Both bamboo flooring and engineered hardwood flooring are vastly popular flooring options. They are both reliable, stable, and sustainable flooring choices. But when it comes to choosing one among the two, people get perplexed. Because then comes the comparison on which one is better than the other, bamboo or engineered hardwood?
The only way to wash away this confusion is to learn well about the two available options. If you have already made your mind that you would either choose bamboo flooring or engineered hardwood, you are a step ahead. Now, you should identify the differences in qualities and properties to finalize. And to help you decide, I am here to talk about bamboo and engineered hardwood flooring.
For all who are struggling to decide between hardwood flooring and bamboo, this article is for you. In this article, I will be discussing all you should know about these options before giving your final verdict. Thus to make an informed decision, stay with me and learn the most about these options.
Bamboo Vs Engineered Hardwood: 9 Key Differences To Note Down
Without any delay, let me tell you that bamboo and engineered hardwood are made very differently. These are completely different flooring materials and thus, their properties vary. However, bamboo is often used as a substitute for hardwood flooring due to its shiny wood-like texture.
Now, let’s focus on the 9 key differences between engineered hardwood and bamboo:
Bamboo flooring is made from the extraction of bamboo stalks. The circular bamboo strands are shredded, bathed, and dried, to take out the bamboo fibers. These bamboo fibers are bonded differently to make different types of bamboo floorings like stranded, vertical, or horizontal.
On the other hand, engineered hardwood flooring has a lot of variations. Almost all species of wood can be transformed into engineered hardwood. All that is done is to put a thick layer of particleboard beneath a sheet of hardwood. This keeps the look of hardwood but it is no longer a solid hardwood due to the particleboard.
So you see, bamboo flooring is completely natural while engineered hardwood has particleboard mixed in it. Note that the characteristics of engineered hardwood differ vastly as different types of hardwood sheets can be used on the particleboard.
While judging the appearance of bamboo and engineered hardwood flooring, it is difficult to say which one is better. Both are aesthetically valuable and pleasing. It depends on your choice and interior which one would suit you better.
In general, the design and pattern versatility in engineered hardwood is more than bamboo flooring. Bamboo flooring has a monotonous stretchy effect with a light shade. You will get light to medium color shades in bamboo flooring with similar types of grains, streaks, and scrapes. Not much versatility is shown in bamboo.
On the other hand, light to dark shades of engineered hardwoods are available. Different hardwood species also have different design characteristics that expand the diversity. With random and haphazard grains, wormholes, and streaks, engineered hardwood gives a more unique and impressive look.
However, people loving calming, consistent, neat, and sound flooring would love bamboo. Otherwise, you are more likely to like the appearance of engineered hardwood flooring.
Both engineered hardwood and bamboo are extremely durable. But both are vulnerable in certain conditions. For instance, engineered hardwood is more compatible in damp areas than bamboo flooring.
As different species of hardwood are used on engineered flooring, the durability depends on the species. Engineered hardwood planks made with hickory, teak, walnut, or cherry are extremely durable and resistant to dents and scratches. But if you use other woods like pine or maple, they are more susceptible to scratches and damages.
Bamboo, in general, is very durable and resistant to scratches, dents, breakages, or cracks. With a Janka hardness rating of 3000, bamboo can be stated as a hard and durable flooring material. But when it comes to water resistance, engineered hardwood wins the race.
Last but not least, engineered hardwood would last longer than bamboo flooring. Engineered hardwood can last more than 40 years while bamboo flooring would start deteriorating after 25- 35 years. If maintained properly, hardwood flooring can last up to 100 years and bamboo can survive up to 50 years. So in general, engineered hardwood would last longer.
Installation procedures for bamboo and engineered hardwood flooring are the same. Both the options can be nailed, glued down to the subfloor, or installed in the click and lock method.
If you want floating flooring, you will have to go for the click and lock method. For a permanent engineered hardwood or bamboo flooring, you will have to use high-quality flooring adhesives for gluing or nailing down the flooring. For DIY lovers, the click and lock system is preferable.
Neither engineered hardwood nor bamboo flooring requires an even subfloor for installation. So in terms of installation, both are on the same page.
5. Maintenance And Cleaning:
Fortunately, cleaning and maintaining procedures for engineered hardwood and bamboo flooring are similar and pretty simple. They are not really difficult to take care of but should be cleaned regularly for long-lasting service.
Sweeping or vacuum cleaning the floor is the basic to maintain the floor. Specs of dirt may discolor the floor and even leave scratches. Besides, you should mop the bamboo and engineered hardwood floor twice to thrice a week with a very mild cleaning agent like dishwashing liquid. If you can use a specialized cleaner, the results would be better.
Other than that, you may need to refinish, polish, and seal the engineered hardwood flooring from time to time. Some may also need waxing the surface. All these maintenance steps are done to keep the shine and beauty intact for a long time. Also, these treatments prevent water and denting damage on the wood.
In contrast, bamboo flooring can be sealed only if it is in a damp place. Otherwise, sealing or polishing it is not mandatory. You can, however, consider doing it to keep up the gloss and smoothness of the bamboo flooring.
If you want a straight verdict on this, bamboo is a more eco-friendly and green flooring option than engineered hardwood. It is because bamboo grows faster than trees from which hardwood is extracted. So it can be grown again after extraction. Also, bamboo flooring is biodegradable which means it won’t harm the environment. Moreover, installing bamboo flooring releases only a minimal VOC.
In contrast, hardwood trees are very rare and need more time to grow all over again after cutting down. The plywood beneath the engineered hardwood makes recycling difficult. Also, the engineered hardwood planks are very difficult to degrade due to the mixtures in them. Installation of engineered hardwood does release toxic fumes and dust that are harmful to the environment and health.
So it is evident that bamboo flooring is more eco-friendly than engineered hardwood flooring. It is more ecologically sustainable than engineered hardwood.
The cost of engineered hardwood flooring is more than bamboo flooring. The overall production cost and raw material expenses for making engineered hardwood are more than manufacturing bamboo planks.
Bamboo flooring is all-natural and there is no need to mix any extra element to it. In contrast, engineered hardwood flooring has a mixture of plywood in it. Also, the different species of hardwood would create variations in prices. The production cost of engineered hardwood flooring is expensive as well. In fact, hardwood itself is an expensive material than bamboo.
Bamboo flooring is cheaper than engineered hardwood. Both the installation and material cost of bamboo flooring is less than engineered hardwood. Here is a chart mentioning the material and installation cost of engineered hardwood and bamboo:
|Parameters||Engineered Hardwood||Bamboo Flooring|
|Material Cost||$3- $13 per sq. ft||$5- $7 per sq. ft|
|Installation Cost||$3- $10 per sq. ft||$4- $6 per sq. ft|
8. Refinishing Scopes:
Refinishing scopes should be known as they can expand the longevity of the flooring. If the flooring can be refinished and polished after installation, the damages and scratches can be scraped off from the surface.
In most of the engineered hardwood floorings, refinishing can be done. Hardwood floorings are always compatible with polishing, sealing, and refinishing. These scopes remain present in engineered hardwood as well. Also, a few types of bamboo floorings have the scope of refinishing too.
The hardest types of bamboo flooring can be refinished to make it last longer. Refinishing the bamboo flooring means removing the damages and scratches. As you remove them, the shiny effect of bamboo comes back.
Therefore, engineered hardwood flooring has more scopes of refinishing than bamboo flooring.
9. Moisture Resistance:
Okay, so if you are worried about the damp spaces in the house or office, you should check the moisture resistance of these materials. My observation says bamboo is a better option than engineered hardwood in terms of moisture resistance.
You must be thinking that engineered hardwood is known for its water resistance. Then why bamboo? Actually, both are moderately moisture resistant. But if compared between the two, bamboo is better. This is because bamboo has natural water-resistance properties. With a protective coating on it, bamboo flooring would survive well in damp conditions.
But hardwood is always slightly susceptible to moisture. The lower layer is added so that the water can’t sweep down to the plywood. But in case this happens, the plywood would swell and the plank will distort or warp. Though moisture exposure can’t damage engineered hardwood, water spills for a long time would damage the hardwood.
Note that bamboo flooring won’t get affected even if you don’t clean water spills for 30 hours. That is actually a big deal! So yes, bamboo flooring is more water-resistant than engineered hardwood flooring.
Frequently Asked Questions:
Is Bamboo More Scratch Resistant Than Engineered Hardwood?
Yes, bamboo is more scratch-resistant than engineered hardwood. Remember that though the base of the planks is altered, the upper layer is still the hardwood. And hardwoods are generally more susceptible to scratches than bamboo.
Bamboo is a very hard and durable flooring material. They are very difficult to dent or scratch. In contrast, most hardwood floorings rank below bamboo on the Janka hardness scale. This clearly shows that most engineered hardwoods would be less durable and scratch-resistant than bamboo.
So if you need a pet-friendly flooring option, you should choose bamboo flooring over the engineered hardwood flooring.
Which Is Better For Kitchen, Engineered Hardwood Or Bamboo?
If you are considering the appearance and beauty of the flooring, you would definitely choose engineered hardwood flooring. But if moisture resistance is your concern, bamboo is a better option.
Both bamboo and engineered hardwood are fairly moisture resistant. But if cleaning is occasional in your home, you will love to have bamboo flooring in the kitchen. It is more moisture and water-resistant than engineered hardwood and can perform well in such conditions. On the other hand, engineered hardwood may warp if exposed to water for a long time.
I would suggest you have bamboo flooring in the kitchen to stay on the safe side.
Which Has Better Resale Value- Bamboo Or Engineered Hardwood?
Engineered hardwood has a solid and attractive look which costs more to install. In contrast, bamboo flooring has a smooth, beautiful, yet monotonous look at a cheaper price. This determines the resale value.
Generally, engineered hardwood has a better resale value than bamboo flooring. The classic and exotic look of hardwood is irreplaceable. With the added benefit of the plywood base beneath the hardwood sheet, the resale value increases even more. On the other hand, bamboo flooring is aesthetically calming and neat. But as its value is less, its resale value is lesser than engineered hardwood flooring.
Therefore, if you are determining the resale value of the flooring, engineered hardwood is a better choice than bamboo.
Do You Need To Acclimate Engineered Hardwood And Bamboo?
Both engineered hardwood and bamboo would need acclimation to adapt to the moisture content in the area. So you are not getting any disparity in this term.
However, bamboo flooring would need around 3 days to acclimate before installation. As they are capable of staying in damp areas, they need very minimal time to reach the equilibrium point. In contrast, the acclimation time for engineered hardwood depends on the species. Some may even require weeks to acclimate while normally, it needs 3 days to adapt to the moisture content.
Therefore, both bamboo and engineered hardwood flooring need to acclimate.
Is Engineered Or Solid Bamboo Better?
If you compare solid bamboo and engineered bamboo flooring, engineered bamboo will be the winner.
Engineered bamboo is much stronger and durable than solid bamboo flooring. Especially if you want a floating floor, engineered bamboo will provide more stability and give a flat and even surface. Also, engineered bamboo flooring has better moisture resistance than solid bamboo. Moreover, the look remains the same even if you install engineered bamboo.
Therefore, engineered bamboo flooring is better than solid bamboo flooring.
Is Bamboo Flooring Considered An Engineered Hardwood?
Bamboo flooring is completely different from engineered hardwood. So there is no chance of mixing between the two.
Though bamboo and engineered hardwood have similar appearances (wood-like), they are different in properties. While bamboo is completely natural, engineered hardwood is specially crafted with a layer of particleboard.
Their features and specifications are very distinct and thus there is no way to consider bamboo flooring as engineered hardwood.
In some aspects, bamboo flooring is winning the race. In other parameters, engineered hardwood becomes the better competitor. So now, it is your task to judge the parameter carefully and understand which one would be better for you.
Reread the article, note down the differences, and decide whether bamboo or engineered hardwood is a suitable flooring option.