Bamboo flooring has made quite a splash recently as an attractive, affordable, easy to maintain, versatile, and environmentally-friendly flooring option. But like all flooring, it has both positive and negative attributes, and it is more appropriate for some flooring projects than others.
Read on to learn everything you need to know in order to decide whether bamboo flooring is right for you. We will weigh the pros and cons, compare with other flooring options, talk about price and installation, and review some of the best bamboo flooring brands on the market.
We will tell you everything you need to know in order to decide whether bamboo flooring is right for your project and the best way to go about selecting and installing bamboo flooring.
- Alternatives & Comparisons
- Quality Guidelines
- Pricing Guide
- How To Install Bamboo Wood Flooring
- Brands & Reviews
- FAQs About Bamboo Flooring
- Final Thoughts
Let’s start with a detailed list of the pros and cons.
- 1. Easy Maintenance
- 2. Eco-Friendly
- 3. Durability
- 4. Refinishing
- 5. Stylish
- 6. Less Expensive
- 7. Radiant Heating
- 8. Termite Resistant
- 9. Allergy-Friendly
1. Bamboo Flooring Is Easy To Maintain.
Bamboo floors are a snap to clean. For light bamboo cleaning, all you’ll need is a soft-bristled broom and a dustpan. If you prefer to vacuum, be sure to use the hard floor setting (or buy a hardwood floor-specific vacuum), or you’ll risk scratching and scarring the floors.
For weekly cleaning, use a hardwood floor cleaner and warm water. Wring the mop thoroughly and watch out for signs of over-saturation. Excessive water can cause the bamboo to warp and buckle.
If you spill something on the floor, use a sponge to soak up the liquid immediately. Follow up with a damp rag and a dry cloth. If you need to rid your bamboo of scuff marks, a mixture of wood cleaner and warm water should do the trick.
2. Bamboo Is A Renewable Resource.
Unlike some species of hardwood, bamboo is a renewable resource. After planting, this thick grass takes 3 to 10 years to mature into usable flooring material. Every year the bamboo plant grows new shoots. These shoots can grow up to a foot per day.
Additionally, farmers can re-harvest bamboo every three years without damaging the plant or disturbing the surrounding grove. It is also the preferred choice for anyone concerned with deforestation, as it is the fastest growing plant on earth.
But, harvesting bamboo is tricky. The rainy season brings the threat of cracking, while the dry season encourages fungi growth. To harvest the most durable bamboo poles, farmers must wait until the timing is perfect, usually the beginning of the dry season.
That’s why it’s important to check your labels to ensure the flooring you purchase has been properly inspected and responsibly collected.
3. Certain Types Of Bamboo Are Durable.
Strand woven is the densest type of bamboo flooring. A heating process using resin and adhesives bond the grass into tightly woven strands that are 3 times stronger than any other form of bamboo.
If you’re looking for a durable bamboo floor, choose a light natural tone. Manufacturers darken bamboo through a process called carbonization. While these caramel-colored floors are beautiful to look at, they are 30% weaker than their uncarbonized counterparts.
4. You Can Refinish Bamboo.
If your flooring only shows minor surface scratches, you can use a refinishing pen or crayon. These inexpensive blending tools use wax to fill in gouges and cover minor imperfections. But, the effects aren’t permanent – every few months you’ll need to re-apply the wax.
If your bamboo floor has excessive signs of wear, you can sand and refinish it. However, the process is tedious, and you must be careful not to dig into the top layer while sanding. It may be worth the investment to hire a professional floor refinisher.
5. Bamboo Flooring Is Stylish.
Do you love the sleek contemporary look and clean lines of modern design? If so, bamboo flooring is perfect for your home.
The natural pattern striations and unique characteristics of each board will automatically add depth and interest to your space.
6. Bamboo Is Less Expensive Than Most Hardwoods.
Bamboo can be an affordable alternative to hardwood floors. As with any material, the price depends on the brand and thickness.
It’s common to find bamboo planks for less than $3 per square foot, but at that price point, don’t expect high quality. If you’re looking for maximum value, aim to spend $5-6 per square foot. This is not exactly cheap flooring, but it is slightly less than the cost of solid oak or maple flooring.
You can also buy engineered bamboo for approximately $2-4 per square foot. If you choose this multi-layer flooring, look for a top layer that’s a ¼ of an inch thick or more.
7. You Can Install Radiant Heating Under Bamboo.
Radiant heating systems work well with bamboo flooring. However, there are a few conditions.
You must adequately acclimate your bamboo before installation and monitor the floor temperature closely. Remember to store your bamboo indoors for at least 5 days to ensure proper acclimation.
Additionally, If you plan on installing radiant heating under the bamboo, be sure to check with the manufacturer for guidelines. Not all manufacturers design their flooring with in-floor heating compatibility.
8. Bamboo Flooring Is Termite Resistant.
The chemicals used to treat bamboo flooring makes digestion impossible for termites. If they try to chew on your flooring, they’ll starve to death.
And since termite damage accounts for approximately $5 billion in property damage each year, you can relax knowing that these little pests won’t wreak havoc on your bank account.
9. Allergy Sufferers Love Bamboo.
If you’re like millions of unfortunate souls who suffer from seasonal allergies, you can put away the tissues after installing bamboo floors. Bamboo is inhospitable to dust mites, repels dust and pollen, and resists mold and mildew.
When shopping for bamboo, make sure the manufacturer’s packaging states the flooring is formaldehyde-free and contains low VOCs. Otherwise, your bamboo may release chemicals that can cause allergic reactions and respiratory illnesses.
1. Bamboo Floors Are Prone To Scratches.
While it’s true that bamboo can be up to 3x harder than oak, scratches happen. In fact, it’s quite common to read reviews from disappointed homeowners who felt misled by advertising tactics.
If you have an active household, opt for strand-woven bamboo. It’s the thickest.
Additionally, be sure to look for manufacturers that point out the durability of their flooring lines & offer at least a 25-year warranty.
2. Bamboo Is Susceptible To Water Damage.
Unlike the grass found in your front-yard, bamboo does not thrive when watered. In fact, too much water can leave unsightly spots and even cause your flooring to warp. Over time, water-damaged flooring will grow bacteria and mold between the planks.
That’s why bamboo is better left for dry areas of your home. It’s not a desirable choice for kitchens or bathrooms. Even if your flooring has a protective coating, it’s best to use caution when cleaning and try to wipe up spills as quickly as possible.
3. Bamboo Hates Humidity.
When installing bamboo in your home, it’s important to consider humidity levels. Like most organic materials, moisture can wreak havoc on bamboo. If the air is too dry, the boards may crack; if there’s too much moisture, the boards will swell.
The suggested humidity level for rooms with bamboo is the same for most hardwood floors: 30-50%. If you’re investing in a bamboo floor, be sure to install a humidity monitor and make adjustments for seasonal temperature shifts.
4. Some Bamboo Flooring Contains Toxins.
Low-quality bamboo floors can contain urea-formaldehyde. Additionally, check the label on any adhesive or glue you use to install your flooring. Urea-formaldehyde can cause health problems such as respiratory difficulties.
To minimize the chances of buying hazardous products, make sure the bamboo you purchase has been tested by an independent third-party laboratory, preferably located in the United States. The highest quality bamboo flooring is labeled both VOC- and formaldehyde-free.
5. Bamboo Flooring Is Contemporary.
Because bamboo lacks the natural knots and graining found in hardwood, it appears cold and trendy. Some homeowners may feel this material is devoid of character and charm. Bamboo can look out of place in rustic or traditional designs.
If you’re still deciding between bamboo flooring or another material, here’s a list of side-by-side comparisons to help.
Alternatives & Comparisons
Bamboo Vs. Hardwood
Bamboo is up to 3x harder than oak flooring – 4,000-5,000 on the Janka scale. Strand-woven bamboo varieties are even stronger than many exotic Brazilian hardwoods. The caveat? Darkened bamboo is 30% softer than its natural coloring due to the carbonization process.
Many flooring manufacturers treat bamboo with several coats of sealer to enhance scratch and water resistance. Bamboo also has distinct graining characteristics depending on the variety. Some consumers may feel bamboo has a trendy and artificial appearance.
Bamboo flooring averages between $3-10 per square foot, depending on quality and location.
Hardwood flooring has numerous species to choose from, each with a different level of hardness. Pinewood is the softest and has a rating of 600-900 on the Janka Scale, while Brazillian Walnut scores a whopping 3,650. Depending on your usage requirements, hardwood flooring can be an excellent investment in your home.
Hardwood flooring offers an unbeatable variety of grades, tones, and graining patterns. You can find this flooring in hundreds of colors, textures, and sizes. Additionally, many manufacturers sell prestained hardwood with several layers of protective coatings.
The average price of hardwood flooring swings wildly between $3-15 per square foot.
Both hardwood and bamboo are natural resources, but bamboo grows up to 15x faster than the trees used to make conventional hardwood flooring. Additionally, bamboo can be re-harvested every 3 years without causing damage to the plant or surrounding grove.
Bamboo Vs. Carpet
Bamboo is much cleaner than carpeting. It doesn’t hold allergens or trap dust and dirt. If you spill something in bamboo, it’s unlikely to stain if wiped up quickly. Bamboo can last 20 years or more, and when it starts to look worn, you can sand and refinish it (at a cost, of course).
However, carpet is softer to sit and stand on. It feels comfortable underfoot and holds the room temperature on chilly mornings. The downside? Even with regular steam-cleaning, most carpets will need to be replaced every 5-10 years.
Bamboo Vs. Tile
Tile is suitable for every area of your home. It comes in many shapes, colors, and varieties, including natural stone and wood-look. Tile is easy to maintain, especially for pet owners looking for pet-friendly flooring, and it can last for many years without looking tired or worn.
While moisture is a concern with tile flooring, a regularly applied coat of sealer will keep moisture and staining at bay.
The average price of tile is between $2-15 per square foot depending on composition.
Like tile, bamboo flooring is durable and can withstand an active household. Pricing hovers within the same range as ceramic tile. Bamboo is a bit softer to stand on and can be more comfortable for playful toddlers and four-legged friends.
Bamboo Vs. Vinyl
Vinyl plank flooring can be very affordable at $3-$8 per square foot. It’s tough enough to handle the demands of everyday life (if you buy the right thickness) and soft enough to feel warm and comfortable under-foot. Additionally, you can install vinyl in basements and other damp areas.
The downside to vinyl is that it cannot be refinished if scratched or gouged. And if you’re tired of the color or pattern, you’ll have to live with it or replace the entire floor.
Bamboo can be refinished multiple times. It’s as affordable as vinyl and requires the same amount of maintenance. Bamboo is much harder than vinyl, and it’s better at resisting scratches and dents.
Additionally, bamboo flooring will have a significantly higher impact on resale value compared to vinyl plank (or linoleum, for that matter).
Bamboo Vs. Cork
Cork floors are as environmentally-friendly as bamboo but have a slightly better air-quality rating due to the manufacturing process. Fewer chemicals are used to construct cork floors.
Both materials are renewable resources, but cork comes from the bark of a cork tree while bamboo is technically a grass. Both products are susceptible to humidity and dampness, but bamboo stands up to liquid a bit better. Maintenance wise, the two materials are both user-friendly, and cork is easy to clean – but must be resealed annually.
Cork insulates sound and retains heat better than bamboo. It’s soft underfoot and almost feels bouncy. Bamboo is much harder to stand on, but will not gouge as cork can.
Both products are priced within the $3-10 range, but many consumers find cork’s unique look off-putting.
Other Notable Alternatives: Concrete
Still in the market for bamboo? Ok then – let’s move on.
Shopping for Bamboo flooring can be a bit daunting. The differences in quality, selling points, and pricing will make your head spin. That’s why you need to do your homework and watch-out for — too good to be true — deals.
Here’s a list of what to look for when searching for high-quality bamboo flooring.
Bamboo Quality Guidelines
Flooring hardness is evaluated by a chart called the Janka Hardness Scale. Until recently, bamboo wasn’t listed on the Janka scale. Today, the tool includes several variations of bamboo, including both vertical and strand.
Strand woven is the densest form of bamboo flooring. It has a hardness rating of between 4,000-5,000 on the Janka Scale, which means it’s twice as hard as Brazilian Cherry and Tigerwood.
Strand Bamboo is constructed of ultra-thin shredded fibers combined with resin and compressed into planks. This type of bamboo also has a tensile strength higher than many construction grade timbers.
If you install strand bamboo, you will not have to worry about heavy furniture or accidental drops denting your floors. But hardness isn’t the only factor – make sure your flooring also features an aluminum oxide coating to prevent scratches and scuffs. Most quality bamboo comes prefinished with 7 to 10 coats of preventative sealer.
Vertical & Horizontal
Vertical and horizontal bamboo flooring resembles traditional hardwood species. The difference between the two refers to the way the planks are constructed.
Horizontal bamboo closely resembles the plant. It features prominent knots and a distinct grain pattern. Alternatively, vertical bamboo has a less obvious grain pattern and a textured appearance. Both are equally durable and have a strength rating similar to oak flooring.
Keep in mind: natural color or un-carbonized bamboo is more durable than carbonized bamboo. The carbonization process used to darken bamboo weakens the flooring up to 30%. If your heart’s set on dark flooring, pair un-carbonized bamboo with a mahogany or walnut stain.
The next determiner of quality bamboo is the moisture level. It’s essential to ask your flooring representative for a written guarantee that the bamboo you’re purchasing has a moisture level of between 6 to 9%. That level is the industry standard, and there’s a good reason for it.
The moisture levels in the bamboo will directly impact the longevity and performance of your floor. If the bamboo flooring was assembled under poor-quality conditions, it will not hold up over time. Milling factors such as improper drying, dull equipment, and inadequate packaging can cause cracking, warping, and delamination.
Harvesting practice also plays a crucial role in determining quality. Look for bamboo that is at least 6 years old and harvested from a lower section of the trunk.
Our next factor is warranty length. You’ll want at least a 25-year structural warranty and 10-year protection against surface wear. It’s also important to note whether labor and removal are included in the coverage.
Remember a warranty is only as good as the manufacturer behind it. Make sure you buy flooring from a well-respected and established brand.
The final way to evaluate the quality of bamboo flooring is by the air-quality rating and health & safety certifications. Although many manufacturers claim their bamboo is environmentally-friendly, few put it in writing.
You’ll want actual proof that the flooring you choose will not impact your family’s health. The reason being: some manufacturers use adhesives and finishes containing hazardous chemicals and solvents in the production of their flooring. These products can release toxic fumes into the air and cause devastating side effects.
A good way to tell is by asking to see the FloorScore paperwork and FSC certification. These certificates are issued by both the independent labs and government entities responsible for developing and maintaining safe building and environmental practices.
The best manufacturers use water-based, solvent-free finishes that contain little to no volatile organic compounds. These brands may cost a bit more, but hey – we’re talking about your family’s health. The added peace of mind is well worth the extra cost.
Now that we’ve hammered out the quality guidelines, let’s discuss price. While flooring retailers and advertisers love to remind us that bamboo is cost-effective, that’s not always the case.
Bamboo isn’t the cheapest option out there, but when compared to the cost of solid hardwood, it’s an affordable choice. Use this next section as a tool to help prepare your budget and prevent sticker shock.
Bamboo Pricing Guide
Bamboo flooring ranges from $3-10 per square foot, not including installation. Pricing depends on several factors, including the manufacturer, rating, and style.
Horizontal and vertical bamboo costs strand approximately $3-5 per square foot, while strand varieties run a bit higher in the $4-10 range. If you’re trying to keep costs down, consider buying engineered bamboo (just as you’d consider engineered hardwood). You can find quality engineered planks for less than $4 per square foot.
Another factor to consider? Installation costs. If you are going the DIY route, be sure to assemble all the materials before you start your project. And, if you’re opting for a professional install, expect to pay approximately $30-45 per hour for a licensed and insured flooring company.
Remember: installation prices vary by location, job complexity, and room dimensions. Don’t forget to get a couple of estimates before settling on a contractor.
Which install option is right for you? Let’s take a look at your choices.
How To Install Bamboo Wood Flooring
This method is best left to a professional as it requires years of knowledge and practice to master. Nail-down installation entails using a pneumatic nail gun to secure the bamboo to a plywood subfloor.
The boards must be measured and laid out correctly to ensure a tight fit, even rows, and an aesthetically pleasing design.
In addition to nailing your floor, professionals must prep your subfloor correctly to prevent lifting and shifting over time. They may also advise the use of a moisture barrier to keep liquid and dampness from becoming trapped beneath the planks and causing irreparable damage.
If you’ve done a few DIY projects before, and you’re confident enough to take on the installation of your bamboo flooring, gluing your bamboo is a viable option.
This process requires you to adhere the planks to your subfloor using beads of ultra-strong glue. You must be careful to line the seams up correctly before applying the adhesive. It dries fast.
As a rule, lay out the entire floor and adjust coloring and patterns before applying a single drop of glue. Another preparation guideline? Make sure your subfloor is even and free of rot or moisture damage.
The floating method is by far the easiest way to install your bamboo flooring. If you’ve purchased click-lock planks, you’re in for a treat. These boards are made to lock together at the seams without the use of nails or glue.
Simply lay out the pattern and fit the planks together, working in rows. Just remember to leave room for expansion and pre-plan your layout to allow for minimal cutting and waste.
Within a few hours, you should be done with the install, smiling, and admiring your brand-new bamboo floor.
Ok, time to delve into the review section. The following manufacturers have solid reputations in the flooring world. This list represents the most popular brands among both consumers and professionals.
Bamboo Brand Reviews
- 1. Cali Bamboo
- 2. Trinity Bamboo
- 3. Smith & Fong Plyboo
- 4. Ambient BP
- 5. Teragren
- 6. Ecofusion
- 7. Tesoro Woods
Cali Bamboo is one of the leading bamboo companies in the marketplace. Founded in 2004 as a fencing company, Cali has grown considerably and has recently expanded its offerings to include flooring, decking, and underlayments.
This strand-woven bamboo flooring is available in both engineered and solid varieties in over 33 colors. Additionally, you can choose between easy to install click-lock planks or traditional tongue and groove styles.
Cali Bamboo floors come pre-sealed with a 10-layer scratch-resistant coating and carry a 50-year residential warranty. You can obtain free samples online or by calling Cali’s toll-free number and speaking with a representative.
Trinity has been in the bamboo flooring business since 2016 and represents an affordable bamboo flooring option. The company imports its Moso bamboo flooring from the People’s Republic of China. Trinity Bamboo is committed to selling responsibly sourced, quality flooring for affordable prices.
Each of their lines sells for between $3.89 to $3.99 per square foot delivered (including freight) to all lower 48 states; however additional charges for Alaska, Hawaii & Puerto Rico are applicable). Washington state residents will need to budget a bit extra for sales tax. Anywhere else in the country it is tax-free.
All Trinity products are FloorScore Certified and Clean Air Verified by independent third-party laboratories. The company sells solid and engineered bamboo directly from their website and offers free samples with free shipping.
Smith & Fong Plyboo
Headquartered in San Francisco, California, Smith & Fong began selling its Plyboo line in 1996. These flooring products are manufactured in China and sold worldwide through independent distributors and on the company’s website.
Plyboo bamboo is offered in 4 lines and over 25 colors and tones. The Stiletto line is the company’s flagship collection and is 100% FSC certified. Stiletto is available in 6-foot lengths and installs as a floating floor with a click-lock system.
Ambient BP has an excellent reputation both with homeowners and professional designers; their website has a lot of great bamboo floor design ideas. The company’s eco-friendly flooring has been featured on television and in various architectural magazines. All Ambient products come backed with a lifetime structural and finish warranty.
At an average of $3.99 per square foot, Ambient bamboo is another affordable Bamboo flooring option. To keep pricing down, Ambient sells directly to consumers and doesn’t charge sales tax on purchases outside of Maryland. Ambient bamboo is available in 36 colors and is sold in both click-lock and tongue & groove styles.
Teragren bamboo flooring comes in both solid and engineered varieties. The company carries 12 lines of both floating and traditional planks in various widths & lengths, and more than 25 shades and patterns.
All Teragren floors are responsibly sourced and independently tested for health and safety compliance. The company offers a 25-year structural warranty and a 10-year guarantee on all commercial finishes.
You can purchase Teragren bamboo for an average of $5-8 per square foot at flooring retailers across North America.
Ecofusion is one of the world’s leading manufacturers of bamboo flooring. You can find Ecofusion products in prestigious hotels and universities throughout the United States.
The company sells several lines of strand-woven bamboo in engineered and solid varieties. Solid bamboo lines are a ½ inch thick and come in 4-5” widths. You can purchase Ecofusion bamboo online or through your local flooring dealer.
Tesoro Woods features easy-to-install, affordable strand-woven bamboo in 7 colors and patterns. However, what sets Tesoro apart is its patented Super-Strand collection. These boards are designed and tested for maximum stability.
In fact, the company advertises an expansion rate of only 10%, even in extreme temperatures, making Super Strand Bamboo a popular choice for both homeowners in arid and damp locations. It’s the perfect compromise between logic and design.
Tesoro Woods bamboo flooring is manufactured in China and carries FSC and FloorScore certifications.
Other Brand Mentions: Morning Star Bamboo, Eco Forest Bamboo
FAQs About Bamboo Flooring
If you invest in high-quality, un-carbonized bamboo flooring, you are getting wood floors that can be twice as durable as the hardest varieties of solid hardwood floors. But all wood floors have the potential to scratch. If you drag something sharp enough or heavy enough across it, it will scratch.
But one of the benefits of bamboo flooring is that it can be refinished or resurfaced. A refinishing wax pen can be used to buff away light scratched. Like hardwood floors, bamboo can also be resurfaced a number of times to deal with deeper scratches and gouges.
Are Bamboo Floors Good?
Yes, bamboo floors are good if you are looking for something affordable, durable, and easy to install and maintain. They also provide a sleek, contemporary look, and they are environmentally friendly.
However, bamboo floors do not cope well with water, which can cause spotting, warping, and bacteria growth. Bamboo flooring should not be used in areas of the home such as bathrooms or basements.
Is Bamboo Flooring Better Than Hardwood?
Bamboo flooring has a few significant benefits over hardwood. Namely, it is more durable, tends to be more affordable, is easier to install and maintain, and is significantly more environmentally friendly. Bamboo grows 15x faster than most varieties of wood used for flooring.
However, hardwood flooring is considered superior by the housing market, which means that it adds more value to your home. There is also significantly more selection in terms of tones and textures when it comes to hardwood, and it tends to have a more natural and rustic feel than bamboo.
Finally, while bamboo floors can be resurfaced once or twice, hardwood floors can be resurfaced several times. This makes the difference between a lifespan of 25 to 50 years and over 100 for bamboo and hardwood respectively.
Is Bamboo Flooring Better Than Laminate?
Bamboo flooring and laminate flooring are comparable in terms of their durability and ease of maintenance, and good quality laminate flooring is comparable to bamboo in terms of cost. But where bamboo has the edge that it is a natural flooring, and so has that aesthetic appeal, laminate often looks artificial. Also, laminate tends to have a lifespan of 10 to 25 years, whereas quality bamboo flooring could last 25 to 50 years.
What Are The Problems With Bamboo Flooring?
The main issues with bamboo flooring are:
– While quality bamboo is hard and durable, it will scratch
– It is easily damaged by both water and humidity, so it cannot be installed in damp areas and spills should be cleaned immediately
– Bamboo lacks the graining of hardwood flooring, so it often looks contemporary rather than classic, and thus, adds less value to your home than hardwood floors of a similar cost.
Can You Mop Bamboo Floors?
As bamboo floors do not hold up well with water, never clean floors with a wet mop or steam mop. However, it is acceptable to use a lightly damp mop with an appropriate cleaning solution. Always check the details of your warranty to ensure that whatever cleaning method you are using will not void your warranty.
How Long Do Bamboo Floors Last?
Good-quality bamboo flooring can last between 25 and 50 years, and can be resurfaced a number of times to refresh them and remove deep scratches. But, as is the case with most floorings, cheap bamboo floors will have a much shorter lifespan. Always look for bamboo flooring that comes with a 25-year residential warranty.
What Thickness Of Bamboo Flooring Is Best?
Bamboo flooring is typically between ½ and ⅝ of an inch thick. It is best to choose a thicker board, as it means that it can be refinished, which extends the life of the flooring. Strand-woven bamboo is the thickest and most durable type of bamboo flooring available.
Does Bamboo Flooring Increase Your Home Value?
While bamboo flooring will not add as much to the value of your home as hardwood floors or tile, it certainly adds significantly more value to your home than most other types of flooring, such as vinyl plank or laminate.
What is bamboo flooring?
Bamboo is a popular flooring option that can be used in several rooms in your home, including living rooms, bedrooms, hallways, kitchens, dining rooms, offices, and more. This flooring type is derived from the bamboo plant and comes in many styles, shades, and finishes.
There are three types of bamboo flooring: horizontal, vertical, and strand woven. The strand woven bamboo is the most durable one, even more durable than other wood flooring types. Vertical bamboo is made of strips that are glued vertically, while horizontal bamboo is made of strips that are glued horizontally.
How do you install bamboo flooring?
As we mentioned above, there are three methods to install bamboo floors: nail down, glue down, and floating/click-lock. The first one is meant for professionals who know exactly what they’re doing, and glue down is a good alternative for people who have basic experience in flooring installation, while the third method is excellent for beginners because it’s the simplest one.
Before you decide to install your bamboo flooring, you have to ensure that the subfloor is clean, leveled, and completely dry. Next, you have to learn all the steps and installation rules of the bamboo you bought.
Is bamboo flooring waterproof?
Bamboo floors are not 100% waterproof. This is a natural material that is generally waterproof, but only up to around 30 hours. This applies only when the bamboo flooring is high-quality and well-made.
Bamboo is also not 100% water-resistant. It’s more resistant to water than hardwood floors, but it’s not protected from water damage. So leaving a puddle of water on your gorgeous bamboo floors for a long time is not a great idea and can easily cause damage.
How do you clean bamboo floors?
Bamboo flooring is straightforward to clean. As a part of the regular maintenance, you should clean them with a soft-bristled broom several times a week. Some people want to vacuum their bamboo floors, and in that case, it’s recommended that you only use a vacuum cleaner meant for hardwood floors.
For regular maintenance, you should also use a damp cloth with a cleaning solution for hardwood floors. Once you’re done cleaning, you have to make sure that the floors are dry because water can cause damage.
Can bamboo floors be refinished?
Yes, bamboo is wood, and like almost all other types of wood flooring, it can be refinished. Bamboo floors are durable, but unfortunately, they aren’t entirely resistant to scratches and damages. In time, you can expect to see these floors look a little dull compared to when you first installed them.
That’s when you should consider sanding them to take off the old finish and take care of the dents and scratches. Once the sanding is done, you can refinish the floors, and they will look as good as new. You can either do the procedure yourself or hire a professional.
How durable is bamboo flooring?
This flooring type is durable; however, not all bamboo floors are created equally. You have to know the type of floor you’re buying to be prepared for the maintenance and be familiar with how long it will last. All high-quality options are highly durable, especially un-carbonized flooring types.
Most manufacturers point out a time frame of the durability of their products, so you should opt for a brand that promises your bamboo floors will last for more than 20 years. Although most people are under the impression that hardwood is the most durable, that’s not always the case.
How much does bamboo flooring cost?
The cost of this flooring type averages between $3 and $10 per square foot. This depends on the style you choose, quality, type of bamboo, installation, and materials. Strand varieties are the most expensive and cost between $4 and $10; horizontal and vertical strands cost between $3 and $5 per square foot.
The installation cost is something that is not included in this average price range. Professionals will charge you between $30 and $45 per hour to install your bamboo flooring in most cases. Again, the cost depends on where you’re located and which person or team you contact.
Now that we have covered the basics, let’s recap what we’ve learned.
Bamboo flooring is an excellent flooring option that is becoming increasingly popular and available. It has an attractive hardwood look but at a slightly more affordable price. It is easy to both install and maintain, and it is versatile – for example, many bamboo flooring options can be used in combination with underfloor heating.
Bamboo has a lifespan of 25 years or more, and can be refinished. It is possible to buff away small scratches, and better-quality bamboo floors can be resurfaced a number of times.
Bamboo flooring is also one of the most environmentally-friendly flooring options on the market. Drawn from a natural source, it grows and renews 15x faster than most of the other wood used for flooring.
But bamboo is certainly not a perfect floor. It scratches, just like hardwood, and has a shorter lifespan and adds less value to your home than traditional hardwood floors. It also does not deal well with water or humidity, so it should not be installed in bathrooms or basements.
Also, while there are cheap bamboo floors out there, they are often less durable than they seem and can come with VOCs, which can result in serious medical issues.
But the right bamboo flooring can offer an attractive and affordable flooring solution that you can enjoy for years to come.
If you’ve installed bamboo flooring, be sure to help others by posting your comments below.
45 thoughts on “Bamboo Flooring: Reviews, Best Brands & Pros vs Cons”
Has anyone had experience with the Cali Engineered Bamboo? I understand the solid bamboo is quite susceptible to warping and shrinking, but what about the Engineered?
Also, is there one installation method that seems to reduce the amount of issues?
Anyone one familiar with Audubon Eco?
Thank you for all this valuable information! I do wish, however, that some of the questions asked were answered.
I am curious if anyone has tried the Reward Bamboo floor? I live in Northern California by San Francisco (East Bay) with little humidity even though we are close to the bay.. just wondering if anyone has any feedback. Thanks!
What is everyone using then?
I was going to install bamboo in almost my entire home and I am so glad I read the reviews but again I am back to square 1. Any suggestions?
I have Cali bamboo throughout the house except for bathrooms. It can be resurfaced up to 10 times and has a 50 year guarantee. I absolutely love it. It’s so beautiful that I resisted putting down area rugs.
We have 7 animals. 3 cats and 4 older dogs. We put Cali Bamboo on the second level of our three story home. We could not be more impressed. The flooring has been in for two years and shows no wear. Let me elaborate. The dogs are at an age where they at times use the floor as a bathroom. This is very destructive to the top floor of our house (carpet, stainmaster, pet) Our carpet despite buying the “best” for pets looks terrible. who is kidding who, pets and carpet = 5 years at best. Our basement level walkout was done with a laminate and has radiant heat under it. It has not held up and gaps with expansion and contraction. The edges are a problem as they are not water resistant. I will never put laminate in my house again. I cant believe Shaw does not do more to make their product more water resistant at the edges. That brings me to the Cali Bamboo floor. The dogs pee on it and it wipes up. When we don’t see the puddle it dries and it wipes up. When we take a vacation and the dog sitter does not do her job…. the mess wipes off. It is crazy how the bamboo holds up. The edges of our click lock floor don’t show any signs of “water/pee” damage after two plus years of abuse. I’m sure no flooring manufacturer would stand behind their product if what our animals dish out were inflicted upon their product, and yet Our Bamboo is showroom perfect. we have no stains, scratches or changes of any kind. It’s almost a bad business model to make a product this well. I do not work in any flooring business but do own many rental properties and will put strand Bamboo everywhere from now on. It is the best thing I’ve installed anywhere and rivals tile for durability, while maintaining the “warmth” of wood.
Amazing. This is the review I was looking for. I have a rescue Chihuahua that was abandoned, and had been attacked by a larger dog. That trauma either caused some brain damage, or she was just born incredibly dumb. She is one of the stupidest animals alive, completely untrainable (I am a K9 behaviorist, so I don’t say that lightly). She literally just pees as she walks when she feels the need. Don’t get me wrong I love the idiot, but she destroyed the laminate in our old house. I have a couple of other dogs that are completely trained, but are getting to the age that training may fail from time to time. I have been considering vinyl, but I just don’t like it. Bamboo has been under high consideration, but I only ever hear people talk about scratches. THANK YOU!
I am trying to decide between AquaGuard Bamboo or AquaGuard Laminate from Floor and Decor, but can’t find any reviews of this specific bamboo? We are on a concrete slab and have kids and pets, so I need something that will hold up!
I am trying to make the same decision: AquaGuard bamboo or laminate. Have you decided or can you point me to any other info you may have found in your research. Thanks!
Hi Greg and Jennifer, did either of you decide and mind sharing your thoughts? I am trying to make this very decision. Thanks!
Installed 1800 sq ft of Aquaguard Beachwalk late May. The most beautiful floor I’d seen. Went on 2 month vacation, came home and found some cupping on various places all over the house. Installers came back and pulled up quarter round, dound uneven expansion, cut larger expansion gap, but they have no idea what has caused the problem. It is on concrete slab, no moisture problems, I’m just afraid I’ve spent $10,000 on floors that will continue to get worse. If I had it all to do again I would go the vinyl route, although as a real estate investor, I know buyers don’t like vinyl as much as wood.
We are also planning on installing bamboo floors in our kitchen, dining and hallway.
It’s under 300 sq get on a raised foundation. I will be laying down new plywood sheets first and I’m thinking of both flying and nailing it down. We are in Southern California. Temperature is usually 70 or higher. Any suggestions or comments?
Hi Gus! What did you end up doing? We too are in Southern Cali and after reading some of their reviews we are apprehensive to move forward. Would like to hear your experience.
I had professional installation of my Teragren bamboo floor. It is in my entire house!
It is terrible. The installation was done by
company name removed, Cincinnati, Ohio. One of their people came out to look at it, said it wasn’t bad. I have a few big gouges in very obvious places, so as soon as you enter my home you can see them. I clean it properly, almost every other day.
We are only two people living here, I would have expected more from this product. Maybe, Teragren service could take the time to come and look at this HUGE disappointment.
I also purchased Cali bamboo floor, 1200 sq ft, it was one of the worst decisions I have ever made. The floor was cross stacked and acclimated for 3 weeks. When installed it looked beautiful but about 3 weeks later I noticed cupping and gaps in various locations.
I live in Illinois, I have been trying to get this resolved for over a year and a half, Cali is blaming the installers and me, the home owner. I bought the meter to monitor temp and humidity and have done everything they told me to do. I live alone and have 2 small dogs, so not a lot of wear and tear on the floor.
Over the last year the gaps are getting worse. Some are 1″ wide, it has pulled away from under the quarter round by the wall, boards are shrinking. I am told too much humidity because of the cupping and not enough as the boards are shrinking, no one can explain how this is happening. How can you have both conditions happening at the same time?
The meter is never above or below the recommended levels by Cali. The quick fix Cali is recommending is “T” strips in every area, minimum of 6, 4 in an area less than 15′, where the gaps are occurring and no guarantees that it won’t happen again. Cali’s warranty is not worth the paper it is written, on and the customer service is not any help whatsoever.
Thanks for all your reviews-I was about to spend $10,000 on bamboo floors with the product you said not to use ! I am so glad to read your reviews because something was telling me NOT to do it and the cost also! You all have saved me but now I am at the dilema that I still don’t know what to put down!
Are the problems everyone had on click or nail down floors? I had a great experience with nail down – and all the above problems with click and huge parts of an entire floor pulling one way or another.
Is anyone familiar with Morning Star Bamboo Strand? I’m considering doing my first floor with it.
Do not, I repeat, Do NOT buy Morning Star. Unless you are doing small square rooms without any transitions. I have had horrible results with mass shrinkage after 2 months of acclimation. In fairness I have 1600 sq ft in an open floor plan, but even with transitions, lumber liquidators will not stand behind their product. I am looking to throw it all away and get a higher grade product. I put Morningstar at the bottom of the list of quality.
Was your floor a click or nail down? I had a client with another brand – the click type and one with nail down. Nail down fine, click separated and the floor shrunk leaving gaps
What is the best bang for the buck? Longevity? I would only go woven strand nail down, though.
What about health?
I installed Morning Star from LL three years ago – it did not shrink and looks quite good so far. You are right though, rooms were almost square, about ~100sqf each.
When I installed it I did not read this site and did not think that there might be a health impact. So my concern now is this Morning Star Strand Bamboo flooring bad for my family or it is ok and I can finish one more room?
Thank you so much.
We’ve had Morning Star carbonized bamboo nailed to the sub floors on the first and second floors of our home about five years ago and have had no issues. It looks as good as the day it was installed.
We just published Charlie’s review of Morning Star Bamboo here. Hope it helps!
Don’t! I had mine professionally installed in April. It is now cupping and the whole floor is lifting up. It was properly prepped and installed.
I’m joining the class action lawsuit.
I have Morning Star Bamboo. Cupping or peaking happened three weeks after installation. Five weeks after installation the cupping turned into large areas of bubbled floor – no longer glued down. I am still working with ‘Lumber Liquidators’ to resolve the problem, they are dragging their feet and my next step may be a lawsuit.
We installed Teragren Craftsman II in our bathroom (I know, big no-no) and hallway in 2009. We live in northern New England, where there are extreme variations in temperature and humidity. This floor has been absolutely wonderful — easy to clean, and beautiful. A few scratches developed over time, where my husband spun on his foot always in the same spot. There’s one dent where I dropped something with a sharp corner — in other words, normal wear and tear. I can’t recommend this product more highly. When we sold the house in April 2017, the new owners were psyched to have the bamboo flooring. And no, I wasn’t paid/reimbursed in any way for this review.
Karen – Did you ever experience any water stains or de-laminating with the bathroom application? -Fran
We have installed Eco Forest brand sold by Floor and Decor in the majority of our house. We have already replaced a bedroom, hall and family room and the floors were laid less than two years ago. Does anyone know how to contact the manufacturer? I have looked over every box and all the paperwork and cannot find anything except a phone number, which I never seem to get a live person at.
Seeking full reimbursement from them!! I have spent over $4,000 on this flooring and it has been professionally installed by an expert flooring man. There is absolutely NO reason it should be warping and loose from the glue on the concrete.
Thank you for posting this! We just left Floor and Decor and were planning to buy this! After your experience we will pass. I’m so sorry you’re dealing with this! Hope you can get some help from them!
Except in the warranty you aren’t supposed to lay on concrete without laying a subfloor. Read through your warranty before making comments like this.
Thank you for making that point before I had to! What a goof up they made.
You really shouldn’t glue wood (of any type) floors onto concrete. They need an underlayment to minimize moisture & warpage!
I installed this product (floating floor) in my home mid 2015. It still looks great. Well, except for the places where we’ve dropped sharp objects & dented the floor but, that’s “operator error” not a defect of the wood.
We installed Teregren Snergy Strand Bamboo flooring Chestnut in color, approximately 4 years ago. I was so excited when my husband and I installed it. This floor is the worst mistake I’ve ever done as a home owner. I have tried cleaning it with everything recommended, by way of mop and also on my hands and knees. It’s beautiful when damp but as soon as it dries and the first person takes a step it leaves the footprints and appears to look as if it had never been cleaned. We put this flooring in every room on our main level with the exception of the bathroom. Am I the only person with this problem? This was so expensive to do even with doing it ourselves. I do so wish I had picked a different flooring and would not recommend this flooring to anyone!
No you are not the only one. We installed the vertical type and it dents easily after one month and I have the same problem cleaning it. We also had to buy 7 extra cases of material since the edges were not 90 degrees causing gaps at installation. Our installer measured each one and found many edges off by 1/8”. We returned samples to Teragren who insisted they were in spec. Terrible product and terrible customer service. I would not recommend this product or seller.
We installed a Teragren floor in the kitchen 8 years ago as part of a remodel and its doing fine. Before purchase I took a sample plank home and pounded it against a concrete floor to see what would happen. Stood up well! Its faded very slightly near the windows despite that we installed new windows which should have prevented UV light from having an affect. Cleans well with a wet mop and no noticeable wear. I dropped a really sharp knife on the floor and it took out a tiny piece, but that would happen for any floor. After seeing my floor my neighbor installed the same floor and loves it.
The Cali Bamboo planks should not be sold in climates that have wide variations in humidity. Our kitchen remodel in western Montana initially included Cali Bamboo flooring. A couple months after installation gaps appeared and we re-installed portions of the planks. A month passed and more gaps in other locations occurred.
In talking to the Cali Bamboo people they immediately went after the installation. We installed it ourselves. I have been doing diy work since childhood and have done many floors. I had a retired Remodel Contractor helping with the Cali Bamboo install. I have done many floors and have done 5 laminate flooring installs. I have taught people how to do laminate flooring installs. All the floors I have done in the past have stood the test of time.
This Cali Bamboo floor is now at the Flathead County Landfill and our new flooring is in. Cali Bamboo lasted about 6 months. Any floating flooring product that needs a half inch expansion gap is a mistake for variable four season climates. This is a costly, choice of flooring, mistake I made and I hope I can save somebody from
doing the same.
Thank you so much for posting your review. We had decided to purchase this flooring for our entire house and thanks to your review and many others we will be looking for another floor. The deciding factor was that the company went after you for a diy install when they actually encourage this on their web site. I believe your review has saved us a lot of headache and hard earned money that we can not afford to throw away.
Maybe they encourage diy installation so they can blame the”installers” rather than a faulty product.
Hi Thanks for your review. We have been considering bamboo floors. We are wondering what Cali Bamboo said you did wrong on the install. We live in a more mild climate, but being on the coast we are worried about the humidity levels. We are dancers and want a nice hardwood type floor with no VOC so I have been avoiding laminates. What did you end up installing after the Bamboo floor and is it working out well?
Thanks for any info!
Thanks for the info, Todd. What product and manufacturer did you go with the 2nd time around?
Was it engineered or solid bamboo flooring that you used? I am about to install engineered Cali bamboo over a concrete slab (insulated) in a space that is often unheated, in the Pacific Northwest. After reading your review I am thinking I should stop while I’m ahead and return the flooring. I must say the customer service from Cali so far has been marginal.
If you don’t have an AC and or dehumidifier in your house, you’ll be lucky if CONCRETE doesn’t go all to heck.
Thank you for your comments. I think you saved me quite a bit because I was considering Cali Bamboo Flooring. I should have known because the sales clerk at Floor and More said you have to be careful with bamboo because it is really sensitive to changes in humidity. I am in Ohio and there can be enough changes in humidity to affect this type of product. Also, we were planning to install in rooms with large continuous runs which I come to learn can also be problematic.