Flooring is an aspect of home and commercial building construction that many people take for granted, but that makes it no less important for a building, and occupants are bound to notice if a home’s floor is in bad shape, whether it be warped, scratched, or stained and discolored. For many years in the United States, hardwood floor construction has been dominant in construction, but in recent years, bamboo hardwood has emerged as a competitor, and there are some distinct advantages to this new type of floor, although the disadvantages of bamboo flooring should be noted before someone buys bamboo planks or starts a construction project. What are the advantages and disadvantages of bamboo flooring? Is bamboo strength substantial? There are some factors for any homeowner to consider before launching a floor remodeling project.
The Flooring Industry
Flooring is a big business, and it may continue growing into the future. In the year 2017, for example, the total sales for all flooring jobs came out to $21.99 billion, and in that same year, those sales, all put together, went into a huge total of 19.736 billion square feet, meaning that a lot of buildings had new hardwood, tiles, bamboo, and other materials put down for people to walk on. What is more, in a recent survey about the industry, over 70% of all respondents, such as retailers and contractors, said that they expect growth in sales of at least 3% in 2018, and one in three respondents expected 8% or more growth, a considerable amount. In this healthy industry, finding the right materials can be a big deal for retailers, contractors, and customers alike, so weighing the advantages and disadvantages of bamboo flooring, and those of hardwood, can be lucrative and help any customer figure out the best project for their home or building.
Bamboo contrasts with hardwood in a number of ways, and it also has some overlap. The biggest difference is the natural resource; hardwood trees may take 20 years to develop into usable lumber, but bamboo is a fast-growing, very renewable grass that takes only three to five years to reach maturity. An advantage to this alternative to traditional hardwood floors is that using bamboo a lot will ease the strain on North American forests, and a number of environmental protection groups and initiatives may be unhappy about the current rates of logging. Using bamboo helps keep forests healthier, and bamboo can grow anywhere, very fast.
Although it is a grass rather than real wood, bamboo can easily be used just like wood. When processed, bamboo is sliced and shredded, and then glues, heat, and pressure are all used to fuse these fibers together into tough planks, ready for use in construction, and depending on the quality and the methods used, this bamboo flooring can be even tougher than hardwood is. Bamboo is easy to install, even for DIY projects, and it offers a sleek, modern look for any room and is easy to maintain. If it gets scratches or dents, it can be sanded down and then refinished to restore its brand new look, and cleaning it involves little more than wet mopping or using soap and water.
The disadvantages of bamboo flooring are limited but should be factored in before someone decides exactly how to remodel a floor or put down flooring for a new building. Bamboo is susceptible to warping if it gets wet, and this can result in uneven floors. Conversely, dry weather may cause the bamboo flooring to contract and crack, something no one wants. Bamboo also comes in a limited variety of colors, even when including bamboo that is carbonized to darken its surface, so this may not appeal to those who are looking for every specific colors or patterns in their flooring. The last of the disadvantages of bamboo flooring to consider is the risk of buying low-quality bamboo from foreign factories used with cast-off materials. Good bamboo planks will be a similar price to hardwood; something much cheaper is probably not worth investing in, because it is was made with shoddy workmanship. Buyers should also be aware that bamboo flooring’s price also comes from the fact that it is delivered by ship from overseas, and it is typically an import for North American buyers.