Should You Choose Timber Flooring Or Bamboo Flooring?

By Mark Hutchison

Timber flooring, in the form of solid timber or newer veneers (also called floating timber), has long been the primary choice of people who want the warm look of wood on their floors, or who want to avoid carpet. For many years, there just weren't any other options.

However, timber now has competition. Bamboo flooring is a comparable, but durable and environmentally friendly floor alternative. Against the popular floating form of timber floors, it performs favorably.

Floating timber floors are one of the most popular types of floor. Made up of a thin layer of wood laminated over a less expensive material, they're cheaper than solid hardwood. Bamboo floors, by comparison, can be made of solid bamboo. That'll give you more durability over time, but cost less than solid timber. Bamboo is also much harder to damage than most woods.

Unlike a floating timber floor, bamboo flooring is permanently attached to the surface it rests on. That allows more stability and less opening of and movement in the joints between individual pieces of flooring.

Unlike both floating and solid timber floors, bamboo flooring doesn't sound hollow when walked upon. It's also a lot harder to scratch and easier to clean than either type of timber floor.

The fact that the individual pieces of flooring don't move or shift also makes refinishing bamboo easier. There's a much better surface to work with than solid timber, and veneered wood floors can't be refinished at all!

A veneered wood floor that's damaged must be replaced, while a comparable bamboo one could be resurfaced. That means you could get up to another decade out of your floor.

Those who are worried about the environment will probably choose bamboo over timber. Both are natural, renewable resources, but timber takes a long time to replace itself. Veneered timber flooring uses less hardwood, but other woods are still used, and composite fillers often involve toxic glues.

You'll find these kinds of practices mostly in China and other countries where regulation is minimally enforced. Fortunately, it takes only a little research to tell you if you're getting some of the large percentage of products made from sustainably produced bamboo.

You may find that bamboo looks a lot different than ordinary timber. While the appearance of this grass is appealing to many, it might not work out well if you really love the feel and look of hardwood. For many people, however, the lack of environmental damage and durability of bamboo makes the appearance change worthwhile.

Where contraction and expansion due to weather are problems, bamboo holds up well. Compared to a hardwood veneer, it can be resurfaced more often, and needs no treatments or waxing to keep looking good. However, some products do contain environmentally unfriendly glues - look for nontoxic types when you buy your flooring.

Anyone who's curious about how bamboo flooring holds up when compared to hardwood should take a look online. It's easy to see the whole range of available products and find out more about this great type of floor. It could be right for your home.

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