Hardwood flooring is a popular option for most homeowners because of its beauty and durability. Bamboo is another great option that has grown in popularity over the years because of its durability and cheaper price. If you’re looking for new flooring to install, hardwood and bamboo flooring are good options.
However, each of these has its own pros and cons. In this article, we’ll discuss and compare hardwood and bamboo flooring to help you make an informative decision on your next flooring.
Contrary to what many people believe, bamboo flooring does not come from a tree. Bamboo is hardened grass that grows in tropical areas with high rainfall. It grows much faster than hardwood trees and still makes one of the most durable flooring available at a cheaper price.
Bamboo flooring comes in different varieties, such as natural state, carbonized state, vertical and horizontal, and strand woven. Carbonization of bamboo is a process that involves placing bamboo in high heat and pressure. The process changes the color but slightly weakens the bamboo flooring. Strand woven bamboo is the strongest and hardest variety of bamboo flooring and compares even to some very hard hardwoods.
Read more about the pros and cons of bamboo flooring to learn more about its varieties, cost, top brands, and much more.
Hardwood flooring comes from hardwood trees, such as Brazilian cherry, hickory, acacia, maple, ash, walnut, etc. The different hardwood trees give hardwood flooring more variety, color, grain, and texture for a homeowner to choose from.
Hardwood flooring also comes as engineered hardwood flooring. Engineered hardwood flooring uses a piece of hardwood bonded over plywood layers, which gives it excellent stability. They are much cheaper than hardwood flooring, are easy to install, and can last up to 30 years.
Because of the different varieties of hardwood flooring, they differ in cost, durability, hardness, and many other properties. For a homeowner looking to install hardwood flooring, you’ll get more variety, color shades, grain and texture, and much more than bamboo flooring.
Check out our in-depth guide on types of hardwood flooring to learn more about their appearance, durability, cost differences, much more.
Bamboo vs. Hardwood Flooring
Appearance & Diversity
With hardwood flooring, you get more diversity and, therefore, different appearances. Each hardwood tree has its own unique look, feel, grain, and texture patterns. Hardwood trees can also be cut differently to produce different levels of grain and texture. So many trees are available, including exotic ones, which gives a homeowner the freedom to choose the look you want.
Bamboo also has some different varieties and can be cut and arranged differently. The main types of bamboo varieties are vertical-grained, flat-grained, stranded, and you also get carbonized bamboo flooring.
Vertical grain is made by gluing narrow strips of bamboo together. Flat-grained or horizontal are flat layers of bamboo glued together, like how plywood is made. Stranded bamboo flooring features bamboo fibers glued together by a resin. Carbonized bamboo is made by heating bamboo in high pressure to change its color.
Durability & Hardness
Their hardness and durability also vary with the different varieties of hardwood trees. Popular hardwood floorings such as maple, oak, ash, mahogany, hickory, and teak have a Janka hardness of 1450, 1360, 1320, 1820, 900, and 2330 respectively.
The different hardwood species also have different qualities that make them more durable than others. When choosing hardwood flooring, make sure to check its durability and resistance to different elements before making a decision.
Bamboo is also a durable flooring that rivals hardwood flooring. Strand woven bamboo flooring is the hardest, with a Janka rating of about 4000. This is even harder than some hardwood flooring, such as Brazilian walnut, Brazilian teak, and Brazilian ebony, with a Janka rating of 3684, 3540, and 3692, respectively.
However, in its natural state, bamboo has a Janka hardness of 1300 to 1400 and 1000 to 1100 when carbonized. Those ratings are still high and comparable to some hardwood flooring, such as walnut and ash.
Resistance to Different Elements
Both bamboo and hardwood flooring are resistant to different elements, such as scratching, denting, and moisture resistance. When properly finished, these floorings can stand up very well to different elements without much damage. They are also susceptible to being damaged when not taken care of and left unfinished.
Maintenance & Refinishing
When treated and finished properly, bamboo and hardwood flooring are both very easy to maintain. Avoid using harsh products, and use a softer brush or vacuum cleaner to avoid scratching or denting the floor. In case of water or any liquid spillage, wipe it off as soon as possible to avoid damage. Avoid dragging furniture across the floor and use furniture or chair floor protectors under heavy and moving furniture.
Bamboo and solid hardwood can all be refinished in case of damage. However, the number of times a flooring can be refinished will depend on its thickness. Because both bamboo and hardwood flooring can be available in varying thicknesses, they can easily be refinished to a new-looking floor. However, check on your manufacturer’s guidelines on how to go about it and the proper way to do it.
Bamboo is a very sustainable flooring choice when compared to hardwood flooring. It is grass, regenerates faster, and consumes more carbon dioxide than hardwoods. Hardwoods take longer to grow, about 20 years for softer hardwoods and over 50 years for harder hardwoods.
Bamboo, in comparison, takes only five to seven years to grow and be harvested for use fully. Once harvested, you also don’t need to replant because the root system produces new shoots.
Overall, if you want greener flooring, go for bamboo flooring. Cutting down hardwoods is harder to recycle in an environmentally conscious way, especially considering how long they take to grow.
If you want budget-friendly flooring, bamboo is your best option. It is usually cheaper than most hardwood flooring at about $3 per square foot. Hardwood flooring ranges from $4 to $8, and some exotic hardwood flooring can cost more than $10 per square foot.