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Bamboo Flooring Pros and Cons

bamboo flooring

Bamboo has become an increasingly popular flooring option in new homes and in renovations. Before you’re able to decide whether or not to install it, it is important to know and understand all of the bamboo flooring pros and cons.

Bamboo Flooring Pros

There are many advantages to bamboo including environmental friendliness, durability, suitability, cost, variety of styles, warmth, and ease of maintenance. For many, these pros make the choice to use bamboo an easy one.

Environmentally Friendly

Bamboo is an excellent choice for those who are interested in building a “green” home or place of business. It is one of the most environmentally friendly options for flooring on the market. It is made from a type of grass, so it grows quickly in comparison to wood. It continues to grow without needing to be replanted, so it is highly renewable. For those who are worried about moisture and insects, the bamboo used for flooring is treated against them, and does not use harsh chemicals or pesticides in the process.

Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) uses the Green Building Rating System developed by the United States Green Building Council (USGBC) as a set of standards regarding the environmentally friendliness of a particular building. The organization certifies buildings as “green” and looks at bamboo flooring as one of the best flooring options for this status.

Bamboo flooring is made from the Moso species of bamboo, meaning it is completely different than what pandas and other animals eat. This protects food sources for wildlife.


The Janka Hardness Scale, used to determine the hardness and strength of particular species of wood, rates solid bamboo flooring as a 1762 and engineered bamboo flooring ranks at a 1690, making both choices harder than both Red and White Oaks, Caribbean and North American Walnut, and Brazilian and North American Maple, among others. The Janka Hardness Scale rating is determined by how much force it takes to drive a .444-inch steel ball into a plank of wood .222 inches in diameter. The higher the rating on the scale, the harder and thus more durable the flooring is expected to be.

Bamboo flooring is a highly durable flooring choice for any location subjected to extensive usage and can stand up very well to the abrasion caused by children and pets. It is tough enough to resist the impact of falling objects in the kitchen, as well as in high traffic areas such as the living rooms and hallways.

Bamboo has a greater compressive strength than concrete and about the same strength-to-weight ratio as steel when subject to tension, yet it kinder to the body. When compared to standing on hardwood or concrete, the legs, feet, and knees do not experience as much strain and stress while standing on bamboo.

Climatic Suitability

bamboo flooring pros

Compared to hardwood and other flooring options, bamboo has a high climatic suitability because it grows in the tropics. This makes it a suitable option for the kitchen and laundry rooms, areas where hardwood does not work so well. Bamboo also does well in both arid and humid climates because it does not swell and contract like hardwood.

Cost Effective

When considering the durability of the flooring combined with the looks, and eco-friendly factor, bamboo flooring is one of the most cost effective options for a home because it is less likely to need repair in the long run. This is certainly one of the greatest bamboo flooring pros in the list.


No matter what taste there is to consider, bamboo flooring has an option guaranteed to please. The natural grain provides a unique look, and there are three main options for color: natural bamboo—light blonde color, carbonized bamboo—darker in color because the sugars in the plant caramelize due to longer boiling times, and stained bamboo—colored with a variety of stains available in light, medium, and dark shades.

For those who want the strength and durability of bamboo with the look of another type of floor, direct print bamboo is an option. Before this flooring is sealed, the pattern of another type of flooring, such as oak or cherry, is printed on. Regardless, there is a bamboo flooring choice to suit any décor.


Bamboo flooring adds an extra touch to the home, providing a comfortable feeling because of the natural look and feel of the material. The naturally attractive material may even evoke a sense of serenity.


Another selling point for bamboo flooring is how easy it is to take care of. Special cleaning agents are not needed and in fact should be avoided. Simply sweeping the floor is usually enough to clean it though sometimes, a damp mop can be used. The mop should not be too wet, as this could damage the flooring.

Bamboo Flooring Cons

bamboo flooring

While the advantages certainly outweigh the disadvantages of bamboo, it’s important to acknowledge both the pros and cons.  One disadvantage is, it cannot be installed in high-moisture rooms in the home and can be difficult to cut if you are not using the correct saw blade (a cross-cut blade works best).

Cannot Install Throughout the Home

While the durable flooring is suitable for high traffic areas, the kitchen and the laundry room, it is not suitable for outdoor use or in areas of the home susceptible to large amounts of moisture.

Where to Install Bamboo Flooring

Bamboo flooring can be installed in almost any room, above or below the ground, over wood, OSB (Oriented Strand Board), and existing vinyl flooring. Focus on high traffic areas such as the living room, and hallways, as well as areas prone to scratching and denting, such as the kitchen, laundry room, and bedrooms.

Where Bamboo Should Not Be Installed

Bamboo flooring is not suitable in areas prone to excessive wetness such as bathrooms. Avoid outdoor areas or areas that require wet mopping. Extended exposure to moisture can cause a bamboo flooring to warp, bend, or swell.

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(91) Comments

  1. What kind of flooring can be used in the bathroom? Laminate, cork and bamboo all say not to use in bathrooms. I have had 3 spinal fusions and can’t have hard flooring such as ceramic tile in my house. Thanks.

  2. Claudia Bonfante

    Many others have asked about pet accidents and vomit mishaps and for some reason you have not addressed this question. Please post or send me a reply to those concerns!

  3. Bamboo is definitely a luxury material for many uses, I noticed that a lot of people are curious about accidents/pet stains in the house.

    As worrisome as stains are, bamboo actually does quite well combating them. Since it is a more natural material, you can use traditional cleaning methods as the one im about to explain, regarding salt and lemon.

    Simply wet the stained area (do not just pour water on it, it’s bad for the bamboo) but soak it with a wet cloth or towel. Once the stained area is wet/moist apply course salt and lemon juice (squeeze about half a lemon on the area). With the lemon half you squeezed work in the juice with the salt until it becomes almost of a paste and let it sit on the area. Once the paste is set simply just wipe the area with a damp/wet cloth and your stain will be gone.

    This has worked for me beautifully in the past and doesn’t damage your beautiful bamboo flooring.

    Cheers 🙂

  4. Again, there are several comments regarding pets, etc. that have no responses from 10-25-2010 to 4-7-2013. Are these being ignored or are the responses just not listed? I have an 85# Pit Bull & 125# Chocolate Lab, and once they get moving it’s like a herd of elephants. I currently have Oak Hardwood Parquet & it is totally scratched up. We’ve also added my 1 year old great-granddaughter to the very full household, so I am looking for something that will standup to wear, tear & heavy traffic without needing refinishing every time I turn around. A response would be greatly appreciated

  5. I’d like to know the answer to the pet stain questions. There have been answers to other questions but none to the pet stains – maybe that is the answer. At this point I am ruling out bamboo.

  6. How would bamboo floors be for a room geared toward having exercise, dance and yoga classes where shoes will both be worn and other classes are barefoot?

  7. I still have not seen any coments about pet stains, WHY? Also, since it is solid, can it be sanded and or refinished?

  8. I’m also interested in how the different varieties of bamboo will hold up with pets and small children. I have an 11 month old boy and an 8 month old shepherd/boxer mix.

    I’m looking to purchase 1100+ sqft of bamboo flooring in the near future. We are planning to pull up our old carpeting and glue the new floors down to the concrete. Since we live in Florida are there any specific moisture barrier recommendations?

  9. can you please tell me if standed bamboo can be installed over concrete floor that has hot water radiant heat

  10. We are also considering bamboo flooring throughout the house (we live in the Caribbean) however we have a house full of kids and animals and would be very interested in receiving an answer to the multiple questions above regarding pets and bamboo.

    I would be grateful if you could please advise if bamboo flooring can withstand pet urine, scratches etc.

    Many thanks!

  11. We are considering bamboo flooring in our home. We have a old Victorian home built in the 1800s. The issue that we are having is that we have baseboard heating. All contractors state that in order to use real hard wood flooring we will have to get the base board heating moved up, the crown molding redone, and our kitchen cabinets pulled up to fit the width needed for the hardwood installation. They recommend that we use a engineer hardwood due to its thickness. I am fearful of doing this because I heard that it scratches easily. I love the look of the bamboo floors. How thick is the bamboo floors?

  12. We are really interested and excited in bamboo flooring, but there seems to be no posted answers regarding pet stains, such as vomit or especially urine. How will a bamboo floor work in an area where a pet may accidentally urinate? Thank you.

    • Hi Kathie,

      You can definitely put bamboo over lanolium. You are not restricted to the type of installation either, so whether you would like to nail, glue or float the bamboo, they are all sufficient options. However, in order for the warranty to be valid you must place a vapour barrier underneath the bamboo.


  13. Hi,
    I am looking for flooring thatwould be able to withstand dialy use of both a manual and powered wheelchair, and be suitable for light use in a walking brace (+ crutch) – but not be too hard on me if I fell. It’s been suggested using carpet in the bedrooms but this would be harder work for manual chair and walking brace, and suggestion of engineered flooring (am I right in thinking this is a type of laminate with a hardwood top-part?) in the rest of the house – wet room is already done. I like the idea of bamboo flooring for eco reasons but I would be really grateful for any advice you could give me re the above.

    Many thanks

    Wendy J

    • Hi Wendy,

      You have several options here. Laminate would be durable if you get something that is at least AC3 or higher (good for high residential use and traffic). Engineered would be good too but with a manual chair and walking brace, make sure you get one of the harder wood species and a good finish (generally polly urethane with aluminum oxide finish is popular and strong).

      It’s not really accurate to say that engineered is a type of laminate with a hardwood top part, but I think I know what you mean though. Essentiallly, laminate is a completely synthetic product made out of high density fibre, while engineered has the exact look of solid hardwood but designed from several core birch ply to prevent moisture from coming in (usually more stable dimensionally than solid hardwood and can be put down over concrete subfloor and other areas where hardwood is limited).

      Bamboo flooring is great too. I would suggest a strand woven bamboo product, which is REALLY strong and durable. Janka hardness scale is around 2800+ and this timber like product is over twice as hard as regular bamboo flooring and harder than Brazillian Cherry, which is considered to be one of the stronger wood species. This would be great for manual chair and walking brace.


  14. Hi:
    I have a home on vancouver island. I plan on placing a electric radiant heat system on to top of a dricor subfloor system on top of concrete. will the stranded bamboo work over top of the system? its for my living room and kitchen area approx 575 ft2

    • Hi Brian,
      Great question and something we get asked quite often. The only strand woven bamboo that can be installed over radiant heat is the 9mm Strand Woven Bamboo which we carry.

  15. I did not see the answer about pet stains. If there are pet accidents, will that stain or discolor the Brazilian Cherry bamboo flooring? Or if a dog has some occasional stomach issues that causes it to vomit, will that stain the floor? I read where oil can stain the floor…does that also mean some kitchen grease from the stove?

  16. Is bamboo ok for radiant heat under concrete? If so, which bamboo would be best? I heard bamboo easily scratches and dents. True?? Trying to decide on the high gloss laminate or bamboo.

    • Hi Carol,

      Some types of Bamboo Flooring are compatible with radiant heated subfloors. BuildDirect has four different products that are suitable for this type of installation. Our 9mm Strand Woven Carbonized and Natural, along with our Strand Woven Click Bamboo flooring Carbonized and Natural, are radiant heat friendly.

      The durability and resistance to surface wear and tare will be dependent on the specific style of Bamboo you are looking at purchasing. A Natural and Carbonized Bamboo floor will be fairly average when compared to the durability of other wood species. A Strand Woven Bamboo Floor is twice as hard as the previous mentioned Bamboo Flooring and even harder then a Brazilian Cherry product. It is important to note that with all types of flooring, including Laminate and Bamboo, if a sharp enough object with enough force makes contact with the surface of the floor there will be scratching/denting.

      Hope this information is useful.



  17. I have a lot of pets and a 4 year old. How does the bamboo flooring hold up to scratches and potty accidents? Is there anything that can’t be used to clean the floor? Will the accidents absorb into the flooring? What would you recommend for a house full of pets and a crazy 4 your old boy. I currently have carpet and can’t wait to rip it up and put something new down!!!

  18. Can bamboo be laid on concrete slab in basement? Will the cold from the ground below be transferred to the room similar to ceramic tile or does the bamboo provide a measure of insulation? Also would like answers to earlier pet questions re: scratching and accidents.

  19. I need to know about pet stains too. My Dachound is not particularly well house trained and still has accidents. Can I just wipe up the puddles and have it stay nice.Is there any cautions I should know about. I’m wanting to get the carbonized.

  20. Is it recommended that bamboo be installed on in floor hydronics(pipes under concrete).


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