Bamboo Flooring Pros and Cons

Many consumers are looking to lessen their environmental footprint when renovating their home. One eco-friendly alternative to other forms of flooring is made from environmentally friendly and sustainable bamboo. While this is a great choice for some homeowners, there are some considerations to take into account. In this article, we will discuss some bamboo flooring pros and cons to help the consumer better decide if this is the best selection to suit their individual needs.

Trees that produce hardwood can take nearly a century to mature. Sustainable bamboo reaches maturity in just three to five years to make it suitable as flooring and then can grow again very quickly. As this plant is considered a grass, it does not even need to be replanted but simply sprouts again, from what is left behind in the topsoil after it has been harvested. By relying on crops like this, we can preserve our old growth forests while providing a sustainable and environmentally friendly industry for many people in third world nations to be involved in.

Bamboo flooring can appear very similar to actual hardwood boards, often even more so than the toxic fake wood veneers that has unfortunately become very popular because of their low cost. Dark bamboo will have an appearance similar to black walnut while the lighter varieties will have appearance comparable to maple. The similarities do not end with appearance, as bamboo flooring is relatively as durable as its hardwood counterpart is and takes about the same amount of effort to maintain and clean. The color of bamboo is achieved by heating the bamboo. The lighter the color, the less heat that has been applied and the more long lasting the bamboo will be. In this sense, if you are looking for dark flooring, then bamboo may not be the best selection for you because a hardwood will last longer.

There are a few different types of bamboo flooring available on the market today. Engineered bamboo flooring is mixed with other fibers so it is not completely made up of the bamboo plant. Many users report that these blends are more durable and better able to handle extreme changes in temperature and better able to withstand moisture as well. Stranded floors are manufactured from fibers that have been mixed with adhesives and then pressure treated. The stranded type makes for a strong floor that requires professional installation to be done properly. The lengths of the strips are another factor to consider.  Most manufacturers offer smaller strips than conventional wood flooring and this can lead to a staggered appearance in the floor once it is laid. Longer strips are required if you wish to replicate the look of a traditional wood floor.

Like many environmentally friendly practices that become popular in the consumer marketplace, the production of vast amounts of bamboo for export is not without its own concerns and impacts on the natural environment. The increasing demand for bamboo flooring has caused large swaths of land to be cleared so it can be grown which has done some damage to the regions where it is harvested. In addition, the practices of many farmers and corporations that hire farmers to grow bamboo have been called into question, as there are currently no certifications for fair trade practices.

In conclusion, one must do their own research on the pros and cons of bamboo flooring to see what is the most important factors for them.