All About: Bamboo Flooring

All About: Bamboo Flooring

Cambria Bold
Jul 9, 2012

If you've already renovated a kitchen or are just beginning the process, you know how overwhelming the details can be. Our Fittings and Material Spotlights are quick guides to basic kitchen fixtures and materials to familiarize you with terminology, pros and cons, and relevant reader reviews. Today we look at the pros and cons of bamboo flooring:

Material: Bamboo

Overview: Bamboo is known to be a rapidly renewable wood. When bamboo is harvested, the root stays in the ground and the plant grows back to mature height in three to seven years. (Compare that to the 110+ years required for hardwoods like oak!) After bamboo stalks are cut into strips, manufacturers either retain the bamboo's natural color, or follow a special carbonization process that darkens the wood.

Environmental Impact: Most bamboo is exported from China; however, because there are no set government standards for bamboo flooring production, many bamboo floors exported from China have high levels of urea formaldehyde that exceed safety standards in other countries. Make sure to look for bamboo products that are FSC-certified and have no added formaldehyde.

Distributors: Foundations Strand, EcoTimber, Teragren, Duro Design, and Plyboo.

Pros: A sustainable, affordable alternative to traditional hardwoods; versatile; beautiful.

Cons: Prone to dents and scratches.

Installation: Bamboo boards are either nailed onto a subfloor, or glued directly to the subfloor.

Cleaning: Bamboo floors are prone to streaking when mopping, but you can alleviate the streaking somewhat by mopping with a mild soap (diluted Murphy's Oil works great) in the direction of the grain, making sure the floors don't get too wet, and then wiping the floors down with a microfiber cloth. See more reader recommendations here: Caring for Bamboo Floors and How To Repair Bamboo Floors

Price range: $3 to $9 per square foot

Kitchn Reader Reviews:

We put in bamboo floors about four years ago (we had some vinyl tiles that were poorly installed by a tenant before we bought the house). Very easy to keep clean and far better than the hard ceramic tiles at our previous place (glass shatters into a billion pieces when you drop something and it's murder on the hips & knees when standing for the whole day). - Cybele
I got the beautiful, dark bamboo floors 18 months ago. The super says I have the most beautiful floors in the building. Not the most beautiful apartment, just the most beautiful floors. And I have to sweep three times a day to just pretend they are clean. Seriously, I have a stick vacuum for floors, a dust buster for corners, a swiffer, a Japanese broom, (three foot span), and a wet swiffer, and I still can't keep the floors clean. - Village

Readers, do you have bamboo floors in your kitchen? Share your experiences!

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(Image: Houzz)

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