Which Should You Choose – Hardwood Flooring Or Bamboo Flooring?

by Mark Hutchison

Recently, bamboo flooring has risen significantly in popularity. That’s because people are hearing that this type of flooring lasts longer and is more environmentally than many kinds of hardwood flooring. It’s a good choice for a number of different situations, and has many advantages.

However, bamboo flooring, while durable and attractive, isn’t the right choice for home. Many traditional homes have hardwood flooring in them, and this traditional material works well with older homes, especially antique houses. It takes longer to install hardwood floors than bamboo, but for some people, this traditional floor type’s look and feel is worth the inconvenience.

Bamboo is one of the more attractive types of floor, but it won’t look the same as wood. This type of flooring varies in color, making it more uniform.

This is considered a benefit by some, and for others, it’s a reason not to use bamboo. If you’re not sure, remember that bamboo flooring does eliminate the dust and much of the mess associated with installing a hardwood floor. It’s significantly more convenient, since the pieces arrive ready to install.

If you love a traditional look, or are restoring a vintage home or building to its original state, you may be turned off by bamboo. However, the market is beginning to develop bamboo flooring that looks a lot more like traditional wood. So, in the future, you may have more options than simply using difficult to sustain wood floors.

Traditional hardwoods include blackbutt, jarrah, karri, iron bark and others. These durable woods can develop problems over the years. Moisture and temperature changes have been known to cause damage, warping and splintering.

Many people also feel that hardwood flooring is too expensive and environmentally unfriendly for use in the majority of homes. Bamboo grows up to thirty centimeters a day, while hardwoods can take years or even decades to reach a size where they can be harvested. A bamboo grove that’s sustainably managed can be harvested few years by comparison. Add into that the decrease in proper management of hardwood forests, and you have a serious concern.

Bamboo is a faster growing material that requires no fertilizer to produce and can be farmed relatively sustainably. However, it’s still a good idea to know where your bamboo flooring is coming from. There are farming operations that plant monocultures and use chemical methods to increase yield. This makes bamboo less sustainable.

These irresponsible practices are most common in countries with regulation, such as China. A little research will tell you whether you’re getting quality, environmentally bamboo or not. A large percentage of the products on the market are made with “good” bamboo – an important concern for those who want to decrease their impact on the world around them.

Bamboo is more durable as a flooring material than hardwood. It stands up well to daily wear and tear, however if durability is still a concern, consider a flooring type that comes with a warranty. Be willing to spend a few more dollars on a product that will hold up, rather than buying a cheaper one.

In climates where contraction and expansion are problems, bamboo performs favorably. It can also be resurfaced more often than hardwood veneer type floorings, and requires no waxing or other treatment to maintain its natural beauty. Remember to look for products that contain only non-toxic glues for a fully sustainable product.

Anyone who’s curious how bamboo flooring holds up when compared to hardwood should take a look online. It’s easy to see the whole range of available products and find out more about this great type of floor. It could be right for your home.

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