Timber Flooring vs Bamboo Flooring

by Mark Hutchison

Timber flooring, in the form of solid timber or newer veneers (also called floating timber), has long been the primary choice of people who the warm look of wood on their floors, or who want to avoid carpet. For many years, there weren’t any other options.

However, that has changed in recent years. Bamboo flooring is an environmentally friendly, strong, lasting alternative to using timber flooring. Here’s some information about bamboo and how it performs against floating and solid timber.

Floating timber floors are one of the most popular types of floor. Made up of a thin layer of wood laminated over a less expensive material, they’re cheaper than solid hardwood. Bamboo floors, by comparison, can be made of solid bamboo. That’ll give you more durability over time, but cost less than solid timber. Bamboo is also much harder to damage than most woods.

Unlike floating timber floors, bamboo is attached to the surface it sits on. This means that bamboo floor will be a lot more stable than a floating timber floor. There’s no room for the joints between pieces to open up or move around.

Unlike many timber floors, both solid and floating, bamboo doesn’t make that hollow sound when you walk on it. Bamboo flooring is also more resistant to scratching and easier to clean than many hardwood floor types.

Since there’s little to no movement between pieces of bamboo flooring, you can easily refinish floor. Bamboo provides a better surface than solid timber, and veneered timber can’t be resurfaced at all!

A veneered wood floor that’s damaged must be replaced, while a comparable bamboo one could be resurfaced. That means you could get up to another decade out of floor.

If you’re concerned about sustainability and the environment, bamboo is the better choice. While both timber and bamboo are renewable natural resources, it takes a long time for timber to renew. Veneered timber requires less hardwood to produce, but it still uses softwoods, composite woods, and even toxic and environmentally damaging glues.

You’ll find these kinds of practices mostly in China and other countries where regulation is minimally enforced. Fortunately, it takes only a little research to tell you if you’re getting some of the large percentage of products made from sustainably produced bamboo.

You may find that bamboo looks a lot different than ordinary timber. While the appearance of this grass is appealing to many, it might not work out well if you really love the feel and look of hardwood. For many people, however, the lack of environmental damage and durability of bamboo makes the appearance change worthwhile.

Where contraction and expansion are issues, you’ll find that bamboo offers a favorable performance. Unlike hardwood veneer floorings, bamboo will hold up to a number of resurfacings, and there’s no treatment or waxing required. To make sure you get a product that’s non toxic and fully sustainable, look for flooring that uses glues that won’t off gas and don’t contain toxic chemicals.

If you’ve been considering bamboo flooring, or to find out more, take a look online. are lots of stores offering bamboo flooring that’ll last for years, feel a lot like hardwood, and be kind to the world around you.

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