Bamboo vs Linoleum Flooring

Bamboo vs Linoleum Flooring

When it comes down to it, which is the better bare flooring option when comparing bamboo vs. linoleum? Bare flooring is growing in popularity among consumers. Homeowners are ripping out carpets and old, dated flooring to make way for new bare flooring options that offer lots of benefits.

Bamboo flooring has recently surged in popularity as an alternative to hardwoods, but how does it stack up to other flooring options? Linoleum has been installed in homes for many years and while you may think of it as a cheap, dated flooring type, the newest products to hit the market are modern and attractive. When you put the two types of flooring head-to-head, which comes out on top?

Don’t let your eyes be the only judge when it comes to purchasing your new flooring. Sure, one option may look great, but is it able to handle daily wear-and-tear? Will it withstand years of use, is it easy to install, and does it fit your budget?

We’ll take a look at six different categories to determine which type of flooring is best for your home: bamboo or linoleum. Put away your wallet for now, sit back, and learn more about these two flooring types and which is the right choice for you.

In this guide, we’ll explore:

Side-by-Side Comparison

 BambooLinoleum
DurabilityExtremely durable but is vulnerable to scratchesExtremely durable. May be prone to rips, tears, and denting.
Water-ResistantNoYes
CleaningDaily cleaning with broom, dust mop, or vacuum. Can be cleaned with a product designed for use on hardwoods. No wet mopping.Daily cleaning with broom, dust mop, or vacuum. Can be wet mopped with a mild cleaning product.
RefinishingYesNo
InstallationFloating floor, glue-down, nail-downTile or sheet adhered with adhesive
Pet-FriendlyYes but nails should be kept trimmed to prevent scratchesYes but nails should be kept trimmed to prevent tears
Price$5 to $7 per square foot$2.50 to $3.50 per square foot
Installation Costs$4 to $5 per square foot$3 to $5 per square foot
Lifespan50 years or longerUp to 40 years
WaxingNoYes
Flooring GuideBamboo Flooring GuideLinoleum Flooring Guide

Durability

Most of us don’t have an endless amount of money at our disposal, so we tend to purchase things that last. We want a car that won’t break down in just a few years, a home that’s well-built and sturdy … and flooring that we won’t have to replace soon after we install it.

No matter what type of household you have – a busy one with kids and pets or a more low-key vibe – your floors will get daily wear-and-tear. However, if you have a more active household, some flooring just won’t work for you. With a busy, active household, you want a floor that’s extremely durable and able to withstand it all.

Bamboo flooring is a hard flooring option that is similar to hardwoods, but as we all know, things can scratch, dent, or damage hardwoods. Many homes with children and pets seek alternatives like laminate flooring because of these problems. Bamboo is one such alternative, but how does it really stack up?

Natural bamboo flooring that is un-carbonized is extremely durable – some products may even be as strong or even stronger than solid hardwoods. Unfortunately, this flooring is prone to scratches from furniture legs, pet claws, or daily traffic. With everyday use, you can expect to at least see some scratches appear on your flooring over time.

The good news is that many bamboo flooring products can be refinished over time. If your floors are extremely damaged, the surface can be sanded and refinished, restoring the life of your flooring.

If you don’t want to worry about scratches on your floor, linoleum may be a better choice. This flooring type is extremely resilient to scratches, but be aware that it’s not without its flaws.

Linoleum can be torn or gouged if a sharp object is dropped or something is dragged across the floor, like when moving a piece of furniture. Linoleum can also dent under the weight of heavy objects such as furniture or appliances, although you can use coasters to prevent this problem.

Unlike bamboo flooring, you can’t refinish linoleum. For minor damage, linoleum repair kits can be purchased online or at your local home improvement store. If there is major damage to the floor, the linoleum will need to be replaced.

Although both types of flooring are prone to damage, bamboo is the more durable option. Even though it is prone to scratching, it can be refinished if needed. Purchasing a non-carbonized, high quality flooring product can also reduce the occurrence of scratches.

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Lifespan

While we’re discussing durability, let’s roll right into the lifespan of flooring. The lifespan is how long you should expect the flooring to last under normal living conditions. Of course, subjecting the flooring to heavy wear-and-tear may shorten its lifespan but with general use, this is how long you should expect your flooring to last before it needs to be replaced.

One of the major benefits of bamboo flooring is that is has a very long lifespan. Thinner, more inexpensive bamboo flooring typically lasts for 10 to 25 years. However, a thicker, high-quality flooring product can last for 50 years or more.

Linoleum has come a long way from the cheap products in the 1970s. Made with higher-quality materials and utilizing new manufacturing processes has resulted in a flooring product that can last 20 to 40 years.

Both of these flooring types can easily last for many decades when cared for and maintained throughout the years. However, bamboo flooring comes out on top because it can withstand wear-and-tear for 50 years or longer, if you purchase a quality product.

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Water Resistance

You want flooring to install in your bathroom, and you find the perfect product. After installing it, you come to the horrifying realization that you should not expose your floor to water. Now, your floor is stained, warped, or completely destroyed.

Before you purchase your new flooring, consider where you will be installing it. Take special consideration when installing flooring in a bathroom, below-grade room like a basement, or any other area where humidity or moisture is an issue. Many flooring types – like solid hardwoods – are not able to withstand these conditions, so how do bamboo and linoleum compare?

Bamboo is slightly more resistant to moisture than solid hardwood, but it is by no means waterproof. In rooms with excessive moisture, the flooring can warp or incur other damages that may require replacement flooring. Excessive moisture can also lead to the growth of mold or mildew.

An occasional spill that you clean up quickly won’t damage your bamboo floors. However, constant exposure to water and humidity can cause damage, so this flooring is best for rooms that stay dry, such as bedrooms or living rooms.

On the other hand, many linoleum floors are waterproof. Others are water-resistant and require sealing to prevent the growth of mold or mildew. You will need to properly adhere floors to avoid curling at the edges due to excess moisture.

When purchasing linoleum, make sure that you read all manufacturer specifications before installing in a moist, humid room like a bathroom. In some cases, exposure to excessive moisture could void a warranty if the floor is not meant to get wet.

When it comes to water-resistance, linoleum is the superior choice. When you select a floor that is waterproof, you can install it any room, even kitchens, bathrooms, and below-grade areas.

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Cleaning & Floor Care

Our lives are just getting busier and busier with work, school, kids, errands, and other daily tasks. Because we are so busy, most consumers don’t want a floor that takes hours to maintain every week. If you’re looking for a floor that’s easy to clean and maintain, which is best: bamboo or linoleum?

Daily care of bamboo flooring is simple. Simply use a broom or dust mop to get rid of daily dirt, dust, pet hair, and debris. You can also use a vacuum cleaner, but you must choose a vac specifically for bare floor use, otherwise you will scratch and damage your floors.

For deeper cleaning, use a dry mop or cloth with a cleaner specifically for bamboo floors. Never wet mop the floor or use abrasive or acidic cleaners. You should also never use wax on your bamboo floors.

Over time, your bamboo floors may lose their shine or things may scratch or damage them. If this occurs, you can hire a professional to sand and refinish the floors, or you can tackle the job yourself if you have the tools and know-how.

Cleaning linoleum on a daily basis is just like bamboo. You can use a dust mop, broom, or vacuum cleaner for bare floors to tackle daily messes.

If your linoleum is very dirty or sticky, you will need to do heavier cleaning. You can damp mop the floors with a mild cleanser or dish soap and water. You can also use a steam mop to clean linoleum.

People should not use wax on linoleum floors. This flooring type can’t be refinished and will need to be replaced once it is damaged.

Linoleum is one of the easiest floors to clean and maintain, so it tops bamboo flooring in this category.

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Price

You can’t talk about home improvements without addressing the elephant in the room: how much is it going to cost? Most homeowners have a budget for home improvements, so which flooring is the most cost-effective for the budget-minded consumer – bamboo or linoleum?

It’s difficult to put an exact price on flooring. Prices often vary quite significantly depending on the thickness and quality of the flooring, as well as the brand. Special sizing and designs can also increase the cost of flooring.

For that reason, we are providing an average range of prices. Again, pricing may be higher or lower based on the flooring that you select and the prices in your area.

You should expect to pay roughly $5 to $7 per square foot on average for bamboo flooring. When compared to other bare flooring types like solid hardwoods, this is a very budget-friendly price range.

Linoleum flooring is one of the most affordable types of flooring. Average prices for linoleum are around $2.50 to $3.50 per square foot, about half the cost of bamboo flooring.

When it comes to pricing, it’s no contest: linoleum flooring is the more affordable option when compared to bamboo flooring.

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Installation

When you budget for your new flooring, you take more than just the cost of the flooring itself into consideration. You also need to budget for professional installation.

Maybe you don’t plan on hiring a contractor but instead want to take on the project yourself. Which is the most-efficient flooring when it comes to installation, and which is the easiest to tackle for the DIY homeowner?

If you opt to install bamboo flooring yourself, you have several options. You can use tongue-and-groove or Uniclic flooring for a floating floor installation. This is typically the easiest route and does not require nails or adhesives.

There are also bamboo floors that you nail to the wood subfloor, as well as flooring that you nail to wood or concrete subfloors. These typically require more skill but are possible for most homeowners who take the time to do the job correctly.

When installing bamboo flooring, you will need a few tools. This includes a measuring tape and a circular or table saw. If you’re not installing a floating floor, you will need to purchase flooring adhesive or flooring nails and a nail gun.

The average cost to install bamboo flooring is about $4 to $5 per square foot. In some regions and for more complicated jobs, the price may rise as high as $9 per square foot.

There are two types of linoleum that you can purchase: linoleum tiles or sheet linoleum. Linoleum tiles are the easiest to install. With tiles, you simply add the adhesive, line up the lines, and cut as needed using a utility knife.

Sheet linoleum can be a bit more difficult. This job involves prepping the subfloor, rolling out the vinyl, trimming to fit, and applying adhesive underneath.

If you’d rather the professional take on the job, expect to pay around $3 to $5 per square foot.

Although it is a close race for installation, linoleum has the edge. It is easier to install, requires fewer tools, and is generally less expensive in terms of professional installation costs.

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Final Verdict

When it comes to flooring, you won’t go wrong with bamboo or linoleum. Both are very high-quality and durable, but each has its own set of advantages and disadvantages that you should consider when you’re making your purchasing decision.

If you want a very durable floor that will last for decades and is comparable to solid hardwoods, bamboo is an excellent choice. If you want a budget-friendly flooring that’s easy to clean and that you can install in any room, linoleum is an exceptional choice.

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Nikki Seppala

About Nikki Seppala

Nikki is an experienced writer and editor and has worked in industries that range from home improvement to entrepreneurship. For over 10 years, she's used her unique talent and love of the written word to uncover the stories that people want to read.

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