Bamboo is a relatively recent addition to the flooring market here in the US. On the other hand, hardwood flooring has been around since our colonial days as it was the only option for wood floors. Before we get into our discussion and pit bamboo against hardwood and see who comes out on top, we want to encourage you that you’re making a choice between two great flooring options.
Real wood floors are one of the best ways to bring sophistications, elegance and warmth to any room. Whether you are planning on re-flooring a commercial space or space in your home, you’ll never regret the decision to go with real wood. Carpet can make a room feel cozier and tile can make a room feel fancier, but wood floors can accomplish both of these if you choose the right color and right character flooring for you space. Whether you choose to install bamboo or a hardwood your space is going to look great!
Let’s dive into our match of bamboo vs hardwood! Let’s start with one of the most important things when it comes to any wood flooring decision, the hardness. Not all wood is suitable for use in flooring products today because some of them are too soft and would show signs of wear too quickly. It can be tempting to think that the harder a wood is, the better it will be for flooring, but keep in mind that the boards you use floor flooring need to be cut and nailed during installation. Also, the hardness of a particular species of wood can affect its ability to not warp after installation. All that to say, harder isn’t always better. When it comes to hardness bamboo usually falls on the lower end of the hardness spectrum. Don’t let that deter you! Bamboo, although softer than some woods is still harder than red oak and many other commonly used hardwoods. Also, recently bamboo manufacturers have been coming out with new products such as stranded bamboo that can be almost twice as hard as regular bamboo. For a comprehensive list of many different wood hardness ratings check out this site listing the Janka hardness ratings of different woods.
Of course, choosing the right hardness is important when it comes to your new floors but it is also important that you like the way they look. Hardwood floors and bamboo floors will end up having very different appearances. Bamboo is actually a member of the grass family, not the tree family. It is this attribute that allows bamboo to grow so quickly. It is also this attribute that causes bamboo to grow without branches in tall straight stalks. This will allow bamboo boards to be produced without knots and be very uniform in color and pattern. Depending on your tastes, this can be perfect for your space and bring a uniform color and feel to your home or office. Hardwoods, on the other hand, take 10 to 20 times longer than bamboo to reach maturity. This means the patterns in hardwoods will be much more affected by the trees environment, the change in weather from year to year, where branches grow and many other variable factors. These factors are what bring out the beautiful natural grain and patterns found in many hardwoods. These grain and knot lines can create beautiful patterns and contrast in your floors that bamboo will not be able to create.
One of the biggest reasons many people choose bamboo flooring is because it is considered a green building material. The United States Green Building Council recognizes bamboo as a green building material because it is readily renewable due to its rapid growth. This is true and a great reason to choose bamboo flooring over hardwoods. For example, an oak tree in a good forest can take 60-90 years to be mature enough to harvest for lumber. Something else to consider is that most bamboo used in flooring in the US today is actually imported from other countries where bamboo grows naturally and plantations are being formed due to the recent rise in demand for bamboo.
At the end of the day, there is no clear winner in the debate between bamboo and hardwood flooring. Each type of flooring has its benefits and drawbacks so it is important for you to decide what you want in a floor as far as its hardness and character and how important a sustainable option is to you. Once you’ve made those decisions, head down to Carolina Flooring’s showroom at 3830 Dorchester Rd. in North Charleston so you can see and feel both for yourself. For more information about either hardwood or bamboo flooring, visit us online to learn more about our flooring services.
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