Before You Install a Bamboo Floor…

This site has received many stories from homeowners about bamboo floors gone bad. Reading through the comments reveals a handful of common lessons to be learned. While it may be too late for those who have already experienced these problems, here are some tips for those who are considering installing bamboo flooring for the first time:

Bathrooms, kitchens, and other areas that could see a lot of water are big no-nos. If you are considering putting down bamboo in a place like this, forget it. The risk is too high. Here’s what one commenter had to say:

“I would not recommend bamboo flooring in a bathroom. We have it in our kitchen and moisture makes the bamboo swell and sometimes doesn’t go back down if it gets wet enough. We have one spot in our kitchen where the flooring is swelled because our water machine leaked overnight and didn’t get wiped up quickly enough.”

A second warning is to reconsider bamboo if you have dogs, cats that haven’t been declawed, or rambunctious children. Bamboo’s structural composition makes it extra susceptible to these factors. Here’s another quote from the comments:

“I really do not recommend bamboo floors for anyone that has an active family or has pets…I have had mine down and cry every day…if I had my way I would have real hardwoods or tile.”

Again, I want to stress that these are real stories from real homeowners. If you have your heart set on bamboo flooring, I recommend reading through all the comments on this site so you can make an informed decision.

Comments

John

August 3, 2013

Like everyone else here I was considering bamboo flooring and am cruising the web for info. I have a friend that is and experienced woodworker and cabinet builder, when I asked him about bamboo he basically and emphatically said “stay away.” So I began searching the web for “problems with bamboo” rather than reading all the glowing reviews by people who love their brand new floors.

I am glad to have found this site. It seems like all the problems and issues my friend described are not just his nit-picky anal issues.

My one question, who is behind this website? There are no namesor info on who the creator(s) is and if the motivation is simply personal or ?

Thank you.

Jennifer

January 8, 2014

We just installed bamboo flooring in our living room area in August. It came highly recommended at one of the big box stores we went to. It is now January and our flooring has shrunk and we now have big gabs between some of our boards and it has unhooked and come apart due to shrinkage. I am now told it will cost us another $10,000 to rip it all out and replace it with something else. I was also told that other sites are saying that this product should never have been sold in Canada due to low humidity here. Well now I am stuck with this and out of pocket $10,000 and an additional cost of another $10,000 to replace it only after a few months. I am going to go back to the big box store to see what and if they can do anything. I am only posting this to save someone else the headache and huge financial cost!

    Eileen Gromann

    February 4, 2014

    If you don’t mind would you e-mail me the name of the Big Box store? I am looking at installing bamboo and I am getting mix messages. What kind of bamboo did you have installed?

    Thanks for the help

      Doreen

      February 15, 2014

      I got mine at Lumber Liquidators and have the same problems and they won’t do any thing but send me back to the installer to “fix” the “problem”. I believe this is a defective material but of course they sang its praises when I was in there and asking the pros and cons of the various materials when I was researching prior to buying. I do not have the money to replace it so I am just left with floors with Hugh gaps and safety issues when we wear high hill shoes. I scared to death a guest will be injured from this not to mention my daughter or I (I am a senior citizen). I understand Lumber Liquidators mills the bamboo themselves so they have a vested interest in not acknowledging “no fault”. Their own installer (highly recommended by this store in Lexington, Ky.) tells me he will no longer install this product because it has this problem and the supplier puts all the problem back on him.

        Joe

        March 31, 2014

        You might want to google “lumber liquidators lawsuit formaldehyde” they don’t make their own flooring. Have you noticed any problem with the off-gassing?

      Niu

      April 2, 2014

      I don’t think Jennifer ever replied to you about that big box store. Well, I have had an experience that would have resulted in a similar way with bamboo from a box store and I’m going to tell you that it was lowes and the product was cali bamboo. Lowes has been great though this all, unlike the company but it still doesn’t help me with all the extra money and heartache I have to go through now. I think maybe bamboo will be good in the future, but as one of their guinea pigs, I can tell you that it ain’t worth the trouble! Stay away!

    vahid

    March 15, 2014

    It seem you are talking about my home, I have exact same problem plus matching the stairs colour with bamboo flooring
    I think I know the big box store as well,
    Please share your next step experience with me.

    Thanks

tamra hayes

January 8, 2014

We installed 800 sq ft of the 5″x 3/4 natural strand bamboo in June of last year. We let it acclimate for 2 weeks before installation like required, and had it professionally installed. Immediately during and after installation, it was making a “crackling” noise. We were told it would eventually go away. The installers did what I thought was right. They checked the humidity density levels, put spacers around the edges for expansion. We also have an April Air system on our furnace to control humidity levels in our home. The crackling noise has never gone away. Even a 7# cat walking on it causes it to crackle.
It has been over 6 months and I hate this floor!!
We did call the installer after about 2 months and he told us that it really should settle in and that he never had a problem with them before. He said there is a 1 yr warranty on installation, and he would what he could for us. At this point I am willing to throw these in a dumpster and purchase new flooring if he will install for free.
I even went so far as to brush baby powder between the cracks with a toothbrush…something I read on the internet…but did not work.
Will let you know what happens.

    Steve N.

    January 20, 2014

    Can you tell us who the manufacturers? I am considering stranded bamboo flooring too. A lot of complaints here are not specifying brand names which makes it difficult to research this subject. Thanks.

      Eileen Gromann

      February 4, 2014

      Steve, I was curious if you went with bamboo? I’m in the same boat you were on Jan. 20., with finding mixed reviews.

      Thanks,
      Eileen

Lee A.

January 23, 2014

Hate it! Had it less than a year and it buckled and cupped and pulled apart in 4 places. It is super sensitive to moisture and unsuitable for people with dogs and children.

Niu

April 2, 2014

Why don’t people disclose the manufacturer on this site? From what I hear, bamboo has an extremely large range of product quality. I wish I was warned before I purchased my product and there’s not a lot out on the internet yet since bamboo flooring is still quite young. I had my problem with the Cali Bamboo.

Mike D

April 19, 2014

We have had bamboo flooring in our new house for 4 years now and it is still shrinking. We have maintained the humidity range as per the manufacturers guidelines, and it is still shrinking. We bought our flooring at Rona and the flooring associate assured us that this was a high quality, durable flooring. We spent $15,000 on a floor that looks like crap!

Cindi M

April 26, 2014

Dang I wish I would have seen this Website before we lugged 25 boxes of bamboo in the house…I have always heard good things, but now I don’t know what to do. We have 2 dogs, 100lbs & 60lbs. Should we take it back????

Brian knill

June 12, 2014

Bought the most expensive bamboo floor lowes had and paid to have it professionally installed, waited the 3week climatization period in July and hated it ever since. The floor shrinks and swells an amazing amount and is consta ntly showing new wider joint seam. I tried dealing with lowes for warranty at no avail. The floor is 10 months old and is getting replaced at my expense.i will never use bamboo or big box store again, they really know how to mislead you and only up sell their products never telling you the bad points. Bamboo doesn’t work in Canada, stay away from it…. Don’t waste your hard earned money,! Have your supplier install what ever u purchase so warranty falls 100percent on them.

    Steve

    July 3, 2014

    Hi,

    I just tried to post the following question as a new topic, but it seems like it has not been allowed by the moderator? So I am trying again …..

    I’m a consumer thinking about purchasing either hardwood or bamboo flooring. Like a lot of people I’m doing my reasearch first to make sure I don’t make a bad purchase. As a consequence I’ve stumbled across this site.

    In order for me to make properly informed decisions I’d really like to understand the motives behind this site and the person who created it please? Who is the person that created it and why have they gone to the trouble of doing so?

    I notice that someone has previously asked a similar question but there seems to have been no response as of yet.

    My only motivation is to ensure I gather all the facts on all the relevant flooring types in order to make a good informed purchase.

    Just as this site states “bamboo flooring companies have twisted the facts to sell their products”, which leads me to distrust all other information available; I want to be sure that the information stated here is true, correct and can be trusted.

    Many thanks in advance of a response,
    A confused consumer!

      Moderator 4

      July 3, 2014

      We are a group of installers who have been blamed for failed bamboo flooring products by the manufacturers. We have 30+ years experience installing hardwood flooring and have never had an install problem until we started installing bamboo flooring. The manufacturers of bamboo flooring always try to blame the installer whether its the homeowner that installed it themselves or a professional. This has cost us thousands of dollars so now we are sharing our opinions of the product and making sure homeowners are aware of the many problems. We now refuse to install bamboo flooring products and only install hardwoods and guess what we don’t have any problems anymore.

      Why someone felt the need for a “snake oil” flooring product like bamboo marketing it like its better than wood is beyond us other than the obvious quick fast money reasons. I’ve seen hardwood floors last 100+ years in countless houses and once they are refinished they still look fantastic. Bamboo floors even if there were better quality variations of it would still need the same care as a hardwood floor the finish will still scratch and it can dent.

      The manufacturers claim the janka hardness of bamboo is harder than oak I don’t buy that for a second, many of the bamboo flooring products I’m able to indent with a firm push from my fingernail I can not do that with oak. That being said there are wood species that have a much higher janka hardness than bamboo could ever achieve, basically the janka hardness is what classifies wood for it resistance to indent.

      Further more most bamboo is grown and harvested in China and bamboo grows to its full length in as little as 6 months but it takes about 5 years for it to fully lignify (harden). Do you really think the Chinese wait 5 years to harvest the bamboo so its as hard as it should be and they make sure they produce a quality product to be sent to America? I don’t think so not when it grows to full length in 6 months and they can produce more and get more money if they produce it faster and cheaper. Do yourselves a favor and do a Google search for Chinese drywall and read what happened when Americans got greedy and started importing Chinese drywall.

      It’s your health, your home, your family, your headaches and your choice. You better make sure its a good one because those “Limited manufacturers warranties” actually protect the manufacturer more than a purchaser. If you actually read all the terms and conditions in these warranties you would never buy any product even when you follow everything to the T in the warranty and installation instructions and document everything before installing (moisture levels, humidity levels, acclimation period and etc…) It will cost you more money to get an attorney and fight the manufacturer than to just replace the floor at your own expense.

      There’s never been anything wrong with hardwood floors I own several rental properties with old oak floors that are over 100 years old and renters are tough on flooring. They hold up great and can be refinished usually for rentals you’ll need to refinish usually every 15 years. In my personal house I put brazilian cherry flooring in 10 years ago and it still looks brand new minus one scratch in the dining room from a tiny little stone that got underneath the felt pad on one of my dining chairs. I’ll touch up the scratch with a little poly and a fine craft paint brush when I get around to it and you won’t be able to see it.

      Stick to hardwoods and make sure you follow all install instructions like proper acclimation and you should be fine. Hope this helps!

        Michelle

        July 23, 2014

        Does anyone know anything about Home Depot’s Trillium strand-woven clic bamboo? I have a sample of this floor in my home, as well as one from Lowes. The Lowes sample feels like a piece of cardboard, whereas the Home Depot one looks and feels like a piece of hardwood. I would love to hear from someone who knows about the Trillium floor.

        Belinda

        August 2, 2014

        Gosh, thanks for the heads up. We are busy building and we’re seriously considering strand woven bamboo floors… I am now seriously considering not, after these reviews,! It is tricky trying to get to the bottom of the bamboo facts, because like laminates, there may be a huge variation in the quality of bamboo flooring, depending on the age of growth, ethics of the manufacture, finishes used etc. I will continue to read reviews, but so far have not come across private reviews expounding the glories of bamboo.

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