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Bamboo Flooring Pros and Cons

Bamboo flooring is becoming an increasingly popular option in new homes and in renovations. Before you’re able to decide whether or not to install bamboo flooring, it is important to know and understand the pros and cons of using this material for your project.

Pros and Cons


  • Environmentally friendly
  • Durable
  • Climactic suitability
  • Cost effective
  • Variety of colors and patterns
  • Warm aesthetic
  • Low maintenance


  • Cannot be installed in high moisture rooms
  • Difficult to cut boards during installation

Now that you’ve got a broad idea of the pros and cons of bamboo flooring, here’s a more in depth look of each of the advantages and disadvantages:

Advantages of Bamboo

There are many advantages to bamboo including its: environmental friendliness, durability, suitability, cost, variety of styles, warmth, and ease of maintenance. For many, these pros make the choice to use bamboo an easy one.

Environmentally Friendly

Bamboo PlantsBamboo is an excellent choice for those who are interested in building a “green” home or place of business. It is one of the most environmentally friendly options for flooring on the market. It is made from a type of grass, so it grows quickly in comparison to wood. It continues to grow without needing to be replanted, so it is highly renewable. For those who are worried about moisture and insects, the bamboo used for flooring is treated against them, and does not use harsh chemicals or pesticides in the process.

Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) uses the Green Building Rating System developed by the United States Green Building Council (USGBC) as a set of standards regarding the environmentally friendliness of a particular building. The organization certifies buildings as “green” and looks at bamboo flooring as one of the best flooring options for this status.

Bamboo flooring is made from the Moso species of bamboo, meaning it is completely different than what pandas and other animals eat. This protects food sources for wildlife.


The Janka Hardness Scale, used to determine the hardness and strength of particular species of wood, rates solid bamboo flooring as a 1762 and engineered bamboo flooring ranks at a 1690, making both choices harder than both Red and White Oaks, Caribbean and North American Walnut, and Brazilian and North American Maple, among others. The Janka Hardness Scale rating is determined by how much force it takes to drive a .444-inch steel ball into a plank of wood .222 inches in diameter. The higher the rating on the scale, the harder and thus more durable the flooring is expected to be.

Bamboo flooring is a highly durable flooring choice for any location subjected to extensive usage and can stand up very well to the abrasion caused by children and pets. It is tough enough to resist the impact of falling objects in the kitchen, as well as in high traffic areas such as the living rooms and hallways.

Bamboo has a greater compressive strength than concrete and about the same strength-to-weight ratio as steel when subject to tension, yet it kinder to the body. When compared to standing on hardwood or concrete, the legs, feet, and knees do not experience as much strain and stress while standing on bamboo.

Climatic Suitability

Compared to hardwood and other flooring options, bamboo has a high climatic suitability because it grows in the tropics. This makes it a suitable option for the kitchen and laundry rooms, areas where hardwood does not work so well. Bamboo also does well in both arid and humid climates because it does not swell and contract like hardwood.

Cost Effective

When considering the durability of the flooring combined with the looks, and eco-friendly factor, bamboo flooring is one of the most cost effective options for a home because it is less likely to need repair in the long run.


strand woven bamboo flooring

No matter what taste there is to consider, bamboo flooring has an option guaranteed to please. The natural grain provides a unique look, and there are three main options for color: natural bamboo—light blonde color, carbonized bamboo—darker in color because the sugars in the plant caramelize due to longer boiling times, and stained bamboo—colored with a variety of stains available in light, medium, and dark shades.

For those who want the strength and durability of bamboo with the look of another type of floor, direct print bamboo is an option. Before this flooring is sealed, the pattern of another type of flooring, such as oak or cherry, is printed on. Regardless, there is a bamboo flooring choice to suit any décor.


Bamboo flooring adds an extra touch to the home, providing a comfortable feeling because of the natural look and feel of the material. The naturally attractive material may even evoke a sense of serenity.


Another selling point for bamboo flooring is how easy it is to take care of. Special cleaning agents are not needed and in fact should be avoided. Simply sweeping the floor is usually enough to clean it though sometimes, a damp mop can be used. The mop should not be too wet, as this could damage the flooring.

Disadvantages of Bamboo

While the advantages certainly outweigh the disadvantages of bamboo, it’s important to acknowledge both the pros and cons.  One disadvantage is, it cannot be installed in high-moisture rooms in the home and can be difficult to cut if you are not using the correct saw blade (a cross-cut blade works best).

Cannot Install Throughout the Home

While the durable flooring is suitable for high traffic areas, the kitchen and the laundry room, it is not suitable for outdoor use or in areas of the home susceptible to large amounts of moisture.

Where to Install Bamboo Flooring

Bamboo flooring can be installed in almost any room, above or below the ground, over wood, OSB (Oriented Strand Board), and existing vinyl flooring. Focus on high traffic areas such as the living room, and hallways, as well as areas prone to scratching and denting, such as the kitchen, laundry room, and bedrooms.

Where Bamboo Should Not Be Installed

Bamboo flooring is not suitable in areas prone to excessive wetness such as bathrooms. Avoid outdoor areas or areas that require wet mopping. Extended exposure to moisture can cause a bamboo flooring to warp, bend, or swell.

(91) Comments

  1. Your reply to John on March 6 of 2017. You said that Houston was too dry to put bamboo flooring down. Just curious do you even have a clue where Houston Texas is? It’s one of the most Humid places in the United States. And FYI it’s called the air conditioning capital.

  2. I’m looking to install floating click lock bamboo over tile in Florida throughout the first floor. Is this a good option or am I better off with engineered wood? Thanks

  3. i live in Von Ormy Tx , i want to install stranded woven bamboo flooring over plywood subfloor, patched and then luan over plywood, is that satisfactoty for this floor in this area? do i put underlayment?

    • BuildDirect Product Expert Team
      BuildDirect Product Expert Team - Reply

      Hi Juan,

      You will need to check the installation instructions for the specific floor you are installing to ensure the subfloor material and preparation is correct. Usually warranties are only valid if you are installing over a concrete or plywood subfloor. If you are floating the floor you will need an underlay that offers cushioning and moisture barrier. One thing to note is that bamboo is very susceptible to changes in humidity and temperature. If you live in an area that gets quite dry bamboo may not be the best option for you as there will be excessive contraction and expansion. A solid domestic species of wood may be a better option. Please let us know if you have any other questions!

  4. Emmanuelle Barone - Reply

    Hi! We would like to install bamboo in a couple of rooms in the house but some people told us that our climate is too dry for it… We live in Pierre, South Dakota.. Winters can be quite dry and we usually have around 25% humidity in the house. What is the lowest limit of humidity so the bamboo does not contract too much?
    We do our best to be environmental friendly and we really like the bamboo! I hope we can use this material instead of wood.. We plan to install floating board so there is room for movement.
    What do you advise?

    • BuildDirect Product Expert Team
      BuildDirect Product Expert Team - Reply

      Hi Emmanuelle,

      Unfortunately you will not be able to use bamboo in your area. The humidity must be within 35 to 50 per cent and even then you cannot have large swings in humidity. If you use bamboo it is very likely the planks will come apart when the seasons change. You can look into cork which is another environmentally friendly option or if there are some hardwood options that are GreenGuard Certified. Please let us know if you have any other questions!

  5. What a great resource your site is for newbies. I have newly installed horizontal bamboo and need a kitchen mat. I’ve seen not to use rubber-backed as they could cause discoloration if the floor cannot breathe. What about something described as “100% PVC Vinyl construction?”

    • BuildDirect Product Expert Team
      BuildDirect Product Expert Team - Reply

      Hi Regina,

      I haven’t come across this type of mat but anything that is vinyl and PVC will probably restrict breathing as well. You will want to use something made of breathable material that can be washed. Please let us know if you have any other questions!

  6. I’m considering strand woven bamboo floors throughout my house. We have a swimming pool. Will bamboo floors be a problem with potentially wet people coming inside from the pool? (We will have a rug in front of the door) If so, what would you recommend instead?
    Also, our climate is quite dry, but we are only about 2 miles from the ocean (Santa Barbara, CA). Will ocean moisture be a problem for bamboo floors?

    • BuildDirect Product Expert Team
      BuildDirect Product Expert Team - Reply

      Hi Danielle,

      Thank you for getting in touch! Bamboo may not be the best option for you if there will be moisture around the floor. You will need to clean up any spills or wet spots right away. Bamboo is a natural product and is very susceptible to changes in temperature and humidity as well so the dry climate and the ocean air may cause expansion and contraction problems. I would suggest going with a luxury vinyl plank to avoid any moisture issues or if you are set on real wood I would suggest going with a domestic species of wood like hickory or oak to keep the expansion and contraction to a minimum. Please let us know if you have any other questions!

    • BuildDirect Product Expert Team
      BuildDirect Product Expert Team - Reply

      Hi Trish,

      Thank you for getting in touch! Unfortunately you cannot re-stain bamboo. The way bamboo is pressed or woven together with adhesive makes it impossible to sand without the planks coming apart or fraying and you cannot stain a product without sanding it down first. Please let us know if you have any other questions!

  7. Considering strand woven bamboo for our kitchen, dining and hall. We live in Broomfield CO and have been told our climate is too dry for bamboo. Is this true?

    • BuildDirect Product Expert Team
      BuildDirect Product Expert Team - Reply

      Hi Pat,

      Thank you for getting in touch! That is correct, the climate in your area will be too dry for bamboo. You will end up having expansion and contraction issues. I would suggest looking into an engineered hardwood or a domestic species like hickory. That would work much better in your location. Please let us know if there is anything else we can help out with!

  8. We have had various experts give us estimates for installing a new hardwood floor. We like the horizontal bamboo. However, many have said that bamboo is not suitable for the Houston area. We have also heard that you should not glue the bamboo to the floor, but should go with a floating floor. We don’t like the feel of the floating floors. One guy suggested using a treated version that is imbued with aluminum oxide.

    My gut is to pursue a 8 to 12 year solid or engineered product and to glue it. Any thoughts here? Also, is there a preferred adhesive.

    • BuildDirect Product Expert Team
      BuildDirect Product Expert Team - Reply

      Hi John,

      Thank you for your inquiry! It is correct that solid bamboo would not be a good option for the Houston area. It is too dry and you will have expansion and contraction issues. I would suggest going with the engineered bamboo and you can glue that down. Another thing to consider is the durability of horizontal bamboo. It is similar to a birch in that it is a softer option. If you go with a strand woven bamboo rather than vertical or horizontal you will get something much more durable. Please let us know if you have any other questions!

  9. We are thinking about installing bamboo in our family room. We have a small dog who sometimes has accidents in that room. Will this ruin the floor?

    • BuildDirect Product Expert Team
      BuildDirect Product Expert Team - Reply

      Hi Kathy,

      Bamboo is not a water resistant product so it is likely that you will get moisture damage from the accidents. They would all have to be cleaned up right away to ensure nothing seeps into the seams of the floor. If this does happen you will get moisture damage and you will not be able to get the smell out of the floor. Please let us know if you have any other questions!

  10. Hi. I am about to put new flooring throughout my main floor (kitchen, living and dining rooms) and obtained several sample bamboo boards. My installer said to scratch the samples with a key to see if they would stand up to my dogs walking on them. Every sample scratched fairly easily and were semi visible as I held them. Is this normal for bamboo? In the description it says they are very pet durable. Thanks!

    • BuildDirect Product Expert Team
      BuildDirect Product Expert Team - Reply

      Hi Mike,

      Thank you for getting in touch! It depends on the type of bamboo. If you have pets I would suggest going with a “strand woven” bamboo rather than a “vertical” or “horizontal” bamboo. Strand woven, vertical and horizontal refer to the way the planks are structured and strand woven is the most durable of the three. Please let us know if you have any other questions!

    • BuildDirect Product Expert Team
      BuildDirect Product Expert Team - Reply

      Hi Dennis,

      Thank you for getting in touch! If the bamboo floor is installed properly and you don’t have any moisture issues the floor should last as long as the house. It is a very durable option. Please let us know if you need anything else!

    • BuildDirect Product Expert Team
      BuildDirect Product Expert Team - Reply

      Hi Paulena,

      Strand woven bamboo is a very strong and durable product and is great for many areas. The cost will vary depending on the area you are in. It would be best to get in touch with a local installer and ask them to price out the area you would like to renovate including the product and installation. Please let us know if you have any other questions!

    • BuildDirect Product Expert Team
      BuildDirect Product Expert Team - Reply

      Hi Joan – thanks for reaching out to us! It is always recommended to start with a fresh subfloor, which is usually plywood or concrete. If you’re using a floating bamboo floor, then you could install over tile, but you would need to make sure that the grout lines are even – you don’t want anymore more than 1/4″ difference in height. Also, if the tile you’re installing order is installed over concrete (which most are), you would need to use an underlayment with a built in moisture barrier. A glue down bamboo product would not work over tile as the adhesive will not stick to that type of surface. Please let us know if you have any other questions!

  11. We are building our house in Lake Tahoe and plan to install bamboo floors in our bedrooms, kitchen and the great room, using the same type of flooring throughout the house (about 1,400 sf). There will be plywood subflooring beneath all the floors. The house is located at an elevation of 6,400′, and it is a fairly dry climate (except for the 20-25′ of snow we get every winter!) We are going to install wood-look ceramic tile in the entry foyer/mud room.

    We have two major questions:

    1) What are the Pros and Cons of the different types of flooring, i.e. Snap-Lock or T & G? And what are the advantages/disadvanages between the thin and thick types of flooring? Wide boards vs. narrow boards? Should the flooring be glued, or nailed, or can it just float over the subfloor? Should we put padding or insulation beneath the floors for sound barriers?

    2) The Cons mention that it is hard to cut. How would this affect the installation, as there will (obviously) have to be a lot of cutting to fit the flooring properly?

    Thanks for your help!

    • BuildDirect Product Expert Team
      BuildDirect Product Expert Team - Reply

      Hi Thomas,

      Thank you for getting in touch! A lot of the questions you have listed are based on the specific floor you’re looking at as well as personal preference. I would highly suggest giving us a call at 1-877-631-2845 and oen of our bamboo floor experts will be able to go over all of the questions you have and make a few suggestions as to what would work the best. We look forward to hearing from you!

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