Although we install most types of flooring, we sometimes steer homeowners away from bamboo flooring. It may have a great reputation as an environmentally friendly and affordable type of wood flooring, but it’s really not wood or all that environmentally friendly. If you are thinking about bamboo rather than engineered, hardwood, tile, or luxury vinyl tile (LVT) flooring, here are some things you should know before you make your final decision.
Bamboo Flooring Can Contain Toxins
First, unlike hardwood flooring, bamboo isn’t strips of bamboo. It’s actually a highly processed material. Before the bamboo becomes flooring, it’s sliced into strips and boiled in either lime or boric acid. Most manufacturers use formaldehyde in the manufacturing process as well. Formaldehyde can negatively impact your indoor air quality as it gives off harmful volatile organic compounds or VOCs. If you are set on bamboo floors you’ll want to spend more money on a quality product made in the U.S. and make sure it has been independently tested for safety.
There are Still Environmental Concerns
Yes, bamboo grows quickly; some species can grow as much as five feet a year. This leads many to believe it’s a renewable resource. However, the manufacturing process requires a lot of water and creates a great deal of waste, some of which is harmful to the environment. Most bamboo (and bamboo flooring) comes from China and is shipped in containers. When it arrives in the U.S., it is either moved to the suppliers or to the manufacturers. When you study the total impact, you will see bamboo has a big carbon footprint. Conversely, most of our hardwood flooring comes from trees harvested in the U.S. The flooring manufacturers harvest and replant trees responsibly.
Not Water Friendly
Another common misconception with bamboo floors is that it’s more water friendly than hardwood or engineered wood floors. In fact, with constant exposure to water, not only will your bamboo floors warp just like other wood-based flooring, it will also grow bacteria and mold between the planks. Even humidity can negatively impact bamboo flooring.
If you’re looking at new floors and considering all your options, Seer Flooring can help. We install hardwood, engineered wood, tile, and LVT flooring. During our free in-home consultation, we’ll take into account your home’s style, your budget, and your family to help you choose the best flooring material for your home. Call (727) 469-7963 or fill out our contact form to schedule your appointment.