Updated: November 2017

Bamboo Flooring Installation:

If you are in the market for hardwood floors then you should take a look at bamboo floors. Bamboo hardwood floors are actually not wood at all as bamboo is a grass. The feel and look you get from bamboo flooring is very similar to other hardwoods like oak and maple. The one reason why bamboo has become so popular in recent years as a flooring option is because it's an environmentally friendly "green" product. Bamboo will regenerate without having to replant and the bamboo shoots are strong and hard for a grass. Asia has been using bamboo for centuries and much of the bamboo flooring we buy in America comes from China. Unfortunately as the demand has shot up more forests have been cut down to plant bamboo which then tarnishes its image going forward. Nevertheless, bamboo is still a great option if you want new hardwood floors. We were looking to replace our hallway carpets with something different so we decided to go with bamboo and the results have been great.

The total area was about 200 square feet of hallway and we did the demo work ourselves to save a few bucks. Tearing out carpet is not that hard and can cut the cost of the project for DIY homeowners. Actually the laying of bamboo hardwood floors is not that hard either as I watched the contractor do the work myself. Next time I am considering taking on the chore myself. The laminated bamboo came with tongue and groove on all 4 sides so the installation was quite easy. There are 2 colors to choose from when ordering the bamboo - either the natural blonde or carbonized. The carbonized bamboo flooring has a darker amber color but you need to realize that the bamboo was pressure cooked to get this result and experts told us that this process makes the wood "softer". Don't try nailing the standard bamboo strips with a flooring nailer as this will damage them. A pneumatic finish nailer is required instead. The pre-finished flooring is beautiful and goes down in a day. Durability is considered to be about the same as you get with oak or maple hardwoods. Another benefit that our installer told us is that the density of the bamboo is so great that refinishing the floors is something we'll have to do less often than those with other hardwood floor materials. Since we've only had the floors for about a year we will have to see how they hold up over time.

Bamboo Flooring Prices:

The big question for most homeowners whenever they are doing a project is - What is the cost? The price to install bamboo floors runs about $8 per square foot. The cost for the bamboo flooring itself is generally $4 to $6 a square foot and then you need to consider labor. For a 12 x 12 room you are looking at roughly $600 to $900 for materials. We were lucky to have an experience hardwood floor installer do our work. He was desperate for work in the recession and gave us a huge break on labor costs. I think he charged about $30/hr versus the typical $50/hr+ of not loo long ago. I am not a "green" person by a longshot but getting the bamboo floors has been a good experience and something we will consider in the future as we redo more of the flooring in our house.

Bamboo Flooring Pros and Cons :

No matter what you have heard about bamboo flooring and it's benefits to the environment, keep in mind that there are some downfalls and problems associated with the flooring option. The pros are several for bamboo floors - it's a renewable resource as it matures in 3 years versus decades for an oak tree, requires minimal pesticides or fertilizers, and the cost is very reasonable compared to some of the higher priced hardwoods on the market. I say they look and feel pretty much the same as other traditional hardwood floors as well. When it comes to the bamboo flooring problems, there are a few you need to consider. The durability can ben an issue as many have bragged that bamboo is tough and hard. Many contractors have postings online claiming differently and the guy who installed our bamboo floors mentioned that they do dent, scratch, and become damaged when high heels are walked on them. The carbonized bamboo floors are popular since they are darker in color (like black walnut), but this variety is "soft" by industry standards. Bamboo hardwoods are great, don't get us wrong, but don't listen to people who tell you they are going to be harder or have greater durability than standard wood flooring.