Bamboo vs. Hardwood Floors – Pros, Cons and Costs

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bamboo vs hardwood flooring

When it comes to flooring, the choices you make can have a big impact. 

The type of flooring you choose should reflect how you live and what your needs are. Durability and style matter and picking the right flooring can save you stress and money in the long run. 

When considering bamboo floors versus hardwood floors, you really need to think about your needs. 

The kind of lifestyle you have and your goals for the floor will make all the difference. How you plan on using the floors will dictate what you choose to use for them. 

In this article, we have laid out some of the features of these materials and how they affect their viability. By understanding how each of these woods stack up, you can pick the one that will best suit you. 

Bamboo vs. Hardwood: Basic Idea

There are a few features that you should think about when it comes to flooring. Considering all these features will help you make the right choice for your home. 

The things to think about with bamboo and hardwood are:

  • General appearance
  • Durability and longevity
  • Cost
  • Ecological impacts

Why Material Matters for Floors

material matters

The material you decide to use for your flooring is incredibly important. This is because your home’s floor is one of the most high-impact, high-use areas in the entire house. 

Consider the amount of use and abuse you put your flooring through. It holds up furniture, absorbs spills and takes the brunt of your everyday walking and sitting. 

Because of this, your floor must be durable and have the ability to be easily cleaned. 

The floor also covers the entire surface area of the home. There is no other surface that has this much reach throughout your home. 

The material you choose will dictate how the home looks and whether or not it will hold up. 

You should pick the right flooring for the amount of use you intend to put it through. This will help keep your floor looking nice and, in turn, keep your home looking nice. 

Appearance

One of the main differences between bamboo and hardwood is in their appearance. 

More specifically, hardwood has many more varieties to choose from when it comes to appearance. 

There are almost limitless options for hardwood flooring and you can tailor it to your style. Bamboo, on the other hand, doesn’t have nearly as many styles to choose from. 

Generally, bamboo comes in vertical-grain, flat-grain, and stranded. These varieties all refer to how the strands of the wood are put together. 

This is due to the fact that bamboo isn’t really a wood. It is actually a type of reed. 

Hardwood comes in all kinds of colors and textures. You will have a lot more choices with a hardwood floor that you can use to create your home’s look. 

Durability

Durability is a key factor in the choice you make for your floors. You will always want to make sure you choose a material that can withstand a lot of use. 

For wood flooring, this usually means picking a material that is very hard. 

The hardness of the wood will decrease its vulnerability to things like scratches and gouges. 

The term hardwood has a tendency to make you think that bamboo will always be softer. However, that often isn’t the case. 

Bamboo is actually harder than some of the woods used for hardwood floors. Woods like cherry, poplar and aspen are quite a bit softer than bamboo. 

If you get bamboo that isn’t carbonized, it will be even harder. Carbonizing is a process where bamboo is subjected to heat and pressure to darken the color. 

If you are making a choice between a softer hardwood and bamboo, bamboo may be the better choice.  

Price

price bamboo vs hardwood floors

In general, bamboo will be on the cheaper side than most hardwoods. 

Hardwood flooring costs around $4 per square foot. Bamboo will be around $3 per square foot. 

If you are looking to save money on your flooring project, bamboo might be the best option. 

However, some types of bamboo are more expensive and some types of hardwood are cheaper. It will depend heavily on the state of the wood market and its availability. 

Sustainability 

If you are concerned about the sustainability of your flooring, it is best to understand where it comes from. 

For the most part, bamboo is going to be more sustainable than many hardwoods. It grows quickly and can be replenished much easier than a lot of hardwood trees. 

However, harvesting bamboo can create a lot of greenhouse gasses and is not good for the environment. 

Knowing where your wood is harvested from can go a long way. Ask your provider about the sustainability of any specific wood you are looking at. 

Frequently Asked Questions

faq bamboo vs hardwood floors

  • Do bamboo floors scratch easily?

If properly finished, bamboo floors do not scratch easily. 

Since they can be harder than a lot of standard woods, they’re resistant to damage. As long as they have a good topcoat, they can be very durable. 

  • Are wood floors high maintenance?

Wood floors are not any harder to maintain than any other type of flooring. 

In fact, because wood floors are more durable, they can last a lot longer. This decreases the amount of maintenance that needs to happen. 

  • Does bamboo flooring add value to a house?

Bamboo flooring will not add any more value to a home than any other floor. 

If you have a floor that is made from some type of rare wood, this could increase its value. However, this isn’t very common. 

Conclusion 

By understanding the differences between bamboo and hardwood, you can make the right choice for your home. 

The material you choose will determine how long the floors last and how easy they are to maintain. Picking the right floor can save you time, money and stress throughout the life of your home. 

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AUTHOR

Michael J. O’Connor is a writer and marketing specialist from the Bay Area of California. A graduate of Sonoma State’s Creative Writing program, he spent many years as a contractor and carpet layer, learning the ins and outs of flooring and general contracting. When he’s not typing away at his desk, he enjoys hiking with his dogs, woodworking and collecting rare books. See full biography here.

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