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Bamboo Flooring Pros and Cons

bamboo flooring

Bamboo has become an increasingly popular flooring option in new homes and in renovations. Before you’re able to decide whether or not to install it, it is important to know and understand all of the bamboo flooring pros and cons.

Bamboo Flooring Pros

There are many advantages to bamboo including 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 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.

Durable

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

bamboo flooring pros

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. This is certainly one of the greatest bamboo flooring pros in the list.

Variety

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.

Warmth

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.

Maintenance

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.

Bamboo Flooring Cons

bamboo flooring

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.

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(91) Comments

  1. Java Cali bamboo flooring is NOT good in humid environment. I installed the flooring leaving 1/2 to 3/4 inch in every direction. We got some rain here in San Antonio and with the humidity it has swelled all the way the the walls and buckled in the center of both rooms and sits a 1/16 to 1/8 inch where it meets the tile at the bathroom in the most humid area. Also the wood is hard, but the finish is delicate and scratches very easily. Wouldn’t recommend this product unless installed in a museum in the dessert where it doesn’t rain and nobody walks on it

  2. Hi, I am planning to buy 1000sqf of java bamboo for the second floor, there was carpet before and now only plywood. What kind of installation will be recommended, glued or nailed? Moisture barrier(plastic) or sound proof 3mm barrier.
    Thank you. We have never being so stressed about a renovation at home we really need the best advice. If not suitable we might change our minds to a different hardwood.

    • BuildDirect Product Expert Team
      BuildDirect Product Expert Team - Reply

      Hi Pablo,

      Thank you for getting in touch! I’d have to see the exact floor you were speaking of to recommend the best installation but if you are speaking of the Yanchi Bamboo – 12mm Click-Lock Strand Woven Collection Light Java then it is a click lock installation and will have to be floated over the plywood with a suitable underlay beneath. I highly suggest you give us a call at 1-877-631-2845 so we can confirm the floor you are interested in as well as talk through installation options. We look forward to hearing from you!

  3. I have bamboo floors and thought they would be durable enough for my 2 wheaton terriers. I am renting and I feel awful because the owners were nice enough to allow me to bring my dogs. . I had hardwood in my home of 20 years and did not have this problem. The floors are very scratched and I need to fix them. Please advise me.
    Thanks

    • BuildDirect Product Expert Team
      BuildDirect Product Expert Team - Reply

      Hi JoAnn,

      Thank you for getting in touch, I’m sorry to hear about the floors! Unfortunately there is not much you can do when bamboo floor gets scratched. You aren’t able to refinish the floor so the only option would be to use a type of color fill putty on any deep scratches. If they are superficial scratches there is no way to fix them. Sorry we couldn’t be of more help! please let us know if anything else comes up!

  4. I am replacing my bamboo floors due to water damage from a busted water heater…I have a concrete slab…I have had these floors for 15 years and love them….I have searched high and low and have not found anything that I like any better, so I have decided to go back with bamboo…the old floors were the kind with the padding attached to the bottom…the previous installer did not put down a moisture barrier…I never seemed to have moisture problem other than the leaking water heater…however it seems as if all of the websites and how to videos recommend a barrier..do you? also are there pros/cons for using regular flooring with roll out padding versus the pre-padded style??

    Thanks for your time

    • BuildDirect Product Expert Team
      BuildDirect Product Expert Team - Reply

      HI Lorrie,

      Thank you for getting in touch! We definitely suggest using a moisture barrier on top of a concrete slab. When there are changes in temperature concrete will sweat and if you don’t have a moisture barrier that could harm the flooring. Also, I usually suggest using a floor that does not have a padding but either way it doesn’t matter as long as your have the proper underlay beneath. If you use a floor with an attached underpad you will need to add an extra moisture barrier beneath to ensure the seams are also sealed off. If you use a floor without padding you can choose an underlay that already has a moisture barrier incorporated into it. Please let us know if you have any other questions!

    • BuildDirect Product Expert Team
      BuildDirect Product Expert Team - Reply

      Hi Praty,

      Thank you for your inquiry! The difference between bamboo and laminate is what they are made of. Laminate is made with a high density fiberboard core with a picture of wood on top and a protection layer over that, whereas bamboo planks are solid bamboo with a protective layer on top. Bamboo isn’t water resistant, you would need either tile or vinyl for a water resistant product. As long as you go with a floating floor installation you can install over the vinyl, you just need to make sure the floor beneath is clean, dry and level and that you have the proper material or underlay beneath. Please let us know if you have any other questions!

    • BuildDirect Product Expert Team
      BuildDirect Product Expert Team - Reply

      Hi Joanie,

      Thank you for your inquiry. I would suggest taking a look at your local hardware store for a cleaning product that specifies it can be used on a bamboo rug and that it can remove pet odors. Please let us know if you have any other questions!

  5. We live in Florida. Is it better for us to use a moisture barrier under bamboo on a concrete floor or to glue down a bamboo floor?

  6. can bamboo floors be installed over concrete slab in the pacific northwest with a floating type system and moisture barrier?
    we’re concerned with moisture coming up from the concrete slab

    thanks
    (

  7. Thank-you so much for the article. It helped a lot. I do have something to add about pets and laminate. We put down a laminate floor that cost us $8000 and it was horrible with water damage. From puppy accidents to water damage, our floor is a mess. I just don’t want the same mistake to happen to us or anyone else if I can help it.

    • Glad the article was helpful, Laurel. Thanks for reading and commenting. For areas where there is going to be a lot of excessive moisture, like a front hall or mudroom or laundry area, vinyl plank flooring is becoming more and more popular. Of course when you factor in pet traffic, there is always wood grain tile to consider.

      I hope that’s helpful, too!

  8. I really don’t get why you all won’t answer the question we all want to know. If we are going to spend thousands of dollars replacing our floors, we deserve some help in making our decisions. (Even if you just tell us what a good choice would be.)

    • Hi Laurel and all others interested in the effects of pets on floors,

      I hope this other article we’d posted helps. //learn.builddirect.com/flooring-info/animals/pets/

  9. …yes, I am also interested in the effects of pet urine and vomit on the bamboo floors.

    Also, can you post replies on your site so questions aren’t repeated?

    Thanks in advance for your help.

  10. What is up? You can answer most every question possible in your information but the one MOST ASKED about PET URINE & VOMIT !!!!!! There HAS to be an answer where there it is a positive or negative you NEED to answer the question. One way or the other just answer or even say you just do not know what happens but you will do some tests to find out what to do! You are a major company you need to be user friendly and man up! I believe you have a great a informational & basiciy user friendly web site, but there are still some basic questions people need answers to to be able to make the very best chose for their situations and this is a major one.

  11. Once and for all….answer the question that everyone’s has asked…what about the Pet urine??????
    Paalease!!!!!

  12. I am interested in replacing worn hardwood flooring with bamboo. Part of the area i want to re-do is quarry tiled. I would like to install over the tile. Is this possible/a good idea?

  13. Can bamboo flooring be installed over cement/concrete? My main floor is around 1,300 sqft and is all open concept which includes my kitchen. The original foundation is a cement slab. I currently have ceramic in the kitchen and the original pergo/laminate flooring throughout the rest. My concern is the installation on the concrete and the durability for pets, wheelchairs and young children. We also are near the water.

    • Yes, many different bamboo products can be floated or glued over a concrete surface. When you talk to the vendor of your choice, make sure to tell them about the kind of subfloor you’ve got – even though most of them will ask you before you ask them. 🙂 They will then be able to narrow down their offering to suit your situation.

  14. We have 9 cats. Several of them spray. We now have carpets that have been destroyed. We are thinking of replacing them with Bamboo. How does it hold up to cat urine?

  15. Hi, My sister is a double amputee and uses both two prosthesises and a manual wheelchair. We are remodeling her house and bamboo seems like a great option. She has been told by friends that hardwood floors are slippery. What is the best durable flooring for a wheelchair that is not slippery. (hardwood. carpet, bamboo) Thanks, Allen

  16. I live in a very dry desert climate, where temps. rise above 105 degrees in the house if the air con. malfunctions, and 125 degrees outside. I run my air @ 78 degrees when I’m at home, and 89 degrees when I’m out of town, some times as long as three months. I have 1000 sq. ft. of osb sub. flooring that I would like to use bamboo flooring on, including my kitchen to? Please e-mail me ThankYou

  17. We just had bamboo flooring installed in the dining room, living room and hallway. My husband is in a power wheelchair and each time he goes across the floor and furns around it leaves grey marks. We have tried a tennis ball, Bona cleaner, and Bostik. Is there any way to keep the grey marks from being made on the floor?

  18. Kathleen Montgomery - Reply

    How do I know what thickness to choose for bamboo flooring? I want bamboo flooring in the foyer, living room and one bedroom.

  19. Everyone is asking questions about pet stains. I have 2 dogs and 2 cats so I need to know also. If you scroll to the top of this page and click on pets at the menu on the left, you’ll find your answer about pets and all kinds of flooring, including bamboo!

  20. Loretta Boillot - Reply

    could you install bamboo in your bathroom, if you applied a thick coat of polyurethane over the top?

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