An Introduction to Bamboo Flooring

Bamboo flooring is a fantastic alternative to hardwood flooring that actually shares many properties and benefits of a solid wood floor. The best way to decide if bamboo flooring is for you is to have a good research about the pros and cons of bamboo flooring so you fully understand what it is you’re purchasing.

To help you, we’ve rounded up the benefits and drawbacks of bamboo flooring to help you make an informed decision about this choice of flooring:

The Pros of Natural Bamboo Flooring

  • Bamboo flooring is really easy to maintain. To keep it in top condition, all you need to do is make sure that you regularly sweep or vacuum the floor. Plus, give it the occasional clean with either a damp mop, or a suitable bamboo floor cleaner that doesn’t contain wax or an alkaline solution. For best results, we recommend you don’t allow any build-ups of dust and dirt in the first instance. You should also clean any messes or accidents as soon as you notice it! Finally, take precaution by removing any outdoor footwear before walking on your bamboo flooring, all of this will keep your bamboo flooring looking as good as new for longer.
  • Bamboo is naturally water resistant. While your flooring should always be treated with a waterproof treatment, you don’t need to worry about day to day spills causing huge amounts of water damage or warping. This means bamboo flooring is a good choice for kitchen areas, as the surface can be easily and safely wiped clean of any spillages or mess. 
  • Eco friendly, bamboo is made from natural vegetation which means it’s a highly renewable source of flooring that replenishes itself much quicker than hardwood trees. When it is chopped down, the bamboo root is not damaged, meaning it can reharvest itself without the need to replant whole forests. Plus, a bamboo tree reaches maturity in as little as 5 years, unlike hardwood trees which can take more than 20 years! 
  • Another benefit to natural bamboo is that natural materials is a huge interior decor trend at the moment. As a sustainability conscious choice that adds real character to a home, people are becoming much more interested in bamboo as a flooring option. This means you can fill your space with the latest styles and trends in home decor, whilst also helping the environment with your eco-friendly choice! 
  • Bamboo flooring is a durable option of flooring, known for being extremely strong. This means it can be used in nearly any space of your home, from high traffic areas such as hallways to low traffic areas such as the bedroom. However, we can’t recommend laying bamboo flooring in the bathroom, as it is not a totally waterproof material. 
  • It’s no more costly than hardwood flooring, meaning price shouldn’t need to factor into your decision between the two materials.
  • If you’re looking for variety in your flooring, bamboo can be available in a huge selection of varieties and styles that rivals that of hardwood flooring. So, no matter what home decor style you love, you’re sure to find bamboo flooring that blends flawlessly with your interior design.
  • Easily refinished, if your bamboo floors become discoloured, scratched or dented over time, they’re easily refinished. You’ll simply need to sand down the surface and re-apply the finishing coats to restore your bamboo flooring to a good as new condition.

The Cons of Natural Bamboo Flooring

  • While bamboo flooring is extremely durable, you are likely to get scratches over time. However, as mentioned above, bamboo flooring is easily refinished, so you can get rid of any scratches you may have accumulated over time! 
  • Excessive moisture will still cause water damage to your bamboo flooring. This means that flooding or damp will cause the bamboo to warp and lose shape. To avoid this, any spillages should be wiped away immediately and bamboo flooring should be avoided for use in the bathroom, as previously advised. 
  • Cracks can occur if the flooring is installed in a particularly humid or dry environment. Humidity will cause the planks to swell, dryness will cause them to shrink. The result, in either case, is that the bamboo will crack. When installing bamboo flooring, a professional will leave an ‘expansion gap’. This allows the bamboo space to expand without causing damage to the flooring or losing its shape. You can find a range of accessories to cover these unsightly gaps such as t-mouldings, scotia beading and even skirting boards
  • No grading system means that you’ll need to look around for a flooring supplier you trust to make sure you’re getting the top-quality material you deserve.
  • Darker bamboo will probably be quite soft due to the carbonization process that colours the wood weakening it structurally at the same time. If you’re set on a dark flooring, maybe consider if bamboo flooring is the best choice for you and compare oak wood flooring or planked vinyl for more darker styles. 
  • Bamboo can also be environmentally unfriendly. The manufacture of bamboo means that the planks go through a slicing and shredding process before being adhered back together with a resin based adhesive. This adhesive may release VOC’s (volatile organic chemicals) into the air of a room over time. Research how the planks are manufactured to find out how likely this is to happen in your home. If your planks are FSC certified, you know that the bamboo flooring is safe.

Bamboo Flooring FAQs

Q: What type of bamboo is used for flooring?
A: Moso bamboo is used most often in the manufacturing of bamboo flooring

Q: How long do bamboo floors last?
A: This depends on how much footfall the flooring will experience. As bamboo flooring is pretty susceptible to scratches and surface damage, if it’s placed in high traffic areas it can reduce how long your bamboo flooring will last.

Q: Is bamboo flooring expensive?
A: Bamboo flooring is one of the more expensive floors, pricing around the same as hardwood flooring.

Q: How do you treat bamboo floors?
A: Bamboo floor can benefit from TLC just as any flooring might. We recommend the following:

  • Keep the floor clear of dust and dirt by sweeping or vacuuming on a regular basis
  • Ensure that any spills are cleaned up as quickly as possible to prevent damage
  • Clean on a regular basis using a hardwood floor cleaner
  • If placing furniture, make sure that any legs are fitted with protective capping and refrain from dragging furniture around the room
  • Ensure any free-roaming pets in your home have well-maintained and groomed nails, in order to avoid scratches on the bamboo. 
  • Try to maintain a consistent humidity in the room to avoid the bamboo from drying out, and ensure your bamboo flooring has a suitable expansion gap of at least 10mm when being laid.
  • Sheild the flooring from long-term sun exposure
  • Avoid any cleaning products containing ammonia, wax, acrylic, mineral spirits, polish, bleach, oil, acid/vinegar and bleach or detergents
  • Don’t mop with excessive water
  • Use area rugs made from a breathable material or with a breathable underlay

At Leader Floors, we think that bamboo flooring is a great alternative to solid wood flooring. It has many fantastic advantages, and even its drawbacks can be avoided with careful shopping and proper treatment of the planks. Browse our full range of bamboo flooring available at Leader Floors today.

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