Do You Bamboo? The Pros & Cons of Bamboo Flooring

by hookedonhouses on January 22, 2008


Trend spotters predict that the “green” movement will continue through 2008 and beyond. This means we’ll be seeing even more natural, organic, and recycled materials in our homes.

I’m hearing that the enthusiasm for bamboo flooring may be waning, however, despite the fact that it is an eco-friendly source that is sustainable and renewable, producing about 25 times the yield of hardwoods. Homeowners are complaining that it is so soft that it doesn’t hold up well enough–getting warped, dented, and scratched. I’ve heard that it may even delaminate.

Experts say that the problem is with lower quality manufacturers who are harvesting bamboo before it is fully mature. Flooring made from bamboo poles less than four years old will wear out sooner. If you’re willing to take the chance on bamboo, be sure to buy from a high-quality manufacturer who offers a good warranty.

Beyond the quality issues, however, are lurking environmental ones that you may not be aware of. The lower-quality bamboo floors are produced with substandard glues that contain higher levels of formaldehyde, and inferior finishes contain higher levels of VOC’s.

Another thing to consider: most bamboo flooring comes from the Asia Pacific region–especially China and Vietnam–which means that it takes a lot of fuel to transport it here to the U.S.

On the bright side, when bamboo flooring is done right, it is more durable than many hardwoods and can last 30 to 50 years. Once removed it will biodegrade in landfills.

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Angel January 23, 2008 at 7:42 am

Thanks for mentioning my site! Good luck to you and your nice blog!

hookedonhouses January 23, 2008 at 12:24 pm

Thanks, Angel! Nice of you to stop by.

Real Estacia January 31, 2008 at 7:08 pm

Bamboo Floors are gorgeous! Some of them are very elegant.

Never heard anything bad about them, but I haven’t “kept track” of the few I’ve seen installed. lol

hookedonhouses January 31, 2008 at 7:09 pm

They are gorgeous. It’s a shame some manufacturers are “cheaping out” on them and giving them a bad name.

Carlene March 13, 2008 at 7:05 pm

Thanks so much for the info! We have been considering bamboo for a beach house remodel, being told it would hold up better than hardwood: salt/sand/wet feet, etc, but am reminded yet again to investigate in greater depth before making such a committment & purchase. I appreciate finding your info, research & comments just before placing the order. If we go with it, I’ll be sure to chime back in on how it works out. Thanks!

I enjoy your site…fun, friendly, inFormative, factual &….. fabulous!

Trisha Emish February 24, 2009 at 2:25 pm

We’ve installed bamboo in one of our model homes. Keeping in mind that it does get more foot traffic than the average home, it seems like we are cleaning that floor constantly! It gets dusty and shows more wear than the traditional hardwood or laminates we’ve installed in other homes. Probably a small price to pay to be Green but still a consideration for the neat freaks of the world!

Trisha Emish’s last blog post..My new Green Home

Kunal N March 22, 2009 at 11:48 pm

Thanks for that info Trisha, We were going to get bamboo flooring and I heard nothing but good things about it. Thanks for the info though.

You said it looks like its more worn with more traffic? That’s not a good thing since they say its often harder then maple?

MrBambooFlooring September 21, 2010 at 2:43 pm

Thanks for a fair assessment of the pros and cons of bamboo flooring. Each step of manufacturing matters, from the proper time to harvest, to using “green” processes to make the planks, to the installation. People are finding problems with the lower quality products, but can enjoy high quality flooring for years to come – and save trees in the process. The key is researching up front.
.-= MrBambooFlooring´s last blog ..Mr Bamboo =-.

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