Cali Bamboo Flooring Review

Cali Bamboo Flooring Review

Bamboo flooring isn’t the “new” option on the market any more. Ceramic planks and new engineered vinyl get to take that title now. But, bamboo is still an option for someone looking for an alternative to the traditional hardwoods. And if you’re considering bamboo, then Cali Bamboo flooring deserves a long look.

All bamboo flooring is engineered. The bamboo is shredded and the resulting strands are pressed and glued together to form the flooring planks.

What does that mean for the buyer? Likely, it means nothing. If you go with a high-quality manufacturer, your bamboo flooring should behave the same as any other hardwood flooring.

That said, it’s suggested that with bamboo flooring, the warranty is key. The warranty may be Cali Bamboo flooring’s biggest selling point.

This flooring comes with a 50-year warranty. So, even if this floor was poorly constructed (It doesn’t appear to be, but we’ll get to that later), a warranty like that could make you test your luck.

Sustainability

While it can be argued whether or not bamboo flooring is a sustainable product, what can’t be argued is that bamboo grows fast. That means that the base material for bamboo flooring is easier to replenish. Saving trees and lumber was a driving factor for Cali Bamboo to create its flooring.

By focusing on bamboo (and eucalyptus), Cali Bamboo flooring estimates that they have saved more than 1 million trees and more than 21,000 acres of wildlife habitat. So, if green initiatives and environmental concerns are part of your decision criteria, then that’s something to think about here.

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A Variety of Install Methods

Cali Bamboo is interesting when it comes to installation: there are four different methods you can use. Most DIYers will likely opt for the familiar click-and-lock method that many of us have probably done multiple times.

But there are other options–floating tongue and groove, nail-down, and glue-down. Each comes with its own benefits, and only experienced crews should attempt some of them.

Still, isn’t it nice to have options?

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A Variety of Finishes

Flooring can make a room and can help define a style. Those floors that are smooth as glass can give a room a very modern look. Floors that aren’t quite as perfect, floors that have a little bit of character to them (even if it’s character added when the planks were manufactured) can create a warm, lived-in look.

Cali Bamboo floors come with both, so, no matter what your style, there should be a floor here that works no matter what your style is.

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A Variety of Colors

What’s the joke? Those aren’t pink, they are “blush” and “bashful.” You’ve probably lived that experience if you’re doing a complete remodel of a room and looking at paint colors.

With dozens of different greens, the product departments at these paint manufacturers have to get a little creative when it comes to the names, so creative that you don’t really have an idea of what you’re getting without seeing it.

That’s not the case here. For one, Cali Bamboo comes in a wide variety of colors, from very light to very dark. And with names like bourbon, coffee, and eclipse, you get a good idea of what the floor will look like without seeing it.

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A Variety of Widths

Cali Bamboo is all about the options, apparently. The floors actually come in multiple widths. There is a standard plank that is 3 ¾ inches wide. This is good for smaller-room and hallway installations.

The wide plank is just a hair over 5 inches wide. That makes it good for larger installations, like living rooms, or, covering multiple living areas without transitions.

Cali Bamboo planks are also nearly a half-inch thick, which means you are going to have a great feel underfoot when walking on these floors.

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Comparable Pricing to Other Flooring Options

Bamboo flooring costs similar to other flooring options, anywhere between $2.50 per square foot to close to $4 per square foot.

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Durable, So it’s Great for Pets

Cali Bamboo flooring undergoes what it calls a Fossilized manufacturing process that gives it, the company claims, twice the density of any other hardwood floors on the market. That makes the flooring some of the most durable on the market.

This is something that many pet owners have noted in online reviews. The floor’s durability was a key factor in their decision-making process and they haven’t been disappointed. The flooring has been used by families with multiple big dogs in their homes and by others who foster both dogs and cats, and it still gets five-star ratings.

This flooring also has a 10-coat scratch-resistant surface that can provide some protection against pet nails.

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Easy to Maintain

Like other bamboo floors, Cali Bamboo flooring cleans up easy, with just a hardwood mop & a little soap and water. That makes it great for homes with pets and kids.

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The Big Red Flag: Bamboo is Temperamental.

What is the most important thing to keep in mind when buying real estate? Location, location, location. Well, same is true if you are thinking about installing bamboo flooring in that new home.

Bamboo is a grass, and it naturally absorbs water. Just because it’s now in floor planks doesn’t change that.

So, if you live in an area with a climate that sees a lot of rain or has high humidity, bamboo flooring may not be the best choice. Several reviews online mention flooring that started to fail after a few months, and in almost every case it wasn’t the install that was bad, it was the climate. If you see pretty wide moisture fluctuations where you’d be installing this floor then bamboo may be a risky choice.

Cali Bamboo recommends keeping relative humidity between 40 and 60 percent. If humidity exceeds that then maybe bamboo flooring isn’t the smartest choice. If your heart is still set on bamboo flooring, make sure you acclimate the flooring materials to the climate.

That means pulling planks out of the packaging and letting them sit out exposed for at least five days. This can help you avoid shrinking and gaps later.

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Conclusion

Cali Bamboo seems to have done everything it can to overcome some of the traditional knocks on bamboo flooring. They have created a 10-coat scratch resistant surface that answers concerns about durability.

The one thing that Cali Bamboo can’t combat is the natural tendencies of the source material. It’s going to be tough to get bamboo to work well in an area that’s humid or sees a lot of rain. There’s little that the Cali Bamboo can do about that.

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Jarrett Rush

About Jarrett Rush

Jarrett Rush lives near Dallas, Texas with his wife, their three kids, their chocolate labrador, and an always growing to-do list of home improvement projects.

15 thoughts on “Cali Bamboo Flooring Review”

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    Anyone in southern California care to comment on their Cali Bamboo experience? Particularly concerned if anyone has had shrinkage or swelling issues with long runs in floating installation. Humidity fluctuates a lot in coastal areas.

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    I went through Lowes to have Cali bamboo floor installed in my house. It was fairly expensive but the Cognac color looks nice. But there were some issues.

    First, the installation with a contractor working for Lowes was bad. They nailed the stair noses instead of gluing them. As a result, most of the noses developed cracks soon afterwards. After the Contractor contacted Cali, it was decided to use a different type of stair nose, and use a special glue instead of nailing them. As a result, the cracks were never an issue again.

    However, my wife and I used a steam mop to clean the floors. With the steam mop on, I rested the mop on a plank for just a few minutes and water damage resulted. I went to Lowes to get the plank replaced because floor was under warranty. Lowes called Cali and the company indicated the entire floor was no longer under warranty because a steam mop was use to clean the floors. Lowes informed me to access the Cali website since it states bamboo floors should not be cleaned with a wet mop.

    Now I discovered the top stair nose has cracks because this nose does not lay evenly with the plank. All of the other noses are evenly leveled with the planks on the stairs, and have no cracks.

    But because of the wet mop issue, I do not believe Lowes will cover this. Even though the cracks on the top stair nose have nothing to do with the mop. If I knew not to use a wet mop, I would have never use one. Lowes or the installer never informed my wife or myself not to use a wet mop.

    As result, be very careful using Cali bamboo floor material. Although bamboo is hard, it can still become easily damaged even if you are using the floor properly as in the case of the top stair nose. In the future, I would not use Cali bamboo flooring for any future projects. Although bamboo might be cheaper than hardwood, hardwood floors will generally last longer.

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    Robert haverlock

    Hello all, so reading numerous comments here and the BBB’s website complaints on their site, I get the feeling that Cali is a sales only and not so much customer centric company?

    I’ve called Cali to get answers on FSC (Sustainably and Responsibly forested), I couldn’t get a straight answer. They thought so, but weren’t sure, however saying yes anyway?

    So, beware? And, remember, a lot of complaints (they said) were that the warranties didn’t apply to most of those complaints, and became he said, she said scenarios!

    I want to add, it seemed that most of these complaints seemed to be in high-humidity regions…? So my complaint is (I’m in NW) this needs feedback from all areas of the USA, not just Florida or hurricane areas such as Texas!

    Is it really an installation problem, location, or bad flooring? I would ask questions? To buy, or not to buy, I’m concerned!

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      Hi Robert,

      I am happy to shed light on our manufacturing process. All of our wood is sustainably and safely harvested following the Lacey Act guidelines. Here is a link with more information about it:

      https://www.nwfa.org/lacey-act.aspx

      In regards to Cali Bamboo’s warranty, we cover anything that is a product defect from manufacturing. However, the most common issue with any hardwood is cupping or buckling due to moisture issues. If you do some research online you will see the same feedback regardless of manufacturer. It is very important that the installation requirements are followed in regards to controlling the moisture in the home.

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    I’ve had my flooring for 5 years. I love the look of my Vintage Pearl fossilized floor. BEWARE: Cali Bamboo will discontinue producing lines of their flooring. I had damage in two rooms of my home from hurricane Florence. When I called Cali about my situation, I was told that they stopped manufacturing my floor 4 years ago. They were not helpful at all and suggest I tear up ALL my floors and replace them. If I do, I will not be using the Cali Bamboo flooring!

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      Hi D. Johnson,

      It is true that we do stop producing certain products. This is common in the industry. However, typically insurance will cover the cost, so I would definitely speak to them about it.

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    We were enamored with the descriptions of Cali Bamboo Flooring, the different selections, the widths and the hardness of the product. We installed it paying close attention to your recommendations for acclimation to the environment and literally let the product sit in our house in a latticed stacked position for 3 – 4 months. We installed following directions precisely, leaving minimal 1/2″ space all around at walls, doors, etc. We have had nothing but ongoing bulging, areas raised as much as 1 – 1 1/2 inches. We had to remove baseboard throughout the entire install area, pry the edge boards out as they had expanded under the drywall, re-cut the edge boards 1/2″ back from the wall, put baseboard back and 2 months later have encountered the same problems. Our opinion of this product is — I would never ever use bamboo flooring again unless it was glued or nailed down. But we can’t do that as we have a radiant floor heat system. We were assured this was an acceptable product to use. The local salesman who sold it to us (and the Cali customer service rep we spoke with) said it’s a great product and would work well in our climate. We are in the mountains of North Carolina and our humidity runs 40 – 65%. My recommendation is there are other and better products to be had for less money!

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      My house burned down in December and now have a chance to remodel (albeit not my way to have the opportunity to remodel!). I will be replacing wood flooring. I have removed a wall between the dining room and kitchen and now will have seamless flooring in my 1300 one story home. I also have two dogs – one big, one medium.

      Never had wood in kitchen – I am intrigued with Cali bamboo geo. Live in Wisconsin – good, bad or indifferent? And if you had an opportunity to do over again, what would you choose? Thank you!!

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        We live in DE. Replaced our entire first floor with Cali 5 inch click planks. Please note that if you want long running sections you run the risk of shrinkage to the point of the planks coming apart. I am working with them now for the second time on shrinkage. If it happens yearly I’m no longer a happy customer.

        Humidity is an issue, it needs to be fairly constant. They are now making me seek a Flooring inspector to evaluate the install of my floors before providing additional warranty materials. We had ours professionally installed. He is very frustrated with the product.

        I love the look and feel but hate the 1/2 inch spacing where it is separating mid floor for us. One year after install. Read Read Read and be sure it’s the best for your situation. If I knew then – I would have installed the Brazilian Cherry that I wanted to begin with and felt bad about the environmental impact.

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      Hi Jay,

      I see you have been working with Kevin on your support request but want to hold off until summertime to move forward. We are happy to work with you when you are ready.

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    They actually do do that Daniel. You just need to read the installation instructions, which you can find free to download on their website. What Jarrett mentioned is exactly what Cali Bamboo says in their pre-install information – and I’d place a hard wager that’s the source of his info.

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    Daniel Zukowski

    Jarrett, regarding your post on Cali Bamboo flooring, regarding the “natural tendencies” of Bamboo there is actually a lot CaliBamboo can do. One thing that comes to mind is to inform the buyer prior to purchasing of the detriments of installation in such areas, another is if they can’t do that how about not selling in markets with the type of weather that causes problems?

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