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Hardwood or Bamboo?

post #1 of 11
Thread Starter 

I've been lurking in this forum long enough to become convinced that hard wood or bamboo flooring may be a good option for our house.  For those of you with hardwood or bamboo flooring, I have some questions while I'm still researching my options.


1. Which do you have?  If hardwood, what kind?

2. I have two toddlers and a dog whose nails grow out quickly.  How much damage could they do to the type you have, and how reparable is that damage?

3. What do you like about your flooring?

4. What are the drawbacks?

5. What kind of TLC does your flooring require?  How often and how much?

6. Any other considerations that I should keep in mind?


I'd like to refloor the living room, family, room, and hallway.  The kitchen and bathrooms will keep their tile, and I'll be recarpeting the bedrooms in the future. 


TIA for the help and advice. 

post #2 of 11
I've heard that bamboo is quite soft. We looked at buying a house that had gorgeous bamboo floors, but upon closer inspection we saw all kinds of dings and grooves-- the owners had two dogs who totally scratched up the floor. That said, I'm sure there are various levels of quality/hardness, it all depends on your budget. For this reason, I'd go with hardwood, but I'd expect my kids to basically ding up *any* floor covering I put down. smile.gif
post #3 of 11

Bamboo is the more green, more renewable choice.  I have hardwoods.  

post #4 of 11

Hardwood is definitely a greener option than carpet or laminate, simply because it lasts a whole lot longer (think of all the 100-year-old public buildings with original hardwood floors). Real hardwood can be refinished more than once, to make them look new again, while carpet or laminate only lasts 10-15 years (or less, depending on quality).


I have looked a bit at bamboo, but not too seriously, since I already have hardwood. I agree with the PP that there are different grades of bamboo, and you'll want to get the hardest you can.


We replaced the carpet in our living room, dining room, and hallway with hardwood 9 years ago. We  have a dog and two teenage sons, and this is a main traffic area in the house. We chose a darker wood, which does show dust/dog hair more than a lighter one would. But I still love it! I haven't had trouble with the dog scratching the wood, but I do cut his nails as soon as I can hear him clickity-clack on the floor (about once a week). There are a few scratches from chairs or other things getting dragged across the floor, but they don't really bother me - we live in this house, and it shows.


I vacuum (with a small canister vac) or sweep every few days, or when the dog hair starts to drift in the corners (I really should brush my dog more often). Occasionally I use a product for wood floors to remove footprints and make it shiny - I spray it on and wipe off with a soft cloth. I should do it more often.


When we first put it in, the house sounded very echo-y, because the hard floor reflects the sound that the carpet absorbed, but area rugs help a lot.


Good luck with your decision! 

post #5 of 11


post #6 of 11

We also heard the same thing over and over about bamboo as the PP - that's it's too soft to put in our high traffic living room. So we went with a Brazilian Koa from Bellawood at Lumber Liquidators. It's beautiful, it's got a 50 yr warranty that will transfer to the next homeowner, we can refinish up to 10 times and it's pretty high on the hardness rating. 

We don't have a dog but I have an almost 5 year old - I think that the minor surface scratches I can see are just on the finish, not in the actual wood. We do have two dents in it that have probably gotten down to the wood (one was a metal truck, a big one, thrown down from the top of the stairs). I'm extremely happy with it - if I could afford it I'd do the whole house and all our stairs! 


ETA: I think the only drawback with the floor we got is the cost. It's meant to last a long long time though. 

It's very easy to care for, I just usually sweep and then a couple of times a week I go over it with a little cleaner and a microfiber pad.


Ok I thought of something else lol - this particular wood is photosensitive so it gets darker as the light hits it. They have samples of it dark and that's what we wanted. Here's when we got it put in (2009) 



This is what it looks like now (this past Christmas) 



We've had our couch in the same place the whole time and when we move it out you can see that it's a little lighter but it's not like there is a couch imprint. Also it has a sort of stopping point on the darkness so when you moved things around the area's that didn't have much light catch up quick. 

Edited by jessica_s - 5/12/11 at 5:03pm
post #7 of 11

We put bamboo in our dining and living room after pulling up nasty carpet. We would have liked to redo the hardwoods underneath, but they were in very bad shape. Fortunately we had nice maple floors that were hidden under carpet in our bedrooms and hallway.

We purchased ours online at simple floors. We got the strand woven as it is more durable than most bamboo flooring and oak and maple. You can read about it at the site.

We have 2 -50lb dogs and two kids. They seem to be holding up pretty good. There are a few scratches here and there but they're not deep. These can be refinished if need be in the future and have a warranty.
We love them. And though we could "try" them out on our starter house, so when we get our next house it could be a flooring option for us.

As for maintenance, I sweep 2x maybe a week. Yep I have fuzzys under everything. We damp mop if there is obvious dirt or spillage.





post #8 of 11

double post

Edited by northerngirl - 5/17/11 at 6:57pm
post #9 of 11
Thread Starter 

Jessica, thanks for the photos!  Your floors look exquisite.  Still leaning toward hardwood but not closed to bamboo.  I'm also struggling because we may be moving within the next couple of years.  It's only a maybe....  So I wonder if I want to put that much money and effort into it.  Perhaps I should, just so that I can enjoy the flooring, and just in case we do end up staying.  So confusing!  I'm really NOT a carpet fan.  Thanks for all of the feedback!  blowkiss.gif

post #10 of 11
We have both (well, we have LOTS of different flooring, our house is not very cohesive!!)

We have oak hardwoods in our living room -- they came with the house. They are badly in need of refinishing. They do not scratch/dent easily though (the finish itself is the main problem I think, they look grimy and weird), although they've developed a bit of grooving along the wood grain where the finish has rubbed off in high-traffic areas. Having grown up in a house with lots of oak flooring, I can say that it does hold up well but needs to be sanded down & refinished every 5-10 years or so.

We installed bamboo flooring in our dining room (which is also our entry way) and overall I love it. It has a nice 'feel' and looks beautiful. We got it prefinished. It is definitely much softer than the oak & does scratch & dent easily. We've only had it for a couple of years. It still looks new from a distance, but up close there is some damage. We are often dragging things around in there (from tables and chairs to couches, large equipment, and a piano) and it's a very high-traffic area so it my survive 'normal' usage better. Our dog's nails made hairline scratches in it that could be buffed away (but he was a small dog and light on his feet). Oh the big thing I kind of regret is getting a dark cherry finish on it. I love the color but because bamboo is so light in color, damage shows really easily.

I do think wood flooring is often a big selling point if you're planning on moving. It probably depends on area (& buyer preference!) -- around here people seem to seek out & pay more for houses with hardwoods.
post #11 of 11

We put hardwood in our kitchen/dining room/entry area and love it.  Currently planning to do the upstairs (living room, hall and bedrooms) in the same wood.  We looked at lots of flooring samples and tried to intentionally scratch them up since we have 2 dogs - the only two that passed our test were hickory and pecan, we chose the hickory in a natural/light stain because I know dark floors look pretty while clean but show dust and dog hair quickly.  It also has lots of variability in the colour so dirt does not show as quickly (with two dogs that shed a fair amount there's always some hair and I don't have time to vacuum daily!).


We specifically stayed away from the exotic hardwoods because we were concerned that they may come from Amazon forests, etc.  The hickory was sourced in North America so IMO a more green choice.


The bamboo samples we looked at did not do well in the scratch test, but I know that they are not all the same as there are different technologies used to make it.  So I wouldn't rule it out completely, just be careful to know exactly what you're getting.


Re: cleaning I try to vacuum once a week (depends on how crazy things are around here though) and mop as needed (rarely).  I spot clean in case of spills and stuff like that.  For mopping I just use one of those microfibre mops with hot water, nothing fancy.


Here's a photo of the floors right after installation:


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