Bamboo flooring is becoming an increasingly popular choice for many homeowners. Although there are a few benefits, we regularly steer people away from this type of hardwood flooring for a few reasons.
The bamboo industry often touts the low environmental impact that bamboo has because unlike hardwood trees, it grows back in seven years. Another reason people look at it is that there are many different price points including some low cost options. Lastly people love the look of bamboo. Because bamboo flooring options come in three different classifications, most people can find a color they love.
The Negatives Outweigh the Positives
As a professional flooring company in Tampa we’ve seen that bamboo just doesn’t hold up in our humid, and often wet, homes. We’ve received calls from homeowners with bamboo floors asking for us to come in and give an estimate for repairs after less than a year of use. The homes along the beaches are especially prone to damage from both sand and moisture. The sand scratches the flooring and the moisture causes it to warp and swell.
What many prospective buyers fail to understand is that there are actually three different products marketed as bamboo flooring; natural, carbonized, and stranded woven. Natural is just that. It’s untreated, light colored and relatively durable. You’ll also find it’s the least expensive. Carbonized bamboo is natural bamboo that has been treated by boiling it. This makes color darker but in the process, weakens the floors by up to 30%. Regular walking (especially heels), pets, and moving furniture will all scratch it. The stranded woven bamboo is highly processed where strips of bamboo are mixed with a resin and heat and pressure treated to form “wood”. It’s hard and can come in a variety of shades but also often has formaldehyde in it which can be toxic.
If you’re considering bamboo because you want to choose and eco-friendly product, do some research on what is going on in China to supply Americans with the bamboo. You might think twice before choosing this option solely because you think you’re doing good to the environment. Here is one source.
If you’re set on bamboo floors in your home, make sure to use a quality manufacturer. The only supplier we recommend is Cali Bamboo. This is due to the fact that they follow the California regulations that do not allow formaldehyde in the flooring. Don’t trust brands labeled, “Cali style bamboo”, only the real product that meets the quality and safety level we recommend. If you have additional questions, give us a call at 727-785-1930 and we’ll be happy to answer them.