When it comes to construction, people have grown more innovative throughout the years. Where before materials were generally confined to a few choices, now people are becoming more resourceful and creative. Designers, builders, architects, engineers, and even just homeowners, all look for different materials they can use. It could be because they are seeking to make their costs lower by finding a cheaper material. Or, it could be because they want their finished property to look and be unique. Sometimes, it could also be because people have grown more mindful of the environmental impact using certain materials can cause. One thing that people have grown to embrace in recent times is bamboo flooring. It might be because of bamboo flooring cost vs hardwood cost, but there could be other reasons too.
If you are wondering what the difference between bamboo flooring and hardwood flooring is, you are not alone. Fact is, a lot of people are interested in making use of bamboo for many different aspects of their construction and design. Today, we will take a closer look at bamboo flooring versus hardwood flooring. We will be comparing both in terms of their installation, maintenance and replacement, environmental impact, cost, composition, advantages, and of course, their disadvantages too. Our hope is to inform you just why it is people have been choosing bamboo flooring more in the past few years. We also want to show you that bamboo can be quite a good material to use for your floors.
And so, without further ado, let’s get right to it!
Why Should You Choose Bamboo?
One of the first things that people tend to ask about bamboo flooring is: why exactly should you choose it? Well, there are a number of reasons, all of which we will be discussing today. Bamboo flooring cost vs hardwood cost is one of the many things we do consider as an important factor. But first, there are a bunch of different things that we need to talk about when it comes to bamboo and just how it is used as a flooring material.
There are many different kinds or species bamboo that is used for flooring. These different species each have different properties which make them ideal in certain situations more so than others. One of the most popular species that is often used is Moso. Moso Bamboo is known for its high quality, making it an ideal choice for durable yet elegant flooring. This species of bamboo is typically left to grow for 5 to 6 years before it is harvested at its peak (in terms of density that is). When harvested, Moso bamboo can be harder (more durable) then certain kinds of hardwood such as Oak and Maple.
Sometimes, engineered bamboo can be used for flooring material instead of natural bamboo. Engineered bamboo is also named strand bamboo. It’s technically still bamboo but it is rather processed. It goes through several steps such as stripping, boiling, cutting, bonding, and pressing. Once this is finished the bamboo becomes harder and more durable, making it even better for use in flooring.
Something to remember is that bamboo is harder and more durable when it is lighter in color. Darker colored bamboo goes through a process of carbonization which has a side effect of the kind of softening the wood.
Advantages of Using Bamboo for Flooring
Now, before we delve right into the advantages of using this new flooring material, we do want to make a qualifying statement. The general benefits, durability, and quality of your flooring will largely depend on the species of bamboo you choose. Of course, it will also depend in large part on the quality of the bamboo itself. Simply put, if the quality of your bamboo material is bad, then you can expect your flooring to be bad. And so, all of the information we are about to give you will assume that you have high-quality bamboo material.
One thing that can be said for certain is that bamboo flooring can typically compete with the more expensive and more environmentally taxing hardwood floors. Today’s modern processes allow for bamboo to come out in different finishes, textures, and colors. Therefore, you won’t be limited in terms of color and the like. If this is a concern of yours, allow us to allay your fears.
When we compare the hardness of bamboo to that of hardwood flooring, it’s easy to see that they are rather comparable. However, because bamboo is considered a grass, it actually performs better than actual wood. At least, in terms of keeping moisture away. As a result of this, mold growth is also significantly slowed down and prevented.
Plus, hey, in terms of bamboo flooring cost vs hardwood cost, bamboo is often the clear winner. Those looking to shave a bit off their budget should consider bamboo flooring cost vs hardwood cost indeed.
Disadvantages of Using Bamboo for Flooring
Naturally, there are indeed some disadvantages too. For example, if you choose bamboo material that is a bit cheaper and lower in quality, you’ll find that you might run into some problems. Cheaper material will likely be softer, and as a result, easier to damage. It is for this reason that you must purchase higher quality and harder bamboo floor material. However, harder bamboo is often treated heavily with formaldehyde as well as other toxic chemicals.
Other things that homeowners have said in the past about bamboo flooring is that it can start to warp throughout the years – at least in humid conditions.
Another thing that people have mentioned is that if the bamboo flooring is constantly exposed to sunlight or bright lights, it can begin to discolor. In particular, dark-colored floors begin to lighten over time.
Installation of Bamboo Flooring
The next thing that we want to talk about is the installation of bamboo flooring. Now, when you want to put on your new floors, you have a couple options. First, you can go the safe albeit maybe more expensive route of hiring a professional to do the installation work for you. Otherwise, you certainly can also choose to do it all yourself. Indeed, just like with any other flooring material, bamboo can be installed DIY style. You can do it yourself, but unless you do actually know what you are doing, chances are you’re still better off hiring a pro to do it for you.
When putting in your bamboo flooring you will have to perform a few steps such as placing the plats, then nailing them, followed by stapling them. You’ll then also have to cut the baseboard to size and install it. If there are any holes and gaps left after the installation, you’ll have to use wood putty to fill them.
Needless to say, if you have little to no experience installing a floor yourself, then you might run into several problems.
Why We Advise Professional Installation
Unless you’re a professional yourself or a really experienced “DIY-er”, we generally advise that flooring should be installed by a professional. There are a number of reasons for this, namely:
- It could cost you more, in the long run, to do it yourself. This is for a number of reasons.
- Inexperienced homeowners attempting to do the installation themselves can make some critical mistakes. These mistakes can lead to expensive repair costs or the need to replace the entire floor later on, which isn’t ideal if you’re trying to save money. You surely will save some in terms of not paying a professional team to do it for you, but you’ll be paying for the extra repair costs later on.
- If you’re new to floor installation in general, chances are it will take you a lot longer to put your floor in than if you hired someone to do it for you. This means that any rooms you are flooring will be out of commission and cannot be used for longer. On top of that, if you are doing the installation yourself, you’ll also need to take more time off from work which does result in more lost income and opportunity cost if you are unable to secure paid time off. Furthermore, if you have to pay a storage facility to hold your furniture while the installation goes on, costs can pile up.
And, of course, there’s the fact that if you aren’t very experienced in installing floors, you could end up making mistakes that make the entire end product look messy and unattractive. And so, it’s best to hire a professional contractor unless you have complete and utter confidence in your capacity to do it yourself.
Maintenance of Bamboo Flooring
To maintain your bamboo floors properly, there are a few things you need to do, and a few things that you need to avoid. First of all, you should avoid using wet mops to clean your bamboo floors because they can damage your floors for sure. When general cleaning, you can use a (stiff) broom or a dust mop. If you need to have some moisture on your mop while you go over your floors, you must make sure to use a mop that is wrung out well. In terms of cleaning agents, you can generally use the same kind that is approved for use for cleaning hardwood floors.
If your floor is worn out or scratched, you can sand them down and do a refinishing, instead of fully replacing them. However, once they get past the point of no return, you will end up having to replace them for sure. Here, bamboo flooring cost vs hardwood cost shines once more as bamboo will certainly be more affordable to replace.
Environmental Impact of Bamboo Flooring
One thing that we can say about bamboo flooring is that many people do agree it is far more sustainable than hardwood flooring. And so, in terms of bamboo flooring cost vs hardwood cost – at least in terms of the environment – bamboo certainly wins. You see, bamboo is considered to be a grass, or even sometimes a “weed”. This is because it grows really quickly, and propagates incredibly fast to boot. Mature bamboo can be harvested for use as quickly as 3-5 years, whereas hardwood flooring often takes much longer. Sometimes, hardwood can take as long as 50 to 60 years (or even more!) to be ready for harvest. On that note, bamboo is certainly the winner.
However, despite these environmental implications, the fact is bamboo is not as easily acquired as you might think. You see, most bamboo is sourced from China because it is there where this grass grows most abundantly. Therefore, certain regulations must be made to keep the impact under control.
Why Should You Choose Hardwood?
When it comes to choosing your flooring, there are certain advantages and disadvantages to hardwood flooring too. The fact is that many people still prefer hardwood as it is one of those classic materials that never goes out of style. However, there are a few things about hardwood that we feel you should know too. With this information, our hope is to enable you to make the right decision for you when it comes to your flooring.
As the name might suggest, hardwood flooring gets made from natural hardwood. This hardwood comes from lumber that is harvested from forest areas or perhaps even tree farms. As wood has been a material used in the construction of homes and furnishings for millennia, there are many different species and kinds that are used. The cost of the wood depends on the type of the tree. There are a few types of hardwood that are essentially the most costly, namely: wenge, mahogany, and of course, teak. These can all be used for the purposes of flooring, although sometimes there are softer kinds of hardwood that are used.
For example, pine is the softest kind, and it is typically the most affordable option to boot.
If you’re living in an area that is always rainy or rather moist, you can choose a concrete subfloor or engineered hardwood. Engineered hardwood is basically a layer of hardwood on top of a layer of fiberboard or plywood. This allows for the wood to “breathe”, or expand and contract alongside the weather, temperature, and humidity.
Advantages of Using Hardwood for Flooring
Despite the many advantages of bamboo flooring, hardwood has its own advantages, so don’t count it out completely just yet. There’s a reason why hardwood was used so often back in the day – and even today. The reason behind that is, of course, hardwood can last for generations if it is well taken care of. If you maintain hardwood well enough, it will last for an incredibly long time in your home. Despite the high initial cost, if you take good enough care of your floor, you won’t need to replace it for a very, very long time.
Another thing is that hardwood flooring typically increases the resale value of any property. If your home is refinished in hardwood flooring, it can be a great selling point if you ever choose to upgrade or downgrade and sell your current home.
Finally, hardwood flooring can be repaired to a degree. If you play your cards right and do your best during maintenance, you’ll only have to refinish your floors – if at all.
Disadvantages of Using Hardwood for Flooring
One of the biggest disadvantages for hardwood, we would say, is bamboo flooring cost vs hardwood. On top of that, hardwood maintenance can be a bit troublesome.
You see, as a material that is completely natural, hardwood can be prone to a bunch of things. First of all, hardwood can warp and stain, on top of experiencing discoloration due to the sun as well as exposure to water. Sometimes, even just some changes in humidity and temperature can really affect hardwood in a bad way.
This is pretty much why kitchens and bathrooms never get hardwood – almost. Some people would still use hardwood for that situation, but the fact is not everyone will be able to handle the maintenance and related costs.
Installation of Hardwood Flooring
As we have previously mentioned, bamboo flooring cost vs hardwood can be vastly different, but one thing is for certain: their installation is largely similar or even just the same. You can do it all by yourself if you wish, but you can also hire a professional to do it all for you. The steps are largely the same, so there isn’t much to be said about the installation of hardwood flooring.
Maintenance and Replacement of Hardwood Flooring
When it comes to maintenance of hardwood, it’s also quite similar to bamboo. You shouldn’t be using wet mops, and you should only be using cleaning solutions that are approved for use on wood. However, you can also add to this by keeping any gritty materials or potentially scratching materials off the flooring. Sweep and wipe the floor with a cloth, preferably damp.
Damaged or worn hardwood flooring may either be repaired and refinished, but if it is too far gone, you will have to replace it. The good part is, you don’t have to replace all of the floorings, you can replace small areas by pulling them up and replacing them with the use of matching material.
Environmental Considerations of Hardwood Flooring
Hardwood is, well, wood. That being the case, it’s surely environmentally friendly to a degree. However, you must make sure that you are purchasing from manufacturers and suppliers that get their lumber ethically and responsibly. Hardwood does take longer to mature, which means the wood that you are buying will likely be 50 years old or more. You will have to make sure that you are supporting a company that does what they can in order to better protect the environment. Perhaps it would even be prudent to find a company that plants trees every time the cut some down?
Bamboo Flooring Cost vs Hardwood Cost
With everything that we have mentioned, and with all of the possible considerations in this case, we can definitely say that bamboo may be the better choice in some cases. However, it’s not the only choice. And sometimes, there are also other cases to be made for choosing hardwood flooring instead. In the end, it all depends on your budget and just how environmentally friendly you would like to be.
We hope that you have learned a lot about the two types of flooring we have discussed here. Furthermore, we also hope that you are able to keep in mind bamboo flooring cost vs hardwood cost so that you can make the right decision for your home and your property. Remember, with the proper maintenance and care, both types of flooring will last you practically a lifetime! Just weigh the pros and cons of each and see where you go from there.
Good luck with your choice, and we hope you are happy regardless of the type you pick!