What Is Engineered Bamboo Flooring?

by Owner on March 6, 2011

Known for its affordability and sustainability, bamboo flooring is quickly gaining popularity among designers and home owners. If this material interests you for your home’s floors, there are two types of bamboo floor to consider: engineered bamboo flooring and solid bamboo flooring.

Engineered bamboo flooring is made by covering a plywood base with a veneer of natural bamboo. The thin sheet of bamboo veneer is pressed to the surface of the plywood base to create a sturdy material that does not encounter the same challenges faced by solid bamboo flooring. While this option isn’t made completely of bamboo, it has some advantages that appeal to home owners.

Solid bamboo flooring is made by pressing layers of bamboo, but is the same material throughout the planks. While more authentic overall, solid bamboo flooring can often be a nuisance for home owners. The bamboo has a tendency to expand and contract due to temperature and moisture changes. This can result in gaps between the planks, and water damage in the subfloor.

People considering bamboo for their floors often go with engineered bamboo flooring for its practicality. While it’s not bamboo through and through, it still incorporates this sustainable material in an aesthetically pleasing way without all the headaches. Because the bamboo veneer is pressed to a plywood base, it is not susceptible to expanding and contracting like solid bamboo. It also has a longer lifespan because it is much more durable.

Installing engineered bamboo floors is often much less challenging than solid bamboo. With the risk of expansion, solid bamboo floors should be professionally installed. A proper fit is essential to avoid permanent damage to the new floor. Engineered bamboo flooring, on the other hand, can be installed by anyone with a little know-how. Flooring installation can be costly, so being able to accomplish this task on your own could save you a ton of money.

When researching your best options, budget is almost always a concern among home owners. Engineered bamboo flooring is typically less expensive than solid bamboo flooring, because it only showcases bamboo on the exterior of the planks. Using a less costly inner core makes this choice very affordable to produce and purchase.

So is engineered bamboo flooring eco friendly? Yes, to the extent that the bamboo itself is a sustainable material. Bamboo is quick to grow and easy to cultivate, unlike old growth forest trees that have been typically used for flooring. You should ensure, however, that the bamboo is cultivated and processed in an eco friendly way, because that is not always the case.

Most suppliers of engineered bamboo flooring can provide you with the specific information regarding different brands or styles of this flooring option. It’s best to research all of your options before making a decision, and price should ideally not be the only factor that guides you. While you may find a great deal on a certain type of flooring, you may be getting yourself into a potentially costly situation if the bamboo floor you choose is poorly constructed. And if you are looking to be eco friendly, you won’t do the Earth any favors unless you ensure the bamboo is sustainably grown and processed.

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