Cali Bamboo Flooring Review: Everything You Need to Know

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cali bamboo flooring review

If you are looking for an alternative flooring option to luxury vinyl planks or hardwood, bamboo is certainly one that fits the bill. Cali Bamboo is a brand that makes the tops in a lot of lists, and for good reason.

This article will take a closer look at the Cali Bamboo brand and help you decide if this flooring option is something worth pursuing further (Pro Tip: it is).

Best Cali Bamboo Flooring Features

Cali Bamboo is known for a lot of features. These are the best of the best:

  • Patented Fossilized® manufacturing adds strength and durability to the planks.
  • Industry leading 50-year warranty.
  • Ultra-low VOC construction process.
  • Only made from organic Moso bamboo.
  • Multiple style and color options.
  • Various installation options available.

What to Expect from Cali Bamboo

When you are looking for new flooring, you have a lot of choices. If you decide to go with hardwood or hard flooring alternatives, one company to consider is Cali Bamboo. Not only are they one of the greenest companies in the country, they also have multiple floor types to choose from.

You can go with the classic bamboo flooring, of course (which is the main basis of this article). They also have oak, hickory, maple, cork and eucalyptus. There is even a series of engineered hardwoods for you to consider.

No matter what flooring option you go with, you will get a dependable floor, easy installation and an extensive warranty. While the cost may be a little higher than some other brands, the rugged, durable floors from Cali Bamboo are well worth the extra few dollars.

Cali Construction

Cali flooring is made from recycled content (up to 60%) the green company prides themselves in their environmental choices as well as construction quality.

One of the biggest selling points is the strength of their planks. This is due to the Fossilized® manufacturing process and core construction.

The Janka hardness scale has recently added bamboo flooring to their rating system. Strand bamboo is the hardest flooring type with a Janka hardness rating of 4800. The Cali bamboo floor scores the highest ratings of all hard floor types with a rating over 5000.

The overall construction will depend on the type of flooring you go with. Their strand bamboo planks are the strongest, and come in many colors and styles.

You will also find that they have over half a dozen widths available from 3 inches to 7 and a half inches. With different widths, you can have different looks in your room.

Smaller, thinner boards are usually laid parallel with the long walls to give that more modern “bowling alley” look. Wider boards are better suited for a rustic or farmhouse style aesthetic and will look great in larger rooms or throughout an entire home.

Cali Bamboo Flooring Options

Cali Bamboo & More is a flooring solution center that offers you a lot of options. Let’s take a closer look at what they bring to the table.

Bamboo

Cali Bamboo is the strongest bamboo planks on the market. They also come in natural and dyed options with several sub-categories to offer even more. You will find the Cali Bamboo in solid and engineered options.

Solid bamboo is difficult to install (see below) but has an incredible finished look. There are over 30 color and grain pattern options. While you are assured a match to your décor, you may find cheaper and easier to install options further down the list.

Engineered bamboo is a mix between hardwood planks and a bamboo top layer. All planks are 100% natural and give the same appearance as solid bamboo. However, installation is more DIY friendly.

You also have the option of the GeoWood brand planks. These use the newer GeoCore composite center and are water resistant to make them easier to clean and hold up to high traffic areas a bit better.

There are currently only four options, though, so you may not find a color match you are looking for.

Wood

If you don’t want bamboo on your floors, you also have the option of hardwood. Cali Bamboo offers several types of wood and each one is harvested from renewable resources to help keep the carbon footprint of the company low.

Besides the bamboo, the company makes wood flooring from oak, maple, hickory and eucalyptus. Each of these options come in various colors, patterns and sizes. As with all other Cali floors, the size will determine how it is installed and what the finished result looks like.

Like the bamboo, the hardwoods come in both solid wood and engineered wood. Engineered wood is less expensive, easier to install and looks just as good. Unlike the bamboo options, both solid and engineered versions are easy enough to install on your own.

Vinyl & Cork

The company also sells vinyl plank flooring and engineered cork. There is currently only one cork flooring option that comes in “Silverwood” color.

The vinyl options are a little more robust, but the core of the company is still bamboo, so the options are a bit limited.

You can choose between Cali Vinyl Pro or Cali Vinyl Plus. The Pro version is water resistant and made from the GeoCore system that adds strength and durability. This is the preferred vinyl for high traffic areas and common rooms.

The Plus version comes with a cork underlayment attached to add comfort and give for a soft feel underfoot.

Both options are simple to install and can easily be done as a DIY project that won’t take you more than a single day. Both options come with optional features like acoustic underlayment, core selections and of course colors.

Decking

Cali Bamboo also does decking. While this technically isn’t flooring, it is something that needs to be mentioned. The decking is a DIY project that you purchase by the piece, including the decking, supports, railings, and everything you need to build your own deck or have one built for you.

Extras

Cali Bamboo is also an all-inclusive brand and sells everything you need for all your flooring solutions. Whether that is underlayments, sealants, padding, or even nails, they have it all.

When you shop Cali Bamboo, it truly is a one-stop shop for everything you need to finish your project. All backed by the Cali Bamboo warranty.

Installing Cali Bamboo

installing cali bamboo

Not all Cali bamboo floors should be installed as a DIY project. While professional installation is always an option, it doesn’t affect your warranty (see further below) like some other brands stipulate, if you want to do it yourself.

DIY Installation

When choosing to do a DIY install, you should stick to engineered bamboo, or one of the hardwood planks. Strand bamboo, or any of the other varieties are quite difficult to install yourself.

There is a lot of math involved, along with consistent temperature readings, humidity measurements to take, speed and accuracy of the install and there is little room for error. Unlike laminate planks or vinyl, bamboo needs to be installed in a strict and precise manner.

Without all of the proper tools and knowledge, the result may be less than stellar.

Professional Installation Considerations

Because of the difficulty level and cost of the bamboo itself, the installation really should be left to professionals. Not only will the flooring maintain its warranty, but you will also (usually) get a labor and install warranty from the contractor doing the installation.

When going the professional route, you should look in your local and surrounding areas for a well qualified professional. They should have experience with bamboo flooring and be able to prove it with photos, testimonials or even videos.

You also need to make sure the contractor is licensed and bonded or insured (requirements vary by state). The best way to go about this is to do a search on Angie’s List, or similar sites.

These sites run background checks for you, show the experience of the contractor and customer reviews. With these types of sites you can get your quotes and estimates from contractors that have already been vetted.

Just remember to get at least three quotes. Also keep in mind that most quotes include the cost of the flooring. If you plan to buy it yourself, make sure they know that going in.

It is also wise to ask about their disposal terms. Many contractors will perform a clean up, including removal and disposal of all remaining flooring and hardware. If you are buying the flooring, don’t let the contractors take the left overs with them.

Care and Maintenance of Cali Bamboo Floors

Bamboo flooring requires special care. While the result of the flooring installation is beautiful and hardy, it is fairly difficult to keep clean.

Bamboo does attract a lot of dust and dirt and can show it quite easily. It is also not waterproof, though there may be top coats applied to help with it. Because bamboo is a natural fiber, it absorbs water and can bow, swell or even crack.

For these reasons sweeping and dry mops are recommended. If you do get spills on the floor or other wet messes, they need to be dried and cleaned as soon as possible. For all other cleaning it is fairly standard.

  • Sweeping is a daily or every other day chore, and build-up can appear quickly.
  • Dry mops or damp mops only, as to not saturate the floor with water.
  • Stick vacuums work well to get debris between planks or boards.
  • Dry spills immediately.
  • Buff, polish or wax as needed to maintain shine.

Cost and Warranty

cali bamboo warranty

Cali Bamboo isn’t the cheapest flooring on the market. However, they aren’t quite the most expensive either. With flooring solutions for all budgets, they pride themselves on having affordable and high-quality options for everyone.

If you want the best the brand has to offer, though, you are going to have to pay for it. Regardless of which option you go with, you get the Cali warranty to back your investment.

Each flooring comes with a different warranty, and the bamboo flooring really shines here. Offering you a 50-year warranty on your bamboo install, no other company even comes close.

Cali Bamboo Vs. Other Brands

Cali Bamboo isn’t the only option in town. So how does this company stack up against the competition? Let’s take a look.

Cali Vs. Trinity

Trinity Bamboo is a relatively new company, founded in 2016. However, they have a similar model and ethics when it comes to their bamboo. Like Cali, Trinity only sources Moso bamboo and ensures low VOCs during construction.

Unlike Cali, Trinity doesn’t have the wide variety or price range. While still affordable, you don’t get a bunch of leeway in their pricing. With less options to choose from, you may not find the exact color or style you are after.

However, Trinity is a reliable, durable and wear-resistant floor, which comes with a 25-year warranty to cover your purchases and investment.

Cali Vs. Teragren

Teragren is a company that knows how to make beautiful bamboo floors. They offer you two lines, and each one has its own pros and cons.

The PureForm line is the original flooring option. It is a strong bamboo, but not as durable as some other options. In bedrooms or low-traffic areas, though, the price and aesthetics are well worth every penny.

The Xcora line is the newest line from Teragren and is much stronger. Designed for high traffic areas and a lot of abuse, it matches the solid bamboo from Cali in durability. Installation is only done by professionals (or you lose some of your warranty) but this isn’t much of a bother, as it should be installed by a pro anyway.

Cali Vs. Smith & Fong Plyboo

If you want style, beauty, performance and ceilings, look to Smith & Fong Plyboo (often shortened to just Plyboo). This company is all about excellence and worries less about prices.

What you get is a complete home with bamboo. They offer flooring, of course, but also walls, ceilings and even veneers and plywood for false walls, partitions and pure decoration.

Most all Plyboo features except the flooring are chosen by decorators and interior designers. When it comes to the floors, though, these groups along with the general public are all involved.

Cali floors offer you robust choices and affordable prices, where Plyboo pays attention to the finer details and elegance that their bamboo can offer. If you want that extra zing and eye-catching detail, no one can beat Plyboo.

For great flooring, better prices and less hassle, though, Cali is still the top pick.

What I Like About Cali Bamboo Flooring

  • Tough, durable construction for life-long flooring.
  • 50-year warranty is the highest in the industry.
  • Multiple colors, styles and options available.
  • DIY install for engineered bamboo doesn’t affect the warranty.
  • 60% recycled content and Moso bamboo sourced materials only.

What I Dislike About Cali Bamboo Flooring

  • Professional install is all but required for all flooring types except engineered woods and vinyl.
  • May be difficult to find locally in some regions.
  • Preferred colors or options may not be available in all price ranges.

Frequently Asked Questions

faq cali bamboo

Now I will answer some of the more common questions about Cali and bamboo flooring in general. If you have other questions, please use the comment section below.

Q. Where is Cali Bamboo made?

  1. Cali Bamboo is made in San Diego, California. All the bamboo is sourced from Moso organic farms overseas, but manufactured, and constructed in the USA.

Q. Are all bamboo floors the same?

  1. No. Bamboo floors come in a wide variety of styles. Cali Bamboo is available in strand bamboo, engineered bamboo, textured, smooth, distressed and hand scraped. Finding the ideal fit will mean matching color, layer texture, installation method and hardness.

Q. Can I install Cali bamboo floors myself?

  1. It is possible to install any bamboo flooring yourself. However, as a DIY project only the engineered bamboo planks are the best option. All other types require a lot of work and specialty tools that may not be available or easily used for a flooring installation.

Q. Is bamboo waterproof?

  1. No. Bamboo is a grass that is hard as wood. Because it is a natural fiber, it absorbs water which can cause it to swell, bow or even warp. There are some floors that have water resistant treatment added, but no bamboo floor is waterproof.

Conclusion

Cali Bamboo is a flooring company from California that makes a name as being the greenest company in the country. With 60% recycled content and select, naturally and sustainably harvested woods, the company maintains this reputation.

Their bamboo floors are some of the strongest, longest lasting options available and anyone looking to improve the look of their home would do well to start with a Cali Bamboo floor.

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AUTHOR

Nora has more than 5 years experience in the floor covering industry, acquiring vast knowledge about installation and material selection. She now enjoys working as a writer and an interior decorator. Her work has been featured in The Spruce, Homes & Gardens, Southern Living and Real Homes. See full biography here.

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