There are so many types and varieties of flooring options available in the market today. Moreover, with several types of finishes and styles, choosing a flooring material for your home often becomes a daunting task. If you’ve already narrowed your focus and decided to go for either bamboo flooring or engineered hardwood, we can help you make a better-informed decision. In this blog, we’ll see the pros and cons of both these types of flooring.
What is Bamboo Flooring?
Modern bamboo flooring planks are composed of strands of raw bamboo that are weaved together by machine, compressed with adhesive and pressed. Before weaving, the strips are boiled to remove starch and sugar and then dried.
The colour of natural bamboo is blond. It contains no added stains. To get darker colours, bamboo is carbonized (carbonized bamboo) where the strands are boiled for a longer time to get the sugars in the plant to caramelize. The longer it’s boiled, the more caramelized it becomes, imparting darker shades of colours.
The other colour types available are tiger bamboo (a combination of natural and caramelized bamboo strips to create a tiger stripes pattern); stained bamboo (treated with wood stains to get colour varieties); and direct print bamboo (patterns seen on other hardwood types like oak or cherry are printed on the bamboo to give it a look like hardwood).
Bamboo Flooring Pros
- It’s available in various colours, grains, surface textures and installation types.
- It’s highly durable with a Janka hardness ranging from 1,400 – 4,000 and upwards depending on the built and manufacturing techniques. It’s harder than most hardwoods.
- It’s easy to clean and maintain. A soft bristled broom and a semi-damp mop are all that you need.
- It’s resistant to insects, bugs, mold and mildew, promoting hypo-allergenic indoor air quality.
- It’s suitable if you have pets in your home as it’s resilient to wear and tear.
- It’s eco-friendly and economical. It costs much less than hardwood floors.
- Strand-woven bamboo flooring doesn’t require refinishes. Meaning there are no toxic fumes from sealants associated.
- The average life span of bamboo flooring ranges from 20-25 years. With proper maintenance, its life can be extended to 50 years.
Bamboo Flooring Cons
- There’s no official grading for bamboo. So, it’s difficult to be sure of its quality.
- If the boiling, steaming and drying processes are not conducted properly by the manufacturer, it may result in shrinkage of the planks.
- Most bamboo hails from China where there are no government rules and regulations for environment-friendly practices. Even if bamboo is a greener option, the importing location of the raw materials/importer should be researched before buying.
What is Engineered Hardwood Flooring?
Engineered hardwood flooring is made of several layers of high-density plywood or fibreboard (HDF) substrate, or a core that’s glued below a top layer of hardwood veneer.
Engineered Hardwood Pros
- It’s available in a wide range of species, colours, styles and grades.
- It looks like solid hardwood.
- It’s very durable as several layers are bonded together.
- It’s easy to install and you can do it yourself, unlike bamboo flooring.
- It doesn’t warp and is more resistant to heat and moisture compared to solid hardwood.
- Depending on the thickness of the top layer, it can be sanded and refinished multiple times. The typical life span of this flooring is 20-30 years.
- It’s less expensive than solid hardwood.
Engineered Hardwood Cons
- Some types may have very thin top layers of hardwood veneer which makes sanding and refinishing difficult to impossible.
- The adhesives used to bond the layers may weaken over time and separate.
- Since the top layer is hardwood, it may not be suitable for your home if you own a pet. It depends on the type of hardwood used.
It’s difficult to decide which one’s the winner. Both flooring types are highly durable, look great and are economical compared to solid hardwood flooring. Before you choose, spend time researching to find which one fits your needs best.