Bamboo has gained popularity in the last few years as a quality flooring material. However, unlike traditional hardwood flooring, bamboo is not a wood at all, it is actually a grass.
Bamboo can be harvested after about seven years, compared to an Oak tree which can take up to one hundred and fifty years. Even the Pine tree, with relatively fast growth, will take around twenty-five years to mature.
|Flooring Material||Harvest Time|
|Eastern Black Walnut||70 years|
|Cork (from tree bark)||25 years|
Fast growth and minimal pesticides use, means that bamboo can be classed as an eco-friendly and renewable source.
Some concerns have been raised about the suitability of bamboo in the home. Due to the adhesive methods, concerns have been raised that bamboo is not safe for babies and young children. Let’s look at this in further detail:
Look for safe adhesives
There is some criticism surrounding the formula that binds bamboo flooring together, urea formaldehyde resin. This resin is normally used in embalming, or as a bonding agent. The compound emits a strong gas and can cause headaches, skin rashes and breathing difficulties.
Not all bamboo flooring manufacturers use this formula. You can opt for manufacturers who use water-based and solvent-free formulas. Although they may be more expensive, to save your family’s health, it will be worth it. Look for trustworthy dealers who state the ingredients in their adhesive.
Bamboo is slightly more resilient to liquids than hardwood flooring, making it ideal for potty training toddlers. However, as with hardwood flooring, any accidents or spillages should be mopped up quickly.
Engineered bamboo is a strong, affordable choice. The top layer is made up of a bamboo strip, with plywood or cork making up the subsequent layers.
This is a very robust option, so ideal for families, where heavy usage is likely.
As with hardwood, there are three ways that bamboo can be fitted. Nailed or stapled down, glued down or the ‘floating installation’ method. The floating option is good for families looking to save money on installation costs, as it can be completed as a DIY project.
Bamboo can be refinished with ease. Sanding down the material and reapplying a new coat of protective varnish can be done every few years to maintain the look of your flooring and keep it sanitary and clean. This is a must for homes with children.
Like hardwood and laminate floor, bamboo is very easy to keep clean. Carpet beetles and dust mites won’t be able to live on your bamboo flooring, so you won’t need to worry about babies and crawling toddlers coming into contact with these pests.
Protect your floor by sweeping and vacuuming regularly, but be wary if your vacuum has a beater bar (pictured), as this can scratch your bamboo floor.
There are no official bodies that regulate bamboo processing in China. There is also no independent system to monitor the quality of bamboo. Manufacturers will sort the bamboo into A and B grades, but as this is not controlled, the process is entirely subjective.
This means you need to be extra careful when choosing your own bamboo flooring.
There are lots of positives to using bamboo. Provided you choose a reputable dealer that uses safe adhesives, your family won’t experience any of the negative side effects associated with formaldehyde.
Take the time to read reviews and shop around. The cheapest option is unlikely to be the best. Make sure you are confident with your supplier before parting with your money.