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Cork Flooring, The Other Eco-Friendly Flooring

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APC Cork
Aphrodite Brown

$5.19/sqft

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APC Cork
Aphrodite Natural

$5.19/sqft

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APC Cork
Apollo Natural

$3.09/sqft

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Pros

Like wood, bamboo is highly versatile, as it is available in a wide variety of stains and styles.

Bamboo is one of the most durable natural floorings available, and it is generally considered a little harder than ash and oak.  Its resiliency and hardness depend on the type of bamboo and the manufacturing process used in creating the flooring.  Stranded floors are considered the most durable choice.

Bamboo floors are very easy to clean; simply sweep and damp mop weekly.

The color variations of bamboo are determined by the manufacturing heating process.  The darker floors are heated more than lighter floors.  Because overheating can impact the strength of the floor, lighter bamboo floors are often considered to be less susceptible to dents and scarring.

Bamboo flooring can last for 30 to 50 years, and will easily biodegrade when removed.

Considered a highly renewable resource, bamboo reaches maturity in five to seven years.  In comparison, hardwood trees can take between 15 to 100 years to reach harvesting age.

Bamboo is very moisture and insect resistant, which makes it an excellent choice for kitchens, bathrooms, and entryways, as well as for people who suffer from allergies.

Installation of bamboo floors is fairly quick and easy, and it does not require sanding and multiple coats of toxic varnish.  Bamboo flooring is installed by nailing, gluing, or floating, and can be done as a do-it-yourself project.

Cons

Quality bamboo flooring can be costly.  If you are looking for durability in your flooring product, do not overlook the association of price and quality.  Superior bamboo floors will hold up longer and will resist scratches and dents better other types of flooring.  You get what you pay for.

Harvesting and manufacturing processes vary.  This variance can include the selection of bamboo species, the age of bamboo at harvest, and inadequate varnish protection of the flooring.  Check with the retailer or manufacturer about bamboo maturity and warranties before purchasing a product.  

Although may people view bamboo as a “green” product, most of this flooring is made in Asia – specifically in China and Vietnam.  The finished materials must ultimately be exported to their final destination.  This extensive shipping results in a large amount of energy consumption.  There are retailers and distributors that offer carbon offset contributions, should you be interested in this option.

Equally concerning to environmentalists is the lack of manufacturing regulations in many of the countries that produce bamboo flooring.  China, for instance, has no set government standards for air quality, and sometimes uses urea-formaldehyde resin in their bamboo flooring production.  There are products that are free of this carcinogen, and you should check with your retailer if this option is important to you.  Many United States distributors have stringent guidelines for their products.  For additional reference, the Forest Stewardship Council maintains a database of businesses that manufacture well-made, responsibly-produced bamboo flooring.

Direct sunlight can soften and discolor bamboo floors.