By: Ezra Plank
Last updated: September 6th, 2014
While similar in appearance to wood, bamboo is not a tree - it's a grass. Coming originally from China, its use as a flooring material has spread around the world. It is rapidly gaining in popularity, due in part to its colorful, grainy appearance.
FloorAge Horizontal Natural Bamboo
This beautiful flooring of young natural bamboo is available at FastFloors for $2.37/sf.
Bamboo flooring has two grades: natural and carbonized. Natural grade shows the real color, grain, and growth pattern of the plant. Carbonized bamboo is made by a process that causes the bamboo to take on a darker color than it has in nature. The bamboo is steamed, causing its sugar molecules to turn brown, or caramelizing it.
In order to make flooring planks, the original bamboo can be cut either vertically or horizontally. A vertical cut causes the planks to closely simulate hardwood. Horizontal bamboo planks show the small nodes that appear where branches protrude from the main stalk, giving the bamboo flooring a unique appearance.
Strand Carbonized Bamboo
This strand woven bamboo looks exactly like hardwood! Lumber Liquidators - $2.19/sf
One of the main advantages of bamboo over wood is its strength - nearly twice that of oak, the standard-bearer for hardwoods. This causes bamboo to be very durable, so it doesn't need as much maintenance or repair. It is also quite resiliant, and doesn't dent easily on impact.
In recent years, a new method of processing bamboo has been developed that produces a material which is even harder and denser than traditional bamboo - strand woven bamboo. The bamboo material is first shredded, producing a fibrous material which is woven to give it a new appearance. Then it is mixed with resins and heated under extreme pressure, forming a dense block of wood similar to traditional hardwood.
Horizontal Carbonized Bamboo
The best price for bamboo flooring on the internet! $1.79/sf - Lumber Liquidators
Coming from the tropics, bamboo naturally resists moisture, so it makes a good choice for bathroom and kitchen floors. During its manufacture, bamboo flooring is glue-treated under steam and high pressure. This makes it resistant to scratching, abrasion, and being accidentally stained when food is spilled on it. Bamboo flooring is also less likely to warp, gap, or cup.
In these times when everyone seems to be "going green", bamboo flooring is an excellent choice. The use of bamboo instead of wood helps to save our rapidly-depleting hardwood forests. Not only that -- it is sustainable. Just like grass, when it's cut, it grows right back. Its rate of growth - up to 10 feet per year - causes it to mature in only about 5 years!
Vertical Natural Bamboo
Don't forget - bamboo flooring is environmentallly sound! Wayfair - only $3.83/sf
Bamboo flooring is less expensive than hardwood flooring, and it's just as easily installed. The bamboo planks are grooved, interlocking for easy assembly. They can be held in place by nailing, stapling, or glueing.
Ezra says: Here are links to webpages that show all the cheap bamboo flooring available from each of our merchants:
- Wayfair has bamboo flooring that costs less than $4 / sq ft. There are 18 selections, the cheapest being $2.26 / sq ft for dark brown. If you want to broaden or narrow your criteria, they have a convenient form in the left sidebar.
- Lumber Liquidators bamboo flooring search page has 63 selections. But you can use their sidebar form to narrow down your choices.
- FastFloors has the largest selection of bamboo flooring on the internet, and there are 102 selections of bamboo flooring for less than $4 / sq ft. The cheapest is under $2, but they are not allowed to advertise the price publicly. However, if you become a FastFloors member ( it's free ), you will get wholesale prices, which are lower than any other price advertised on the internet - and likely lower than any price you will find in a retail store.