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Old 11-19-2012, 09:15 AM   #1
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Bamboo vs Hardwood


I went online looking at bamboo vs hardwood arguments and the short version is people are arguing over whether bamboo or hardwood is better--more stable against water, harder, stronger, stable against discoloration from sunlight, etc. Apparently SOME bamboo will make Rock Maple look soft and will handle standing water and flooding; OTHER bamboo is soft, yellows when light shines on it, gets all scratched and pitted and dented, and can't handle water.

This isn't for kitchen; it's for living room and bedrooms.

Anyone have any advice here? I want a fairly light-colored (i.e. not deep walnut) but viciously hard floor. I'm strongly considering installation of tongue-and-groove hardwood or bamboo by screw-in method (i.e. screws through the groove, rather than nails); is that alright and is it as or more stable than nails?

Is it a bad idea to go grab the specials at Home Depot and Lowes? Should I find an actual flooring store if I want high-quality maple or bamboo built to last?

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Old 11-20-2012, 02:15 PM   #2
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Bamboo vs Hardwood


Bamboo can be as good as hardwood. However, you have to sift through all of the junk bamboo. The best brand I have found is Teragren and it is pricey. For the cost of it you could do almost any real solid hardwood. Real hardwood will be easier to recoat in the future, easier to refinish in the future, and appeal to more future buyers than bamboo. My choice would be hardwood. But if you decide to do bamboo, look into Teragren.

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Old 11-20-2012, 06:32 PM   #3
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I was looking at bamboo but the stuff they have for a couple bucks a square foot is soft. The hard kind is as much or more than hardwood.
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Old 11-20-2012, 06:45 PM   #4
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Bamboo vs Hardwood


Bamboo is a grass, and there are many species of bamboo available. There are also many species of hardwood sold, with wildly variable properties. The universal hardness scale for flooring is the Janka index. If hardness (not strength, durability, texture, stiffness) is your criteria, check out the following website which lists the Janka hardness index for a variety of species.

http://tinytimbers.com/janka.htm

There are other websites that have hardness scales for other species. Bear in mind that local and regional terminology differences may make it difficult to understand the hardness of the product you are getting. For example, there are many species of birch, some quite hard, some quite soft. Unfortunately the birch you purchase may not be properly identified, or it may be called by a local name (say sweet birch) which may not tell you anything about the actual hardness of the product. It is always best if you purchase hardwood flooring that is identified by the Latin genus and species, as this is unambiguous. A good hardwood supplier should be able to tell you the genus and species of the lumber you are purchasing, then you can look up the Janka index with confidence. A big box store may not know the difference between cherry and oak.
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Old 11-21-2012, 09:49 AM   #5
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When I was looking at lots of flooring samples, I noticed marked differences between bamboo products - even from the same manufacturer. In my experience, the big box stores carry low-end products.
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Old 11-21-2012, 11:09 AM   #6
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Originally Posted by Awoodfloorguy View Post
For the cost of it you could do almost any real solid hardwood. Real hardwood will be easier to recoat in the future, easier to refinish in the future, and appeal to more future buyers than bamboo. My choice would be hardwood. But if you decide to do bamboo, look into Teragren.
So lower maintenance for hardwood?

The appeal of bamboo to some people is it's more "renewable" than trees, which is to say it grows faster and takes less resource to process. The appearance of hardwood is hard to compete with, though.
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Old 11-24-2012, 06:00 PM   #7
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Bamboo vs Hardwood


My buddy across the street put in stranded bamboo, from Lumber Liquidators. I believe it was this one: http://www.lumberliquidators.com/ll/...AMSTC/10007172

I put in LL's "Tigerwood (Brazilian Koa). Both are very hard and durable. He has two large and retardedly-energetic dogs and I haven't noticed one scratch in it. The Braz Koa is also a very hard wood, but I don't have large dogs to put it under stress. I'd be happy with either product.

If I remember correctly, the stranded bamboo planks have a greater janka rating than the non-stranded. I believe non-stranded is on the softer side of flooring.
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Old 11-24-2012, 07:26 PM   #8
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i also put in solid 3/4x5 brazillian koa (goncalo alves). we went with the unfinished since we didn't like the bevels on the prefinished. the unfinished i bought was 2.00 dollars a sq ft cheaper than LL.

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Old 11-24-2012, 11:29 PM   #9
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Is this better than nailing it in? I know that screws are good for flooring rather than using nails, but not so good for i.e. frames (they shear off). I'm also starting to think that screwing layer 1 of the subfloor to the joists is a bad idea (because of shear), whereas with layers 2 and 3 of the subfloor plus mortar, cement board, more mortar, and tile, there's no way in hell the floor is going to lift off the joists or the nails back out (even with just 3 layers of subfloor plus hardwood, no way).

Screwing the hardwood finish to the subfloor, rather than nailing. Good? Bad?
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Old 11-25-2012, 04:50 AM   #10
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Originally Posted by DannyT
i also put in solid 3/4x5 brazillian koa (goncalo alves). we went with the unfinished since we didn't like the bevels on the prefinished. the unfinished i bought was 2.00 dollars a sq ft cheaper than LL.
Where did you buy it?
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Old 11-25-2012, 01:00 PM   #11
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Originally Posted by bluefoxicy View Post
So lower maintenance for hardwood?

The appeal of bamboo to some people is it's more "renewable" than trees, which is to say it grows faster and takes less resource to process. The appearance of hardwood is hard to compete with, though.

Sorry I just seen this. Maintenance such as cleaning would be the same for both. However, most bamboo products have an aluminum oxide finish. This finish is difficult to recoat and is so hard that you really cant buff scratches out of it. Whereas with a hardwood floor you can put a finish on it that is easy to recoat. Recoating is an easy process for maintaining hardwood floors and when done every few years it can help avoid the need to refinish the floors which is much messier, more time consuming, more expensive and sanding eats away at the life of the floor.

If you are only considering prefinished hardwoods then this would really be irrelevant, as most prefinished wood floors also have this type of finish.

My suggestion would be a site finished wood floor and using a 2 component waterbased finish such as Bona Traffic. Then you can easily recoat the floor every few years and the floors will last longer.

If this is of concern to you, yet you want prefinished, maybe consider a prefinished flooring that does not have this type of finish on it. A good one that I know of is Stang-Lund, http://www.stand-lund.com, this stuff has a hard wax oil on it. When it scratches you can actually touch up a scratch without sanding the entire floor by lightly sanding it out and rubbing some new finish on it. Hope this helps.
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Old 11-25-2012, 01:10 PM   #12
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Bamboo vs Hardwood


I have specified and watched tons of bamboo from DuroDesign installed. Clients love it and you can refinish it with ease. It comes in a myriad of colors which I have found nice to work with. DuroDesign will even try to color match if you have something in mind.

Bamboo is harder than most domestic hardwoods. Composite strand bamboo is harder still. It is supposedly a renewable resource although we seem to be using it faster than it can be regrown. I really like it.

Beware anything from LL and of course know the bamboo box stores sells would not even appeal to a hungry panda bear! As with hardwood (which I have nothing against by the way and some of the recycled exotic hardwoods out of Indonesia, etc. are pretty spectacular), a lot depends on the finish and its warranty. Hardness means nothing if the finish is going to get scratched to bits.

http://www.duro-design.com

Some think it looks institutional but with some attention to layout, color and patterns cork makes extraordinary flooring too.

As for flooding? I suppose some flooring might stand up to flooding but I cannot imagine it is going to look the same after. I raced sailboats with teak decks that held up well so long as nothing was ever applied to them.
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Last edited by user1007; 11-25-2012 at 01:32 PM.
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