Pros and Cons of Bamboo Flooring
By Mark Hutchison –
There are several options that you can take when it comes to choosing the type of floor that would complement the look and feel of your home. Some popular options include cork floors, carpeted floors, and even linoleum. Hardwood flooring is another popular option that has several advantages tethered to it. They are, for instance, easier to clean than carpeted floors. On the downside, hardwood floors are a tad bit expensive and require delicate care. Bamboo flooring offers much more than traditional hardwood flooring.
Firstly, bamboo flooring is a popular eco-friendly alternative to hardwood flooring. It can also be considered as a renewable source since the growth of bamboo is extremely rapid. A freshly harvested bamboo, for instance, takes merely seven years to hit its maturity while hardwood trees can take up to 50 years to attain maturity.
Though, the longevity of bamboo floors greatly relies on the type of bamboo, bamboo floors are generally durable. Additionally, bamboo also comes with different shades of color. Natural bamboo, for example, is light in color but still packs twice the stability of red oak, one of America’s popular flooring option. There also exists carbonized bamboo which offers a darker shade but sacrifices a significant amount of durability.
Pros of Bamboo Flooring
Bamboo is a product of natural vegetation and it takes a relatively short time to grow. It can thus be termed as a renewable resource. This feature makes it suitable for use in environments where great emphasis is put on the naturalness of materials used to make the floors. Such environments include museums and tourist hotels. (source: http://www.builderonline.com/flooring/product-pros-and-cons-hardwood-flooring-vs-bamboo.aspx)
Natural products that are readily renewable are generally cheap. Since bamboo falls in this category, its price is relatively cheap when compared to hardwood flooring options. Bamboo floors typically range from five to eight dollars per square foot. Even though there exist prices below the $5 mark, it would be advisable to avoid such deals since these flooring options are often of lower quality.
Different kinds of bamboo offer different strengths. The natural bamboo, for instance, offers durability that can be compared to that of red oak. However, carbonized bamboo offers a lower durability while strand woven bamboo can be made harder than even red oak.
It Is Easily Cleaned
High quality bamboo rarely suffers from wear and it even lasts almost the same time as traditional hardwood. Additionally, it is more resistant to water damage than hardwood materials and thus there’s no need to worry about removing tough stains, especially when the surface of the floor is glossed. Bamboo floors can also be refinished, and this means that the surface can still retain its initial look after some little sandpaper work and after a finishing coat is applied.
It Is Prone To Scratches
Over time, scratches will be evident on a bamboo floor, especially if the floor is used often. There are many reasons that could lead to these scratches. Some examples include dragging heavy furniture over the bamboo floor, walking with high heels on the bamboo surface, and the presence of tiny sand particles which grind against the surface.
Doesn’t Do Well in Humid Places
High levels of moisture in the air can cause bamboo planks to plump. The result would be an uneven surface with some of the planks protruding above the surface. On the other hand, installing a bamboo floor in a less humid surface also has its drawbacks. The wooden planks will shrink and cracks will start to form on the surface.
Even though bamboo itself is eco-friendly, the process of manufacturing the wooden bamboo planks is not so green. This is because the adhesive material that is used to join the planks together releases volatile organic chemicals that result to toxicity of an interior space. There is also a growing concern that forests are being cleared to pave way for bamboo fields for commercial activity. (source: http://www.bobvila.com/articles/44307-bamboo-flooring-101/pages/1)
Some Bamboo Floors Are Non-durable
Despite the fact that bamboo has a rapid growth rate, its hardness is determined by the time it takes to mature. However, if bamboo is prematurely harvested, it won’t harden enough and would instead become soft and non-durable. Thus, any factors that affect hard bamboo floors will have a greater impact on these kinds of bamboo.
Cumulative Costs May Be High
While strong bamboo floors can still be scratched, their surfaces can always be refinished. This will additionally cost more money depending on how many times the floor has to be refinished. It is also worth noting that refinishing bamboo floors is not a good habit as this sacrifices part of its hardness as well.
All in all, it can be seen that bamboo flooring offers great advantages such as beauty, durability, and even has an easy cleaning procedure. Contrary to the fact that bamboo is natural and renewable, it is not entirely eco-friendly when you consider the several processes that it has to undergo during manufacture.
About the Author:
Mark Hutchison the founder of Bamboozle, a bamboo flooring supply and installation company based in Perth, Western Australia..
Ms. Jensen is a leading advocate for families and children and was the founder and president of ACES, The Association for Children for Enforcement of Support.
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