What is the difference between bamboo flooring and hardwood flooring?

A selection of wood and bamboo flooring

What is the difference between bamboo flooring and hardwood flooring?

This entry was posted on March 28, 2014 by chris elliott

Bamboo flooring is quickly becoming a popular alternative to hardwood flooring for both domestic and commercial use. Although Bamboo may look like a wooden floor, and have a lot of the same qualities, it is actually made from a renewable grass and can be twice as strong as Oak flooring. Sometimes, when looking at bamboo flooring and hardwood flooring side by side, it can be difficult to tell them apart as they can both adopt similar colours, plank sizes and visual features. Bamboo and hardwood do share a lot of similar characteristics but here are some of the ways in which they are different:


What they are made from

Bamboo is an excellent renewable resource and environmentally friendly. It is actually a grass, rather than wood that is used for hardwood flooring, and it can grow much faster than hardwood, making it a very sustainable and eco-friendly product. It can reach maturity within 5 years, compared to a couple of decades for hardwood trees to become ready to harvest. Also, bamboo does not need to be re-planted as the grass root will continue to grow after it has been cut.

How is bamboo flooring made


How they are made

Once bamboo has been harvested, the thick outer layer is removed and the bamboo is either cut into strips or shredded into strands, depending on the type of flooring that is being made. For horizontal and vertical bamboo flooring, the strips are dried and glued together using a hot machine press. They are then machined into flooring planks. For strand woven bamboo, the strands are woven together and compressed under extreme pressure before being machined into planks of flooring. Once the planks of flooring have acclimatised they are finished with protective layers of lacquer. Hardwood flooring is made in a slightly different way. Solid hardwood flooring is made from a solid piece of wood cut out from the tree trunk, then machined into planks of flooring. Engineered hardwood flooring is made with a top layer of solid wood, bonded with a plywood base. Both types of hardwood flooring can then be stained and sealed with either lacquer, varnish or oil. Both bamboo flooring and hardwood flooring are available in engineered and solid structures.


Appearance of the floors

Different types of flooring offer very different appearances. Bamboo flooring is available in three main styles: horizontal, vertical and strand woven. Each can be found in two main colours: natural and carbonised (smoked), although alternative colours can be achieved by adding a stain to the floor. There are also different finishes including natural, handscraped and rustic, which can provide either a traditional or distressed appearance.

What is the difference between bamboo flooring and hardwood flooring


With hardwood floors, different species of wood create different grain patterns, styles and colours. There is a huge range of hardwood floors available so it is easy to achieve a classic, traditional or more modern look. Like bamboo flooring, different stains and finishes can be added to customise your flooring. Bamboo flooring is only available in fixed lengths, whereas hardwood flooring comes in different widths and lengths, to suit personal preference. What is vertical bamboo flooring  What is horizontal bamboo flooring

Durability of the floors

Bamboo flooring is generally more durable that hardwood flooring. The strength of hardwood flooring can greatly vary depending upon the species of wood. For example, Oak flooring has a medium hardness and Walnut flooring is much softer. In comparison, strand woven bamboo flooring is more than twice as hard as Oak and is becoming popular for high traffic domestic areas and commercial properties. Solid bamboo flooring, engineered bamboo flooring and engineered hardwood flooring are all dimensionally stable products, meaning that they expand and contract in reaction to fluctuations in temperature and humidity. This means that they can be used with underfloor heating and installed over almost any subfloor.


Installation of the floors

All types of bamboo flooring and engineered hardwood flooring are stable products so do not need fixing in place during installation. This means that they can be installed in a variety of different ways, including: floated over an underlay, used with underfloor heating, glued down to the subfloor or nailed or screwed to the subfloor. Solid hardwood flooring is not as stable so needs to be fixed into place and cannot be used with underfloor heating. Both bamboo flooring and hardwood flooring are available with either a click fitting system or a tongue and groove profile, depending on your preferred choice of installation method. What is vertical bamboo flooring


Bamboo is becoming known as a more cost effective alternative to hardwood flooring, whilst still providing the luxury and finesse of a natural product. Good quality bamboo flooring can be found at up to thirty percent cheaper than an average hardwood floor of the same size, mainly due to the fact that the raw materials are much cheaper.


Cleaning and maintenance

Both bamboo flooring and hardwood flooring are easy to maintain and look after. They should both be swept and cleaned on a regular basis with a soft brush and wood floor cleaning equipment. Damage to the floors can be prevented by cleaning up spills immediately, removing footwear before walking on the floor, and avoiding dragging or dropping hard or sharp objects across the floor.