With an emphasis on using “green” and sustainable materials today, bamboo flooring has become quite a popular flooring material. There are a multitude of choices available; but, before you buy your next floor, there are just a few things you should really know about bamboo for your home.
Is Bamboo Really a Wood?
Considered a green flooring choice because of its ability to grow and be harvested quickly, bamboo is actually a type of grass – it is not a wood. There are many species of bamboo and most have a tremendous “wood like” quality. The materials can be sanded and stained and can even resemble wood flooring – but, technically, they are not wood.
Is Bamboo Durable?
This is a very hard question to answer. Early bamboo flooring was somewhat problematic for new owners in that some were soft and did not wear as well as anticipated. Homeowners complained about the floors getting marked up and scratched easily. Some homeowners even had problems with delamination – depending on the process used by the manufacturer for construction of the flooring.
Today, however, there are many manufacturers of bamboo flooring and it is offered in literally hundreds of different types – with the newer floors addressing the earlier concerns.
Some manufacturers offer species that claim to be harder than others. But, even with the same species, if the material is harvested too early, less mature plants can produce a softer surface.
One alternative is to purchase petrified bamboo flooring – which many producers argue has hardest of all bamboo properties.
Is Bamboo Safe?
Due to the nature and shape of the bamboo plant, it cannot be cut into wide planks like solid wood flooring. Therefore, it has to be engineered to create a flooring surface. Strips of bamboo are bound together with chemical agents and adhesives to create the flooring planks. Because of this, many people are leery of the potential fumes or gases that may be present in these floors.
If this is of concern, you should also consider that even most wood based products are engineered these days and can potentially contain the same ingredients.
So, is bamboo flooring the great green choice it’s touted to be? Maybe – but, before you rush out to buy that “green” bamboo floor as your contribution to saving the planet, you should really weigh the facts. Consider construction, species, grade and durability to decide if bamboo is really right for you.