From style to durability to environmental impact, there are many pros and cons to consider when deciding on your wood flooring options. But if you’re looking for an inexpensive and stylish flooring option that’s easy to maintain and ecologically friendly, it’s tough to do better than bamboo flooring.

While bamboo is a natural flooring material sharing many of the properties of hardwood, it’s actually not a hardwood at all. Bamboo is a thick, robust grass which grows quickly, up to 24 inches/60 centimeters in a single day. Once mature, bamboo is then harvested, sliced and bonded. The look of a bamboo floor can be quite striking with the color ranging from a perky light tan to a beautiful dark brown. And to top it off, bamboo can be an inexpensive flooring option.

Style

Bamboo is a distinct flooring material that instantly adds a sense of character to a room. Often associated with tranquility, your bamboo floor can set a relaxing, stress free tone for a home office, dining area, or kitchen. The lighter colors really pop while the darker browns add a hint of elegance and class. If you’re interested in a modern, stylish floor, it’s hard to find a more distinct flooring option than bamboo.

Maintenance

While not all bamboo is created equal, typically bamboo is hard, strong and durable. Your most durable options include natural, un-carbonized bamboo which, if harvested and manufactured properly, can be as strong as red oak. If you’re looking for something harder, strand woven bamboo can be even harder and more durable.

However some varieties, especially those darker in color, are more susceptible to dents and scratches in high traffic areas. This is because to achieve bamboo’s darker, richer color tones, the wood typically isn’t stained. Instead it’s heated which makes it softer. In these cases, make sure your bamboo floor is properly sealed so you won’t need to worry about scratches or dents.

Bamboo also tends to be a little more water resistant than your average hardwood so you can spend less time worrying about water damage, warping or stains. However, if you live in an especially humid or dry climate, your bamboo floor may expand or contract. In both cases this can lead to cracking.

Green / Ecologically Friendly

For many people the green factor can make or break their home design options. If being green is high on your priority list, then bamboo is a natural choice. When properly farmed, bamboo is a highly renewable resource.

It’s a grass which grows rapidly, maturing in as little as three to five years. Compare that to the twenty or more years of your average hardwood and it’s easy to see why bamboo is the flooring option of choice for the ecologically conscious.

However it’s important to mention that improper or damaging farming practices can sometimes offset this environmentally friendly factor. If you’re passionate about staying green with your flooring, make sure you buy even bamboo floor from a reputable source.