Cost vs. Quality - 5 Dangers of Choosing Cheap Bamboo Flooring

Jayde Ferguson

When it comes to flooring solutions in your home’s interior, the natural appeal and strength of bamboo has become a popular choice. It’s no secret too that bamboo flooring is associated with being an eco-friendly option and as far as flooring goes, it ticks all the boxes for many homeowners.

That doesn’t mean to say though all bamboo flooring lives up to its name. With misconceptions circulating and debates about its quality, homeowners are swayed by what really is the best choice. Regardless of how big or small your next home improvement project is flooring should be a number one investment. Thus, you want something that’s going to last the distance. We check out the dangers of choosing cheap bamboo flooring and why quality should be more important than the cost.

1. Cheap Bamboo

The old saying ‘you get what you pay for’ definitely applies to the quality of bamboo flooring. Cheap bamboo deals usually mean the bamboo isn’t processed the way it should be and as a result the bamboo plants are harvested too early. For bamboo flooring to be of a high quality, it should be left to grow to its full height which is around 3-5 years. The younger the bamboo is, the more it contributes to a floor that’s too soft and thus, the quality is jeopardised.

Younger bamboo is produced and processed much quicker than bamboo that’s matured properly, making it a very cheap alterative for manufactures. Once the bamboo is harvested too early it tends to retain more water. If the product isn’t dried properly after being harvested, the end result will be a flooring solution that’s prone to warping and shrinking.

Its crucial moisture readings are taken throughout the manufacturing stages to ensure the bamboo is dried accordingly. Drying bamboo can be tricky because of its vast differences in densities so it’s a process that should be done carefully and timely. 

2. Cheap Installation Process

Bamboo flooring can be installed in three different ways, depending on the overall look you want to achieve and whether you’re doing the job yourself or hiring a professional. Floating bamboo floors is an ideal option if you’re looking to install them yourself and doesn’t involve any nailing or gluing meaning less mess. Engineered floors work best when floated as not all types of bamboo floors can be floated. Alternatively, bamboo flooring can be glued directly to the subfloor or nailed with staples or nails, making the installation process possible for all bamboo flooring types.

The moisture meter settings will need to be monitored throughout the installation process because construction can influence the ideal level for each environment. Reputable manufacturers will provide a recommendation for the wood moisture meters if you are doing the installation yourself.  The best way to avoid any long term problems for bamboo flooring is to be sure the moisture content is at the correct levels. Companies that offer a cheaper service are more likely to skip this or begin installation before the product has reached a stable moisture level.

3. Cheap Glue

Cheap bamboo flooring tends to be associated with a variety of health problems due to the glue that’s been used. When bamboo is manufactured, strips of the plant are glued together to create the flooring planks. This glue content can range anywhere from 2% to 20%. In lower grade bamboo flooring products, the glue that’s commonly used is urea formaldehyde resin, a colourless toxic gas that can lead to health problems in people.

Whilst all bamboo flooring is made with formaldehyde binders, reputable companies will ensure the content is at bare minimum, a level that’s not harmful to your health or the environment.  Higher quality companies will opt for the use of safer glues that aren’t harmful to people and are formulated to meet strict emission standards.

4. Cheap Environment

Homeowners are drawn to the appeal of bamboo flooring because the environmental benefits are much more significant than regular hardwood flooring. One of the biggest concerns that homeowners question though, is whether bamboo flooring is really as ‘green’ as companies claim it is.

In comparison to regular hardwood flooring, bamboo flooring is undoubtedly the greener option. How ‘green’ it is though depends on a few factors. Bamboo is recognised as the fastest growing plant on earth making it a highly renewable source. Because it’s a grass, not a tree, it’s able to reach maturity in fewer years as opposed to trees which can take 50-100 years.  Bamboo plants can be harvested on a regular basis without killing the plant, unlike trees which die when harvested.

How renewable bamboo is depends on whether or not is properly maintained and harvested. Cheaper manufacturing companies tend to cut a lot of corners in these stages, resulting in more stress on the environment and a product that’s not as durable and trustworthy.  The manufacturing process is the stage where companies can dictate just how ‘green’ they want their product to be and charge homeowners for the end result accordingly.

5. Cheap Performance

Bamboo flooring that has been harvested too early and manufactured in a cheap way will result in a floor that doesn’t perform as it should. The strength and durability of bamboo is a big reason why it’s such a popular flooring solution so quality of cost is essential.

Bamboo floors range significantly in quality and densities, thus altering the product price. Bamboo that is soft will ultimately be more prone to denting and scratching and not ideal for a home with pets or a lifestyle that’s more hardwearing. Because of the variety of densities, it’s imperative you choose a bamboo flooring style that suits your needs and potential traffic for the ultimate performance.

Author Bio

This article is written by Jayde Ferguson with assistance from Mark Hutchison, owner of Bamboozle, Perth’s leading bamboo flooring provider. Catch Mark on Google+.