hardwood floors VancouverBamboo is often touted as an excellent alternative to hardwood, but many homeowners struggle to tell the difference. Not sure which option is right for your Vancouver, WA or Portland, OR home? Read on to learn about the differences between hardwood and bamboo.


Many homeowners choose bamboo simply because they cannot afford hardwood. Bamboo offers a similar appearance and many shared benefits, but generally comes at a lower price point. This lower price is, in part, the result of bamboo's regenerative qualities. The same bamboo plant generally only goes a mere three to five years between harvests. Because it regenerates so quickly, resources are plentiful.


At first glance, bamboo and hardwood look very similar, but there are a few key differences. Hardwood's appearance varies considerably between species. For some Vancouver homeowners, this versatility is a major plus. Although there are different bamboo species, they generally produce the same result, unless you opt for the bamboo to go through carbonization. Another difference between bamboo and hardwood is bamboo has more visible horizontal lines throughout its planks. Some people actually prefer this, as it adds visual interest. Others, however, view this lack of uniformity as visual clutter.


Hardwood is often thought of as more durable than bamboo, but this isn't always true. The durability of various types of hardwood varies significantly, and some varieties are actually more prone to dents than bamboo. Bamboo is most durable if it isn’t carbonized. Carbonization gives bamboo a darker and richer hue, but it also weakens the floor. For rustic-themed rooms that experience high traffic, natural (non-carbonized), light-colored bamboo may be a preferable option. Hardwood has greater potential for durability, especially if the right species is selected. The right hardwood floor can last generations, while bamboo may need to be replaced after ten or twenty years.


Perhaps the biggest argument in favor of bamboo is its sheer sustainability as a flooring material. Bamboo is a very renewable resource, especially compared to the trees used to create hardwood floors. Bamboo typically matures in just three to five years. However, there are still options available for those who want hardwood but also desire eco-friendly flooring. The best of these is arguably reclaimed hardwood, which is reused from a variety of wood structures. Although very eco-friendly, reclaimed wood tends to be more expensive, as it is harder to find. Bamboo is a preferred option for those desiring a mix of sustainability and affordability.

Both bamboo and hardwood each have their own qualities that make them great for different reasons. If choosing between the two, you'll want to consider your budget, your aesthetic preferences, and your desire for an eco-friendly home. Let the experts at Floor Coverings International® of Vancouver help you make an informed decision and find flooring you’ll love for years to come. Contact us today for a free consultation!


Photo: © Artazum