Bamboo Flooring: Get An Eco Friendly Look

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  • Post last modified:January 26, 2024

Bamboo is a versatile and sustainable building material gaining popularity as an environmentally friendly flooring option.

Known for its rapid growth and renewability, bamboo has become a favored choice for those seeking a green alternative to traditional hardwood floors.

This article aims to cover many intricacies and details about bamboo flooring, from its production methods to its benefits, and how it compares to hardwood, etc.

bamboo flooring

What is bamboo flooring?

Bamboo flooring is a type of flooring material made from bamboo plants. Unlike traditional hardwood, which is sourced from slow-growing trees, bamboo is a fast-growing grass that reaches maturity in just a few years.

Bamboo has been a traditional building material in Asia for centuries. In countries like China, Japan, and Southeast Asian nations, bamboo was utilized for construction, furniture, and various household items. Its strength, flexibility, and abundance made it a valuable resource for local communities.

How is bamboo flooring made?

Turning bamboo into flooring involves harvesting the bamboo stalks, treating them to prevent pests and decay, and then processing them into planks or tiles suitable for flooring applications.

The unique characteristics of bamboo make it an increasingly popular choice for eco-conscious consumers and those seeking a more sustainable alternative to traditional hardwood.

How eco-friendly is bamboo flooring?

Bamboo flooring stands out as an exceptionally eco-friendly option, primarily due to the remarkable properties of the bamboo plant.

Unlike traditional hardwoods, which can take decades to mature, bamboo’s rapid growth allows it to reach maturity within three to five years.

When harvested for flooring, bamboo stalks are cut at the base, leaving the root system intact. This method of harvesting is in stark contrast to the complete felling of hardwood trees, showcasing bamboo’s ability to regenerate without the need for replanting.

This cyclical growth and harvest process make bamboo a renewable resource with minimal environmental impact. Bamboo’s efficient use of resources, including water, pesticides, and fertilizers, further contributes to its eco-friendly profile.

Additionally, the plant’s high rate of photosynthesis allows it to absorb more carbon dioxide, positioning bamboo as a valuable carbon sink that aids in mitigating greenhouse gas emissions.

Bamboo flooring manufacturing is recognized for its low energy requirements compared to traditional hardwood processing.

bamboo flooring for home

What are bamboo color options?

Bamboo flooring is available in multiple color options to suit the aesthetics of the home.

  • Natural bamboo: It retains its original color and offers a light, neutral tone which can help to brighten up the space.
  • Stained bamboo: Bamboo flooring can also be stained in various shades to suit different looks such as warm browns or even cool greys.
  • Carbonized bamboo: The production of carbonized bamboo includes a controlled heating process that adds carbon to dye the bamboo throughout. This gives the material a richer, darker hue, which can help provide the room with a refined and sophisticated look. However, the process decreases the floor’s strength and makes it softer.

How many types of bamboo flooring are there?

Following are the different pattern options available in bamboo flooring:

  • Horizontal: The horizontal bamboo flooring features a wider flat grain pattern with visible knots and natural lines of bamboo. This is because it is made by bonding together strips of bamboo in a horizontal fashion.
  • Vertical: Meanwhile, vertical bamboo flooring showcases a narrow, streamlined grain pattern, creating a distinct look. It is made by vertically bonding the bamboo strips together.
  • Strand-woven: Strand-woven bamboo flooring stands out from the other two as it is far more durable because of the cross-hatched strands that work to hold the material together.

How much does bamboo flooring cost?

Bamboo flooring costs an average range of $3 to $9 per square foot in material while having a professional installation can add anywhere between $3 to $5 per square foot.

It is considered to be easier to install than hardwood and is generally more DIY-friendly for those who want to try their hand at the installation process.

Bamboo flooring pros

Following are some advantages of choosing a bamboo floor:

  • Environmentally friendly: Bamboo’s rapid growth and renewability make it an ideal choice for those who are more eco-conscious.
  • Easy maintenance: Bamboo floors require minimal maintenance and usually clean easily with a mop and mild soap.
  • Refinishing potential: Like other hardwood flooring, bamboo can be refinished, depending on the thickness of the planks, thus extending their lifespan.
  • Durability:Top-quality bamboo flooring can be as durable as traditional hardwood flooring. Strand-woven bamboo, in particular, is known for its strength and durability.
  • DIY-friendly: Bamboo flooring is often available in easy-to-install options, allowing homeowners to forego professional installations and making it a cost-friendly option.
  • Pest resistant: Naturally resistant to insects, bamboo is a practical choice for those concerned about pests.

Bamboo flooring cons

While there are many advantages as listed above, bamboo floors may also offer some disadvantages as follows:

  • Scratch prone: Despite its durability, bamboo is susceptible to scratches, especially the more inexpensive options.
  • Limited styles: Bamboo offers fewer design options than some hardwoods, which can pose a challenge for homeowners looking for a more unique look.
  • Moisture sensitive: Excessive moisture can cause damage to bamboo flooring, making it an unattractive option for bathrooms and basements.
  • Potentially toxic: The manufacturing process may involve adhesives or finishes that emit volatile organic compounds (VOCs).
  • Unreliable grading: Inconsistent grading systems can make quality assessment challenging and result in homeowners paying more for less quality.

For more information, read: Bamboo Flooring Pros and Cons 

Bamboo flooring vs hardwood flooring

Comparing bamboo to hardwood flooring involves evaluating factors such as cost, durability, and environmental impact. While bamboo shares many benefits with hardwood, each material has unique characteristics that cater to different preferences and needs.

Bamboo, as a rapidly renewable resource, grows much faster than traditional hardwood trees, making it a sustainable and eco-friendly option.

Hardwoods, however, often come from slow-growing trees that require more time to reach maturity.

While both materials offer a range of colors and styles, bamboo tends to be more budget-friendly, providing a cost-effective alternative to hardwood.

In terms of durability, bamboo can rival hardwood, especially strand-woven bamboo, which is exceptionally hard and resistant to wear. However, some hardwood species may still surpass bamboo in terms of hardness.

maintenance bamboo flooring
Photo by Anete Lusina

What to look for in bamboo wood flooring?

Considering to go for bamboo floors? Check out the following factors before you make the purchase:

  • Thickness: It is important to consider the thickness as thicker bamboo flooring tends to be more durable.
  • Width: Different widths of the bamboo planks can impact the overall aesthetics of the flooring.
  • Hardness: Assess the hardness of the bamboo flooring to ensure its ability to withstand wear and tear.
  • Finishes: Choosing the right finish can enhance the appearance and longevity of bamboo flooring.
  • Air quality: Opt for bamboo with low volatile organic compound finishes to maintain good indoor air quality.

Bamboo flooring installation

Installation methods for bamboo flooring can vary, and understanding the specifics of each method is crucial for a successful and long-lasting installation.

One common installation method is the glue-down or adhesive method, where bamboo planks are securely attached to the subfloor using a strong adhesive. This approach provides a stable and durable result, particularly when dealing with concrete subfloors.

Alternatively, the nail-down method involves securing bamboo planks to the subfloor by nailing them through the tongue, which is the protruding edge of the plank.

This method is typically employed for wood subfloors and provides a secure and traditional installation.

Additionally, the floating installation method involves placing bamboo planks over an underlayment without direct attachment to the subfloor.

The planks are interlocked, creating a “floating” floor that can expand and contract with changes in humidity. Floating installations are often favored for their simplicity and suitability for DIY projects.

Another popular approach is the click-lock or “snap together” method, a type of floating installation where bamboo planks have pre-milled tongues and grooves that easily click into place. This method eliminates the need for adhesives or nails, simplifying the installation process and allowing for quick assembly.

Ultimately, the selection of the installation method depends on factors such as the type of subfloor, the level of expertise, and personal preferences, with each method offering its own set of advantages in terms of stability, ease of installation, and overall aesthetics.

Bamboo flooring maintenance and repair

Proper maintenance, including regular cleaning and avoiding excessive moisture, is essential to keep bamboo flooring in optimal condition and is key to prolonging the lifespan of the bamboo floors.

Bamboo flooring maintenance and repair
Source: Freepik

Bamboo flooring FAQ

Is bamboo flooring worth it?

Bamboo flooring is worth considering for its eco-friendly nature, durability, and cost-effectiveness.

Is all bamboo flooring engineered?

No, not all bamboo flooring is engineered. Solid bamboo and strand-woven bamboo are alternatives to engineered options.

Where to use bamboo flooring?

Bamboo flooring is suitable for various spaces, including living rooms, bedrooms, and even kitchens. Still, it is essential to consider its sensitivity to moisture and avoid areas such as bathrooms and laundry rooms.

What is the lifespan of bamboo flooring?

On average, properly cared for bamboo flooring can endure 20 to 25 years or even longer.

What are the factors that affect the quality of bamboo flooring?

  • Species: Moso bamboo is usually the better choice for flooring, while others can be soft and dull.
  • Harvest period: Prematurely harvested bamboo can result in soft floors that dent or warp.
  • Drying: Bamboo needs to be artificially dried to help it achieve the appropriate moisture content and prevent shrinkage of the finished product.
  • Adhesive: The glue used in high-quality bamboo flooring is a phenolic resin, while cheaper options might use a phenol or urea-based adhesive, which contains some amount of formaldehyde.
  • Manufacturer reputation: Check if the manufacturer is reputable and has quality control processes in place.

Are bamboo floors high maintenance?

While bamboo floors are generally easy to maintain, they require regular cleaning and precautions against moisture.

Is bamboo flooring waterproof?

Bamboo flooring is not inherently waterproof, and exposure to excessive moisture should be avoided.

Is bamboo flooring for me?

Choosing bamboo flooring depends on preferences, lifestyle, and the specific requirements of the space where it will be installed.


Bamboo flooring stands out as a sustainable, eco-friendly, and cost-effective option for those seeking an alternative to traditional hardwood.

With its unique color options, various types, and a range of pros and cons, bamboo flooring offers a versatile and appealing choice for environmentally conscious consumers.

By understanding the intricacies of bamboo flooring, consumers can make informed decisions that align with their preferences and values.

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