe bamboo has to be tested for toxins and labelled formaldehyde-free.
4. Limited to contemporary look
Bamboo flooring lacks varieties of tones and natural looks that are usually characterized by knots found in hardwood. The limited contemporary tonal shades makes it unfit for most traditional decors loved by most homeowners.
Bamboo flooring vs Hardwood
Hardwood is the king of flooring materials whose character cannot be compared to any other type of flooring. Here are the reasons for choosing a hardwood over a bamboo flooring:
1. Hardwood is highly durable
While the cost of bamboo flooring is less expensive, this cannot be compared to the maximum value a hardwood flooring offers. Averagely bamboo can last up to 50 years while hardwood flooring can last a lifetime.
2. Hardwood can be sanded and refinished many times
Hardwood floors can be sanded and refinished numerous times without compromising quality. This is a rare happening for bamboo flooring where most types cannot be sanded multiple times.
3. Hardwood flooring is naturally attractive
Hardwood is a warmly inviting flooring material that offers multiple color options for homeowners. The charming natural appearance of hardwood makes it suitable for every décor. From light to dark hardwood floors, you will find a perfect match for your home.
4. Hardwood flooring is safe
There are no toxic adhesives or chemical treatments used in milling or installation of hardwood flooring boards. This makes it a safe option for every household members including pets.
5. Hardwood flooring comes in varieties
There are plenty of hardwood species whose cost vary from cheap to most expensive ones. Even the least expensive hardwood offers a sense of satisfaction and value for the money. This gives a home developer a great option for choice based on budget, appearance, value and satisfaction.
- Both are prone to water and humidity damage
- Both flooring can be infested by termites
- Bamboo and hardwood flooring offers real estate value to a home although at different scales
- Both flooring can be sanded and refinished as long as you are dealing with a top-quality bamboo.
- Installation for both hardwood and bamboo flooring requires a skilled labor
- Both hardwood floors require good care and maintenance to remain in good shape
Although not a typical hardwood, bamboo flooring appears like one. A top-quality bamboo flooring will offer maximum value and satisfaction just like a hardwood flooring. Less expense bamboo becomes expensive to maintain and this is where a hardwood flooring becomes the best option if you were to make a decision for one the two flooring materials.