The Truth About Bamboo Hardness

Perhaps you have been tempted to install bamboo flooring for its reputation as a strong wood flooring option.  After all, a Janka Hardness of 3000 is enough to rival even the hardest exotic woods.  But this, like many of bamboo flooring’s other claims, is a distortion of the facts.

This may surprise you, but the Janka Hardness Test is not a fool-proof accurate measure of how durable a wood surface is.  It involves measuring how much force is required to push a metal ball into the wood.  It just so happens that bamboo fibers are perfect for resisting spherical objects, and the ball is “bounced” out like a trampoline.  However, if a sharp object, like a stone stuck in a shoe tread, cuts the fibers, then the surrounding area is then more vulnerable to denting.  As a result, wood species with a lower Janka rating than bamboo can actually perform better.

Another feature of bamboo is that it does not posses even hardness across its surface.  Manufacturing companies know this, and test their flooring at the strongest point: the node, or knuckle.  Since this only accounts for a small percentage of the total surface area of a bamboo floor, the result can hardly be considered accurate.

As you can see, bamboo flooring’s reputation as a durable option has been fabricated through a manipulation of the Janka Hardness Test.  In reality, a bamboo floor will scratch and dent just as much, if not more, than any other hardwood flooring.

Comments

ryan

December 16, 2011

very very poor dent resistance. drop anything and it leaves a dent. Kitchen is a mess after a year and we are extremely careful! good scratch resistance though. WOuld never go with these floors again, the fact that you can’t resurface is a MAJOR downside!

Teri

December 27, 2011

Have had natural bamboo floors for 5 years. They look horrible! Scratches from a 20 lbs dog, dents from everything. Will never use this product again!

Rebecca

February 3, 2012

We are now trying to get compensated from the retailer and distributor of our bamboo flooring. Has anyone had success with this?

Rebecca

February 3, 2012

What about a class action for false claims?

Camilla stevens

March 14, 2012

Wow. I guess bamboo is out of the picture in my renovation. Can it be used successfully anywhere?

Herbjørn Tronsmoen

September 20, 2012

There are actually more variables here.

Bamboo is a group of straw family plants. They grow extremely fast and reach their max height after just one year.

The thing to consider when buying bamboo flooring is to find out how old the bamboo was before it was harvested – as the hardness of bamboo is reached after 5-6 years of age. As a lot of bamboo is imported from dodgy chinese producers you can assume that most of the bamboo that reaches the country is not mature (and hence not at it´s strongest). When buying bamboo please ask for documentation of the bamboo used in production.

Amber

April 12, 2013

Wow, we had bamboo floors installed in our home and in less than a year they are dented, scratched and look as though we used the floors as a skating rink – despite taking our shoes off, and placing felt pads on all of our furniture. What a mistake!

Steve

April 12, 2013

Talk about false advertising! Two years ago my wife and I installed bamboo floors, today the suface is heavily scratched despite every effort to avoid damages. We are already looking at replacing them – BIGGEST MISTAKE EVER!

Joe

April 12, 2013

While this flooring was easy to install and pretty to look at for the first few days, it is scratched and dented all over the place now in less than a month. We have two dogs and two kids and the slightest bump makes a mark. We have hardwood in other parts of the house and thought this would hold up a little better. It is much easier scratched than we thought it would be. So, if you don’t have kids, animals, never drop anything or move anything you should be okay with this floor. Otherwise choose another option.

    Mary

    August 6, 2013

    Would never get Bamboo flooring again. It looked good for the first 5 minutes. We were told it was the strongest type of flooring. The scratches are unreal. Put a laundry basket down and “bam” the floor is marked. Sucks!!!!

    It really is such a huge disappointment

Chris

April 12, 2013

I installed this in my great room and down the hall. It looks WONDERFUL! I do have a boxer that when he plays can dent it pretty easily with his nails. Also, I didn’t have my blinds put up for about 2months. The east sun coming in in the morning faded my floor. I was disappointed in that and would not recommend this flooring to anyone!

Shane

April 12, 2013

I installed Lowe’s bamboo flooring four years ago in three rooms. Extremely easy to install, and I told it was durable and a great value for the money. I liked the idea it was a “green” product but chose it for the look as well as the durability ( I have six kids, a mother in law,a full size collie and a yorkie as well as the wife and myself ). It is extremely dented, and scratched, burned and the worst part is it cannot be refinished unlike oak or any other wood floor.

Julie

June 9, 2013

Just renovated whole house with top quality bamboo. Looked amazing…….. Then came the scratches!!! No little kids, no animals, but scratches galore. Really disappointed , waste of $6000 , would advise anyone NOT to use this product.terrible stuff. Stay well clear !!!

    Alan

    February 15, 2014

    $6k for an entire house? No wonder it’s rubbish. If you buy on price alone you will end up disappointed

michael koester

August 5, 2013

I took a hammer and dented my entire floor 1500sf I staggered the dents about a inch apart, did it the same way you would do brick work I got the idea when I was using my old hammered wok so now if I get a dent I don’t notice and scratches are not as noticeable because the scratch stops after the inch. it is unique and beautiful again

Dana

August 28, 2013

My husband and I had Morning Star Bamboo installed 1 1/2 years ago and it still looks amazing. Maybe a small scratch here and there but you can hardly see it. I clean and take care of the floors twice a week. I don’t see any of the problems anyone has mentioned. We don’t have kids but do have beagles. We are moving and deciding on new flooring for our new house. I love the bamboo but don’t love all the negative comments on it. Does anyone know of an alternative that looks similar?

Debra

December 3, 2013

I love my tiger wood Bamboo floors. We had them installed two years ago. Glued over concrete slab on the ground floor and nailed on the second floor. Steps were remade from the Bamboo as well. Always get lots of compliments from friends and visitors to our home. Looks as lovely today as the day they were installed. First; buy good quality 4-5 year old dried bamboo flooring from a reputable dealer.
Second; Clean the floor with reccomended products. Third; Enjoy!

James R

February 24, 2014

We installed 720 sf of the Morning Star Click bamboo flooring sold by Lumber Liquidators in June of 2013. The finish on the material scratches easy, however, the scratches are the least of our problems. The cupping started with the shorter pieces in the hallways. By December 2013, the entire installation was cupping and gaps appeared in random areas. After contacting Lumber Liquidators about the problem, We were told that since we did not hire someone to test the moisture of the subfloor and the humidity in the house prior to the installation of this material, the warranty was void. In addition, I was told that our method of cleaning resulted in the problems with the floor. It seems that if the cleaner is sprayed directly on the floor, the material absorbs the moisture along the edges and this was another reason for the damage to the bamboo flooring. We purchased a 32 oz. bottle of cleaner after the floor was installed. Most of the time, the cleaning involves sweeping and using a dust mop. About once a month we get on our hands and knees, spray a fine mist of cleaner directly onto the floor and use a cloth towel to clean the floor. Since the installation, we have used the liquid cleaner about five times and still have about half of the cleaner left in the bottle. I guess 16 oz. caused the damage to the entire 720 sf of the floor, including the material under the furniture and area rugs!! Seriously?!?!?!? In reading the various reviews on independent web sites for this product, it seems that there is a chronic problem with scratching, cupping and separations. The reviews for this product on the LLI website are “selected”, gee….I wonder who selects them. Our first mistake in selecting our new floor was believing that the reviews on the LLI site were unbiased reviews. Our second mistake was actually purchasing this product. It seems that Lumber Liquidators will use any excuse to avoid the liability for providing the customer with a very poor product.
We made a $5,000.00 mistake, please don’t make the same mistake that we did. LLI should condense their warranty to read “Warranty void if material is removed from factory packaging”. We will have to replace our six month old floor and it sure as heck will not be with a product supplied by Lumber Liquidators. STAY AWAY!!!!!

    Jan Bunting

    March 16, 2014

    Wow! So sorry for your experience, but thank you so much for putting your results out there for the public to see. Will definitely taking your warning to heart!!

    Mark

    May 9, 2014

    I have recently completed a thirty year career with a large corporation with focus on government contracts. Quality and customer satisfaction are take serious and were always at the forefront of my priorities. I have recently started my own home remodeling business and do my best to check reviews of products the customers identifies but them nor do not have direct experience with. To educate myself and trying to look out for the customer and my reputation I always look for publishings of unbiased reviews, and this site and yours offer a complete new perspective to what I had found so far. Thank you for taking the time to put you’re experiences out there for future homeowners and installers to learn from.

    “Learn from others mistakes and lessons, you’ll never have time to make them all yourself”

James R

March 7, 2014

If you are considering purchasing the Morning Star Clic bamboo flooring from Lumber Liquidators, do yourself a huge favor and research customer satisfaction with this material and the LLI customer service department before you make a costly mistake. Do not rely solely on the reviews posted on the LLI website. One web search for an independent review of this material and LLI should open your eyes. I wish I had before I purchased this product. It only takes a few minutes and could save you a few thousand dollars.

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