Stunning flooring in the home or workplace always remains a concern for most owners. As the flooring tells a lot about the aesthetic of the space, it is truly an important part of the interior. And in modern days, two popularly used materials for marvelous flooring are hardwood and bamboo. But how do you know which one to choose? That is where the confusion starts.
To judge which one is the best flooring option between bamboo and hardwood, you need to consider a lot of factors. Basically, the suitability and compatibility of the two options vary from area to area and person to person. You decide according to your preference and need. But to make an informed decision, knowing the differences between hardwood flooring and bamboo is mandatory.
When both bamboo and hardwood flooring are popular, choosing one requires you to have adequate information. This is exactly why you are here; to know the disparity and properties of these flooring options. After reading the article, you will be able to decide confidently.
So let’s start!
Hardwood Flooring Vs Bamboo: 2 Different Materials
Before you learn about the properties of hardwood and bamboo, recognize that these are two different materials. In fact, bamboo is not really a form of wood. It grows very differently than a tree.
A bunch of circular bamboo stock with leaves on the top grows together in a place. With hollow inside these cylindrical structures, these bamboo are extracted, and the outer side of the bamboo is shaped into planks. Bamboo is basically strengthened grass, not the wood we know.
On the other hand, hardwood is extracted from tree trunks. Solid wood is cut down, shaped, and processed to make hardwood planks. Hardwood is extracted from woods like oak, pine, maple, etc. These woods have irregular streaks, grains, and wormholes with no hollow, unlike bamboo. So you see, the materials are completely different.
Besides that, the texture of bamboo is silky and your hands would smoothly glide on it. But the surface of hardwood flooring is rough and irregular. But bamboo has a smooth and even surface. Note that both are available in two forms:
Engineered Bamboo And Hardwood:
The engineered form of hardwood and bamboo is a sheet of hardwood or bamboo on particle board or plywood. This formula strengthens the planks and adds some qualities to the planks.
Organic Bamboo And Hardwood:
Organic bamboo or hardwood planks are solid bamboo or hardwood shaped in planks or boards. These are solid and compact boards made from original hardwood or bamboo without any mixture of other materials.
I believe, now you have the basic idea about how hardwood flooring and bamboo are two completely different materials even though they are used for flooring.
7 Key Differences Between Hardwood And Bamboo Flooring:
As they are different materials, they have significant differences. However, note that both are popular flooring options. So before you choose, knowing the differences will help you understand which one is the right option for you. Because as I have mentioned before, choosing the right option depends on its compatibility and your preference as well as demand.
Here are 7 major factors that make hardwood flooring different from bamboo:
Bamboo flooring has a consistent design and color. Though the bamboo stripes are attached in different ways to offer a few varieties, it still has a common look. On the other hand, as hardwood flooring can be made from different wood species, the variations are vast. Also, hardwoods can be crafted in a lot of ways to give versatile looks.
The graining, streaks, and stretches are a lot more diverse in hardwood flooring than bamboo. And these variations happen naturally in hardwood. But the little variation in bamboo flooring has to be done artificially. For instance, vertical graining is done by attaching thin vertical bamboo stripes side by side. On the other hand, flat and stripe grains are made differently.
Here is a comparison table mentioning the major appearance differences:
|Parameters||Bamboo Flooring||Hardwood Flooring|
|Grain||Vertical, Flat, Strip||Multiple graining styles|
|Color||Mostly light-colored||Light, medium, dark colors are available|
|Variation||Less variation||More variation|
|Grade||No grade||Different grades|
In terms of durability, both bamboo and hardwood are good. Some finishes of bamboo flooring are, in fact, more durable than hardwood flooring. But when you compare the durability in general, hardwood flooring is considered more durable than bamboo.
Bamboo stripes are generally thin. They are glued and processed to make thicker stripes. But hardwood boards are compact and solid. Pure hardwood flooring is very durable and strong to withstand impacts and high traffic. Both engineered and solid hardwood floorings are extremely durable. But not all bamboo flooring is as durable as hardwood.
While both are more or less scratch and impact-resistant, hardwood’s performance is better. Both can be installed in high-traffic areas. But bamboo may crack and won’t last for a long time while hardwood would sustain more.
Note that the longevity of hardwood flooring is more than bamboo. While hardwood flooring may last around 100 years, bamboo flooring would last around 30 years. So definitely, hardwood has more strength and durability than bamboo.
Both hardwood and bamboo flooring require well-maintenance. If you fail to maintain the flooring, they are less likely to last for a long time. In fact, their longevity reduces with time if you don’t maintain their conditions.
The ways of maintaining hardwood and bamboo flooring are quite similar. Cleaning is the basic part of maintenance. So both the bamboo and hardwood flooring needs sweeping and mopping. No dirt should settle inside the grains as it could scratch the floor. Also, spills should be cleaned immediately to avoid staining.
However, note that hardwood flooring requires sealing once in 3 to 5 years. Also, as they can be polished and finished several times, they last longer than bamboo. Bamboo flooring can be refinished too but only a few times. This makes it last for around 35 years.
All in all, both bamboo and hardwood flooring needs proper maintenance. But hardwood would need more care to keep up the look and condition for as long as 100 years.
4. Water And Moisture Resistance:
If you are choosing bamboo or hardwood for moisture exposed areas like washroom, kitchen, basement, etc. this quality is crucial for you. Which one is more moisture resistant, bamboo or hardwood?
Bamboo is just a bit more moisture-resistant than hardwood. It absorbs water more slowly than hardwood does. Water glides smoothly over bamboo but may deposit on hardwood causing damage. But that doesn’t mean bamboo is fully water-resistant. If you don’t clean spills and water and keep the surface damp, it will be affected too.
Both hardwood and bamboo can distort, discolor, and warp with long exposure to water and moisture. Therefore, keeping them dry and clean is mandatory. However, if you use engineered hardwood, it is better than bamboo in terms of moisture resistance. Engineered bamboo is a favorable option too. But still, you have to seal the floor, refinish it, and keep it dry and clean.
I would say you should go for either engineered hardwood or engineered bamboo if the area is exposed to moisture. Now choose whichever you like in terms of look or durability.
Bamboo is cheaper than hardwood. Though a few types of bamboo are costlier than hardwood, in general, hardwood is expensive. One reason behind this is that hardwood requires more time before being reused. Once you dispose of the hardwood, it can’t be reused anytime soon. Thus it comes at a high price.
Besides, as hardwood flooring has more variation and design options, they come at a high price. With different grades, colors, and excellent durability and longevity, hardwood becomes costlier to produce. On the other hand, bamboo is cheaper as they are available in less variation. Also, its processing cost is less than hardwood flooring processing.
Here is a chart comparing the costs of hardwood flooring vs bamboo:
|Different Costs||Bamboo Flooring||Hardwood Flooring|
|Material cost||$1.50 to $11 per sq. ft||$3 to $7 per sq. ft|
|Installation cost||$2.50 to $6 per sq. ft||$3 to $5 per sq. ft|
Now the difference in prices would be more clear to you. So check the cost of different hardwood flooring and bamboo before you choose.
The installation procedures for bamboo and hardwood flooring are the same. Click and lock system is available for both options. This system creates a floating floor on the subfloor and is easy to install and remove. Consequently, any DIY worker would love this method which is applicable for both options.
Another method to install hardwood and bamboo flooring is to glue them down. This installs the planks permanently to the subfloor making them difficult to remove. But one difference here is that hardwood planks can be nailed down to the subfloor while you can’t nail down the bamboo strips.
The installation cost for hardwood flooring is more than the installation cost for bamboo. Note that gluing and nailing down of the planks should be done by an expert. These methods are a bit complicated.
If you are a person who thinks of sustainability, you should know this point. The eco-friendliness of the flooring should be examined in that case. And you would be happy to know that both hardwood and bamboo flooring can be renewed and reused.
However, harvesting hardwood flooring needs more time than harvesting bamboo. So we can say that bamboo is more eco-friendly than hardwood. But fortunately, in the long term, hardwood flooring can be renewed, recycled, and reused. In fact, we get reclaimed hardwood which is made from leftover hardwood planks.
Both bamboo and hardwood produce only a little VOC during their production. But considering all the dimensions, bamboo is more eco-friendly than hardwood flooring.
Is Bamboo Better For Kitchen Flooring Than Hardwood?
If you are looking for economical yet beautiful flooring for your kitchen, bamboo should be your first consideration. It has quite a good moisture resistance which is mostly better than hardwood.
But if you can invest a bit more and want long-lasting kitchen flooring, invest in hardwood flooring. With regular maintenance and sealing, hardwood flooring would last longer than bamboo in the kitchen condition.
It is solid and more durable than bamboo with similar moisture resistance as bamboo. If your budget is low, go for bamboo. Otherwise, hardwood flooring would be better for your kitchen flooring.
Is Bamboo More Scratch Resistant Than Hardwood?
Generally, bamboo flooring is hard to scratch. It may crack or break under high impact but won’t scratch easily. This is an advantage of using bamboo flooring.
While hardwood flooring can show scratches very easily, bamboo flooring shows fewer scratches. It is at least 2 to 3 times more scratch-resistant than hardwood flooring. As the surface of bamboo is naturally smooth, it can’t be scratched easily. Because sharp objects can’t sit on the surface, unlike hardwood flooring. Thus bamboo is more scratch-resistant than hardwood.
Is Bamboo As Durable As Hardwood Flooring?
Only a few high-quality bamboo finishes are as durable as hardwood flooring. But normal bamboo planks are not as durable as hardwood flooring.
Most hardwood floorings are more durable than bamboo. As hardwood flooring is available in different thicknesses, grades, and crafting, it shows different levels of durability. But its compactness and solid structure naturally make it more durable than bamboo.
On the other hand, bamboo sheets are thin and not as compact as hardwood. After thorough processing, only a few types of bamboo become as durable as hardwood.
Does Hardwood Flooring Last More Than Bamboo?
Hardwood flooring is more compact, durable, and solid than bamboo. It is naturally a stronger flooring material than bamboo. And after proper polishing and processing, hardwood flooring provides a longer-lasting service than bamboo.
While bamboo also offers favorable service, it can’t last as long as hardwood flooring can. Bamboo flooring can last between 20 to 30 years. If the maintenance is excellent, it can last up to 35 years. In contrast, hardwood flooring lasts around 100 years if maintained properly. Therefore yes, hardwood flooring lasts more than bamboo flooring.
How Does Bamboo Flooring Compare To Hardwood?
Bamboo flooring and hardwood flooring, both are favorable flooring options. But there are notable differences between the two.
While bamboo flooring is less durable than hardwood, it is cheaper than hardwood. Hardwood has a lot of look variation but bamboo has limited design options. Both are strong enough to be installed in high-traffic areas. But hardwood flooring lasts longer than bamboo flooring.
Is Bamboo Stronger Than Hardwood?
Bamboo stripes are generally stronger than most hardwood planks. However, after proper processing, hardwood can become stronger than bamboo.
But the planks that are used for flooring are very different from the original material. Hardwood planks are very strong and compact. Bamboo stripes are strong too and suitable for high-traffic areas. They won’t break or scratch easily. But hardwood may get scratches easily. So yes, bamboo is generally stronger than hardwood.
Is Bamboo Flooring Softer Than Hardwood?
Neither bamboo nor hardwood is a soft flooring option. While many have the misconception that bamboo is softer than hardwood, it is not true.
Bamboo has stronger fibers than hardwood. Though the life of bamboo is shorter than hardwood, it is strong enough to withstand high impacts and pressures. It is not soft or fragile at all. They are generally thin but that doesn’t make them softer than hardwood. In fact, bamboo is more scratch-resistant than hardwood.
So we can conclude that bamboo is not softer than hardwood.
Is Bamboo A Good Alternative To Hardwood?
If you are finding a substitute for hardwood, bamboo is a favorable option. In fact, it would provide excellent service for up to 30-35 years.
Bamboo is durable, strong, and aesthetically pleasing. The qualities of hardwood are more or less present in bamboo flooring. So yes, you can use bamboo flooring as an alternative to hardwood flooring.
Which One To Choose, Hardwood Flooring Or Bamboo?
Both bamboo and hardwood flooring are reliable flooring options. And it totally depends on your preference whether you like bamboo or hardwood. But to assist you a bit, here are a few tips:
- If you want eco-friendly and inexpensive flooring options, go for bamboo flooring. It would last for about 30 years and offer good service.
- For a long-lasting and durable flooring option, hardwood flooring should be your choice.
- If you are looking for endless design and color variation, hardwood flooring is the right choice for you.
These are three parameters that you should judge before choosing the right option. But in most of the factors, hardwood flooring would win. On this point, I may say, hardwood flooring is a better option than bamboo.
To conclude, I would suggest reading the differences once again before you decide. See, both are good flooring options. It totally depends on what you need and want.
Recognizing the differences in properties, choose one between hardwood and bamboo.