Various species of hardwood trees have long served as faithful construction materials for homes in the United States going all the way back to the early colonial days, and today, American homeowners have even more options open to them for their flooring options. Red oak and others are still out there, and can be a great deal, but another hot new commodity for flooring has emerged: engineered bamboo wood. Technically, bamboo is a fast-growing, tough grass, but engineered bamboo is converted into floorboards that are very similar in function to regular hardwood, but there are some particular advantages to using engineered bamboo flooring instead of hardwood species. Bamboo flooring vs hardwood is often a matter of each material’s pros and cons, and there are some for homeowners and construction crews alike to consider before doing flooring work. Installing bamboo flooring can be a great investment, and refinishing it can be easier than expected. Bamboo strength may surprise some homeowners, along with this material’s affordable price.
Flooring and Bamboo
As a whole, bamboo or not, the flooring industry is enormous, and a lot of homeowners and public building owners care deeply about their floors, even though the floor is something so mundane that most building occupants take it for granted. As of 2017, the total flooring sales reached $21.99 billion, and in that same year, flooring sales all together added up to a massive 19.736 billion square feet, meaning that a lot of homes and public buildings had new flooring put down. Over 70% of respondents to a survey, who included distributors, contractors, and retailers of flooring, said that they expect sales growth for this industry to reach at least 3% in the year 2018, and one third of those respondents expected sales growth of 8% or more. With all of this flooring work going on, a fair share may be going toward materials with engineered bamboo to take advantage of its perks. What are the benefits of bamboo flooring?
The Power of Bamboo
To start with, bamboo is highly renewable, and using it eases strain on forests since logging will be reduced. A hardwood tree may take 20 years to grow into maturity and be cut down, but bamboo needs only three to five years or so to reach maturity, and it grows fast. According to DIY Network, bamboo is created differently than regular hardwood. In this case, the plant is shredded and sliced, then pressed together with the aid of heat, glue, and other adhesives to form planks useful for construction and home renovation. Sometimes, bamboo may be carbonized to give it a darker color, and this softens the bamboo itself slightly. Bamboo can compete in price with traditional floors, too; it will usually cost $5 to $8 per square foot, and an additional $3 to $5 per foot if professional installation is being done by contractor crews. Bamboo flooring manufacturers are typically foreign, so overseas shipping costs factor into bamboo’s price.
Any buyer can get bamboo flooring from industry-inspected and approved manufacturers, and there are some advantages of engineered bamboo to enjoy. For one thing, it can easily be as tough as hardwood, and it cleans very easily with mops or soap. Bamboo also lend a room a clean, contemporary look for those who want such an aesthetic, and due to how it is built and installed, bamboo flooring can be relatively easy to handle as a DIY project. Conversely, there are a few limitations to this building material that homeowners or owners of a public should bear in mind. Unlike regular woods, engineered bamboo is available only in a limited range of colors, even including carbonized bamboo, so those who are picky about their decor may not like this, especially since bamboo may clash with some existing interior decor themes or color schemes. Bamboo is also susceptible to scratching or other damage due to dust, dirt, sand, or animal claws, so refinishing it will be needed from time to time (fortunately, bamboo can be easily refinished and made to look new). Finally, owners should be aware that bamboo will absorb water and may warp an expand, or it may even contract and crack in very dry environments.