Compare Hardwood vs Bamboo Flooring
Hardwood floors are timeless and beautiful. They are great for resale value - buyers are willing to pay a premium for homes with hardwood floors. Properly maintained, they can last for generations.
How Much Does Hardwood Flooring Cost?
Hardwood floors start at around $3 per square foot for an out-of-the-box product from a major retailer or home improvement store. Custom, exotic or high-end floors could cost as much as $15 per square foot. In most cases, budget anywhere from $4 to $8 for materials.
Installation usually costs another $3 to $5 per square foot, and removal and haul away of your old flooring costs about $2 per square foot.
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Pros of Hardwood
- Durability - Hardwood floors are long-lasting; take good care of them and they could still be around 100 years from now.
- Resale value - Homes with hardwood flooring sell faster than those with wall-to-wall carpeting. Buyers these days are seeking homes with hardwood floors.
- Ease of maintenance - Regular sweeping and mopping is enough to keep the floors clean. Very occasionally, you’ll want to sand and refinish the floors to get rid of imperfections. The good news is, hardwood floors can be sanded and refinished over and over again.
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Cons of Hardwood
- Prone to wear and tear - Over time, hardwood floors will scratch and scuff. Softer wood species can be damaged by anything from furniture to high-heeled shoes. The softer the wood, the easier it is to damage.
- Price - Hardwood floors are more expensive than most other flooring options.
- Noise - If you’re trying to tiptoe around the house at night, wood floors are going to give you away. And if you have lots of little feet roaming around the house, wood floors could be noisier than you like.
- Sensitive to moisture - Hardwood floors can easily be damaged by water and moisture, so spills should be cleaned up immediately. Wood floors are not suitable for high-moisture areas like bathrooms or laundry rooms.
Bamboo has long been used for flooring in Asia, where it grows abundantly, but the material is relatively new to the United States. Bamboo is growing in popularity among homeowners seeking eco-friendly flooring. It’s also popular with those who want a look and feel similar to hardwood floors at a lower price point.
How Much Does Bamboo Flooring Cost
Bamboo flooring is similar in price to laminate products. Prices generally range from $2 to $5 per square foot for materials. Occasionally, you’ll see bamboo flooring priced as high as $8 per square foot.
As with other types of flooring, don’t forget to budget for installation and removal of your old flooring. Installation costs are similar to traditional hardwood flooring - about $3 to $5 per square foot. Removal and haul away of your old flooring costs about $2 per square foot.
Pros of Bamboo
- Sustainability - Bamboo grows abundantly and is plentiful, making it an eco-friendly product. The plant is ready to be harvested after just three to five years, while it can take 100 years for an oak tree to mature for the production of hardwood floors. There is also little waste in the manufacturing process.
- Price - Because bamboo is so plentiful, it’s priced significantly lower than traditional hardwood. For about the same price as laminate flooring, you can buy a natural product with a look and feel similar to hardwood.
- Ease of maintenance - Like traditional hardwoods, bamboo floors are easy to keep clean. Simply sweep and mop on a regular basis.
- Unique look - This could actually be a pro or a con, depending on personal taste. Bamboo is never going to mimic the look of traditional hardwoods like maple or oak. It has a unique look that is distinctly its own. But if you’re looking to create a design statement with something a little different, it might be the perfect option.
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Cons of Bamboo
- Prone to wear and tear - As with hardwood floors, bamboo can be damaged by anything from furniture to high heels. Bamboo is softer than some varieties of hardwood, making it easier to damage. Unlike hardwoods, a bamboo floor can only be sanded and refinished a couple times.
- Quality variations - Not all bamboo flooring products are created alike. Low-quality bamboo flooring may scratch and dent easily, while high-quality bamboo remains durable. With bamboo, it’s especially important to understand exactly what you’re purchasing.
- Questionable manufacturing/labor practices - There’s some controversy over the materials that are used in the manufacturing process, particularly formaldehyde. Also, fair-trade advocates have criticized the lack of fair labor guidelines in factories where bamboo flooring is produced.
- Sensitive to moisture - As with hardwood floors, bamboo is not suitable for high-moisture areas.