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Bamboo Flooring Pros and Cons

Posted February 14th, 2011 in Environment, Health, Performance by Bamboo Flooring Reviews

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:

Pros

  • 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.

Cons

  • 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.

15 Responses so far.

  1. RICK says:

    Where did you get the information that bamboo can not be refinished?

  2. Richard A.Cooper says:

    Has anyone else out there experienced “cupping” from water coming up thru the slab? If so, please respond to rcooper88@tampabay.rr.com

    • Rick Coleman says:

      My carbonized bamboo floor has been installed for about 9 months and I am seeing some cupping of mine in areas where there is no water.

      • Charlene Kulik says:

        Hi
        Im considering Mohawk strand woven bamboo, Hilea. Baked Natural color. Looks beautiful but have been reading so many negative things. We do not have central air so I am concerned with humidity and all the “cupping” I hear about. Solid hardwood and the engineered both dent quite easily from what Ive seen. That was my reasoning for wanting bamboo. However, Im giving it a second thought regarding everything negative. Any thoughts??

    • Greg Hill says:

      I’m a flooring contractor. And lately I have been replacing some bamboo floors installed as recently as 3yrs ago. One was a solid strand woven, installed over a deco rez epoxy membrane with some type of urethane glue over concrete. It failed to say the least. It cupped and has been literally rotting in different areas of the home. First the install was done incorrect. Second their is no moisture problem. We took test and found very miner readings. Another project was a engineered strand woven that also had the same problems. Not sure if the product was properly aged and cured. So I’m still researching the issues at hand.
      Greg

      • Tina says:

        Could you share with us the name of the manufacturer?

      • Deborah says:

        We live in Florida and exactly the same problem with our floor. We now actually have bubbles of colored resin popping out of the floor all over! Very disappointed considering the expense.

        • Lorrie says:

          I also live in Florida! My floors have not been down for a year yet and I have blisters with the sticky substance coming out.
          I have the Zebra Strand and it is only happening with the darker color in the wood. I would love to know what kind of floor Deborah has. Please respond!

    • Elizabeth says:

      Ours has been installed by our contractor on concrete slab- no moisture at all underneath as far as we know-and it is only 7 months old. The floor is cupping, there are these strange ridges developing along the top, and some bubbling/defacing of the surface in some areas. I’ve placed a warranty claim but haven’t heard back yet. Meanwhile, the floor seems to be changing almost daily in front our very eyes. Anyone else have this problem?

  3. liz jackson says:

    We had a bamboo floor laid last year and have been very pleased with it until recently when we noticed a 5mm gap appear between some planks. No cupping,or moisture noticed only this gap from one end of the room to the other in one plane.
    Can yoou tell us if this is a common problem and is there something we can do to rectify it
    Thank you
    Liz

  4. Mragie Maher says:

    I had a bamboo floor installed 18 moths ago. The subfloor is concrete and a urethane glue was used. This winter hurricane Sandy followed by a major winter storm left my yard with more than normal water floating on the grass. I noticed moisture seeping up through the living room floor in December, exactly a year after the floor had been installed. I had a French drain installed around the perimeter of the house to solve the outside water problem. The contractor also drilled holes into the concrete to drain out any water there may have been directly under the slab. Now it is mid June and the moisture has spread through most of the house with only the two bedrooms having a normal moisture content. The floor that has been moist since December is cupping. Another contractor came today to take a moisture reading throughout the house. His recommendation at this point is to wait until the end of summer so that the floor has ample time to try out and hopefully level out. The only other solution is to rip out the floor and start over which would be another huge expense.

  5. Niu says:

    Hello,

    I would like to add that a definite con would be that it molds. I have some samples from a California based company that I got 3 months ago that are molding. I do live in a humid area, but nothing else around here is molding. Just the samples. It’s gross. I don’t understand why some websites say that bamboo is resistant to mold when all the knowledgeable flooring folks around here have told me about the molding specifically with bamboo.

  6. Michael says:

    I’m looking to use bamboo in a high rise condo in Chicago with central air. It can and will get humid but there will always be fresh air through the vent system and AC during the summer. I’m wondering if I’ll suffer the same as what I’ve been reading or it seems that most experience inside homes on humid areas. Any feedback is greatly appreciated.

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