An affordable alternative to traditional hardwood flooring, bamboo flooring has rapidly increased in popularity over the last several years. Bamboo provides a stylish and natural flooring option at a great price point, making it an ideal flooring option for many households. However, before deciding if it is the right choice for your home, it is important to consider pros and cons of bamboo flooring to determine if this wood alternative is a good fit for your lifestyle.
Bamboo Flooring Pros
Amidst the rapid increase in the demand for environmentally responsible home construction, bamboo has become a popular alternative to traditional hardwood floors thanks to its sustainability. This is because unlike trees, which can take anywhere from 20 to more than 100 years to be ready for harvest, bamboo grows rapidly and can be harvested for use in anywhere from three to seven years. An extremely renewable resource, once it is cut, the root of the bamboo remains in the ground and quickly regenerates within three-and-a-half to seven years for future use.
Another key benefit of bamboo flooring is that it is a durable and long-lasting option. In fact, un-carbonized bamboo has been found to be equally strong and durable to classic red oak hardwood floors. Even better, certain varieties of strand woven bamboo flooring can be even harder and more durable than their hardwood counterparts.
Easy to Maintain
Similarly to hardwood flooring, bamboo floors are low maintenance. To keep bamboo flooring in tip-top shape, all you need to do is vacuum or sweep it on a regular basis to remove dust and dirt build up. Bamboo floors can also be damp mopped and cleaned with specialty cleaners formulated for bamboo flooring. When it comes to maintenance, bamboo floors are also more resistant to water damage than hardwood flooring options, and have less of a chance of staining and warping from moisture issues.
Bamboo flooring is also an affordable flooring option for homeowners. Depending on the type of bamboo flooring you select, it can be similar in price (or cheaper) than traditional hardwood floors. It typically ranges in price from $5 to $8 per square foot.
Yet another big pro of bamboo flooring is its sleek and modern appearance once installed in a home. Available in a wide variety of colors and styles, bamboo is a unique and stylish alternative to traditional hardwood floors and is an especially good choice for individuals going for a natural, minimalist style in their home.
Downsides of Bamboo Flooring: Cons
May contain harmful toxins
During the manufacturing process, the bamboo used to make floor planks is shredded or sliced and then put back together using pressure, heat, and adhesives. The problem is that some of the adhesives used in the process can contain formaldehyde and other toxic chemicals that are then released into your home over time, compromising your air quality. These volatile organic chemicals vary depending on the manufacturing process used to create the flooring planks. This is why it is essential to ensure you bamboo is coming from a reputable source or is certified by the Forest Stewardship Council.
Although bamboo flooring is extremely durable and strong, it does scratch easily. Due to this, it is recommended that you protect your flooring by not walking on it in high heeled shoes, and by using soft felt protectors under the legs of furniture to avoid leaving a permanent mark on the flooring. The good news is that bamboo floors can be sanded and refinished as needed if the scratching becomes an issue. With proper care, even a scratched bamboo floor can last a lifetime as it is one of the most durable flooring types available.
Susceptible to water damage and humidity
As previously discussed bamboo wood flooring is less likely to give way to water damage than traditional hardwood floors. However, since bamboo is still a natural flooring material, it can still be negatively impacted by the presence of moisture or flooding, which can cause it to mold or warp over time. Along the same lines, bamboo can also be damaged by the presence (or absence) of humidity, as a humid climate can cause the planks to expand and a dry environment can result in shrinking of the planks.
Poor harvesting practices can compromise its eco-friendly qualities
Thanks to its abundance and sustainability, bamboo is often touted as a “green” flooring alternative to classic hardwood flooring. However, due to irresponsible forestry practices in many of the regions where bamboo is harvested, bamboo flooring is often harmful to the environment, despite its reputation. Some of the key issues leading to these issues include the use of fertilizer and pesticides and clear-cutting of forests in the harvesting process. Ensuring your bamboo flooring is certified by the Forest Stewardship Council is one easy way avoid supporting these poor environmental practices.
How much will bamboo flooring cost?
If you are considering installing bamboo hardwood flooring you probably want at least a ballpark figure on how much it will cost you when all is said and done. There are a variety of factors to consider when estimating bamboo flooring costs, including the quality of the flooring, the manufacturing process, the country or origin, the “wear layer” thickness and quality, and any treatments the material has undergone. Aside from material, you will also need to consider installation costs including labor and any additional installation materials such as subflooring or adhesives.
Average prices on common types of bamboo flooring
Below are the average prices on the eight most common types of bamboo flooring for your home.
Floating bamboo flooring
Floating flooring is manufactured so that the separate pieces will click together for easy installation. This type of flooring will typically range in price from $1.79 – $3.29.
Hand-scraped bamboo flooring
Handscraped bamboo flooring is evened out by a traditional method using hand tools. Due to the labor involved in this style of flooring it will run slightly more than other options, with prices ranging from $2.00 – $5.00 per square foot.
Strand woven bamboo flooring
Considered to be the most durable form of bamboo flooring, this style is crafted by shredding the bamboo stalk and pressing it into a mold to form solid blocks that are then cut into flooring planks. This flooring option ranges in price from $3.00 – $5.00 per square foot.
Solid bamboo flooring
This type of bamboo flooring is created by sliced or shredded bamboo that is put together using heat, chemical adhesives and pressure to form flooring planks. One of the most affordable options, solid bamboo flooring should cost between $1.50 – $5.00 per square foot.
Vertical Bamboo flooring
Vertical bamboo flooring is made by pressing together tiny vertical slats, resulting in a textured appearance. This style of bamboo flooring ranges in prices from $1.90 – $3.50 per square foot.
Horizontal bamboo flooring
Horizontal bamboo flooring is created by pressing together horizontally-sliced stalks of bamboo. This style ranges in prices from $1.80 – $3.30 per square foot.
Carbonized bamboo flooring
Carbonized bamboo flooring results in a dark, rich floor color by applying heat to the bamboo. Although this style of flooring provides for more depth of color, it is weaker than other bamboo flooring options. Pricing ranges from $1.80 – $3.90 per square foot.
Bamboo laminate flooring
This style of bamboo flooring is constructed by adhering a thin amount of bamboo to a backing material that is then coated in a protective layer to prevent wear and tear. Bamboo laminate flooring pricing ranges from $1.30 – $4.00 per square foot.
Average bamboo flooring costs at top retailers
Obviously, the cost of bamboo flooring will also vary based on where you decide to purchase your flooring. Below are the average costs of bamboo flooring among top retailers in the United States according to Home Advisor:
Home Depot Bamboo Flooring
- Low – $1.79 to $2.89/square foot
- Middle – $2.99 to $3.99/square foot
- High – $4.29 to $5.29/square foot
Wayfair Bamboo Flooring
- Low – $2.26 to $3.33/square foot
- Middle – $4.16 to $5.00/square foot
- High – $5.60 to $7.68/square foot
BuildDirect Bamboo Flooring
- Low – $1.49 to $2.99/square foot
- Middle – $3.29 to $3.44/square foot
- High – $3.79 to $4.39/square foot
Lowes Bamboo Flooring
- Low – $1.99 to $2.99/square foot
- Middle – $3.29 to $3.99/square foot
- High – $4.52 to $5.16/square foot
Lumber Liquidators Bamboo Flooring
- Low – $1.56 to $1.99/square foot
- Middle – $2.19 to $2.99/square foot
- High – $3.59 to $4.49/square foot
Top bamboo flooring brand reviews
Now that you know a little more about the pricing of different types of bamboo flooring from different retailers, you are probably wondering about which brands of bamboo flooring have the best reviews. Here is a little bit of background on some of the top bamboo flooring options on the market.
Teragren has been in the bamboo flooring industry for 23 years, and were trailblazers at establishing fair trade practices with Chineses bamboo farmers as well as factory workers. This brand also utilizes a unique species of bamboo known as Optimum 5.5 Moso or Phyllostachys pubescens, which is known for its dense fibers, resulting in a top quality product.
Cali Bamboo Flooring
Known for its sustainable, eco-friendly manufacturing practices, this San Diego-based company offers the hardest bamboo floors that are available for purchase in the United States. The brand is also known for using an easy-to-use click system on its products, which reduces installation time. Cali bamboo flooring is one of the most efficient types of bamboo flooring to install. A local cali bamboo flooring installer can be in an out in no time–leaving you with more time!
This company was one of the original U.S. brands to venture into bamboo flooring. Since 1989 Plyboo has offered beautiful flooring options while also adhering to high environmental standards. The company also uses a soy-based adhesive that is free from formaldehyde, eliminating the issue of toxins being released into your living environment.
Manufacturing bamboo flooring for over 12 years, this company prides itself on offering everything you need to install bamboo flooring — including trim, installation materials, and molding. All of Ambient’s flooring is also manufactured without the use of urea formaldehyde.
In addition to these brands, other top bamboo flooring brands include EcoFusion, US Floors, Yanchi, and Home Legend.