We received these photos from a woman who had bamboo flooring installed in her home. The pictures speak for themselves:
There’s a lot of information out there that you need to process if you’re considering bamboo flooring. With so many important factors to take into account, it can be difficult to make a truly educated decision. To help with the process, here’s a list of the pros and cons of bamboo flooring:
- A rapid regrowth rate (reaching full maturity and hardness in about 7 years) gives bamboo a point in the eco-friendly department.
- It can be cheaper than more traditional hardwood flooring.
- Bamboo flooring comes in a variety of styles and colors.
- Irresponsible forestry practices (clear-cutting natural forests to make room for bamboo, unnecessary use of fertilizers and pesticides) make it environmentally unfriendly.
- Formaldehyde-based glues and finishes make bamboo flooring unhealthy for you and the environment.
- There is no enforcement of fair trade practices or quality control in China, where bamboo originates.
- Lots of energy must be expended to ship bamboo flooring overseas from China, another hit in the eco-friendly department.
- Premature harvesting (as early as 3 months) doesn’t allow the bamboo to properly harden, producing soft, non-durable floors.
- The darker variety of colors results from a special heat treatment that further softens the bamboo.
- Bamboo flooring cannot be refinished, so a dented, scratched, or otherwise damaged floor must be replaced, which drives up the cost.
So there you have it, the pros and cons of bamboo flooring. There are far more disadvantages than advantages, but the choice is ultimately yours.
First of all, if you are shopping for a cheap flooring option and are tempted by a cheap brand of bamboo flooring, be careful. You are most likely getting a high toxic glue content and a soft floor that will show years’ worth of damage after a few months.
Even if you go for a higher quality brand of bamboo flooring, it is still vulnerable to scratches and dents, and refinishing potential is sketchy at best. If you want to eliminate your floor’s blemishes, you will have to replace it. You just doubled the cost of your bamboo floor.
If that doesn’t sound like your ideal situation, then you may want to reconsider your decision to install bamboo.
One of bamboo flooring’s weak points is a general lack of variety. To address this issue, flooring companies came up with a process to darken the bamboo and give consumer’s a choice when it came to the color of their bamboo floor.
A lot of people like the darker amber color of carbonized bamboo flooring, but one thing the manufacturer may not tell you is that the process makes the bamboo softer and weaker. This means that it will become even more susceptible to damage such as dents. Is that really something you want in a floor as scratch and dent prone as bamboo?
One of the great benefits to using bamboo is that it can mature in as little as 3-5 years, reaching its peak hardness in about 7 years. However, it can reach full size in just 3 months, and the manufacturing companies just can’t resist the opportunity to speed up production.
They harvest their bamboo crop after just a few months, skipping the last several years of the natural growth cycle, and deny their product the opportunity to properly harden. From a performance standpoint at least, bamboo could be better, but because of premature harvesting, it fails to live up to its full potential.
This is also bad from an environmental standpoint, as the constant and rapid harvesting leads to erosion.