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What Are The Benefits of Bamboo Flooring?

People often mistake bamboo flooring for hardwood flooring. They look and feel similar to one another. You can find both in ¾ inch solid planks as well as engineered flooring. But Bamboo isn’t wood at all. It is a type of grass.

There is a lot to love about bamboo.

Bamboo benefits are found everywhere. You can find bamboo forests in equatorial regions for the US, Central and South Americas, Africa, Asia, and Australia. Bamboo Forests even grow in France and New Jersey.

There are 1,462 known species of bamboo, including some of the fastest-growing plants in the world. Some can grow up to 36 inches in 24 hours. Because of this rapid growth rate, bamboo can be an environmental powerhouse. It is astonishing for air quality; it is used for food, textiles, paper, and is even a fantastic wood substitute!

The Jury is Still Out on Bamboo and the Environment

There is a lot to be said for bamboo and its sustainability. When you harvest a tree, it is dead. When you harvest bamboo, it will continue to grow afterward and can be harvested over and over. Bamboo isn’t as environmentally friendly as it at first appears.

Because of the environment in which bamboo is grown, it takes much energy to process it. Products like bamboo flooring also require resins and glues that are not environmentally friendly.

How can grass be a wood substitute?

Bamboo is incredibly hard in its natural state. On the Janka Hardness Scale, it has a hardness rating of 1,300-1,400. This places it between red oak (1,220) and hard maple (1,450). To learn more about the Janka Hardness Scale, read this article on The Janka Test and Your Hardwood Floors.

Bamboo is light—lighter than maple in color. Think of bamboo utensils you may find in the housewares department of your local market. Bamboo flooring can be placed under extreme heat and pressure to carbonized it. This darkens the color and weakens the material a bit, lowering the hardness to 1,000-1,100. This is still harder than cherrywood or black walnut.

One Drawback to Bamboo

Hardwood flooring has a wide variety of options with different colors, textures, and hardness. Bamboo has a limited variety of visual characteristics. There are three main styles of bamboo flooring:

  •         Vertical Grain – This is created using narrow strips of bamboo, which are glued together on edge. This results in a striped appearance.
  •         Flat Grain – This is made with thin, flat layers of bamboo glued together, similar to plywood.
  •         Stranded – Stranded bamboo has a variegated look, like shredded material. It is made of bamboo fibers bound with resin.

Moisture and Bamboo

Even though Bamboo grows in very wet climates, unsealed bamboo can still be damaged by water. It is essential to have it well sealed and if moisture gets on the floor, immediately dry it. Like hardwoods, bamboo is not ideal for basements.  It is also susceptible to bleaching from sun exposure.

Bamboo flooring can be sanded and refinished just like its hardwood counterpart. How often this can be done will depend on the thickness of the planks.

The Big Picture

Bamboo flooring has advantages and disadvantages, just like any other type of flooring. The best way to decide if it is the right choice for your home is to look at its individual qualities and see if they match your lifestyle. The number one consideration will be if you like the appearance of bamboo. In most other respects, it is on par with hardwood flooring.

It’s Up to You

No matter what kind of hard flooring you choose, you will want to have an experienced installer. Dave’s Floor Sanding and Installation has been serving the Twin Cities for over 40 years. If you would like to update your floors by having them refinished—or getting new wood flooring, contact us today! We would love to give you a free in-home estimate.