Engineered Bamboo Flooring: Pros, Cons & Costs

Kenneth Wilson

Are you considering engineered bamboo floors for your next project? It’s an excellent material considering all its attributes: durability, sustainability, and a wide variety of colors and styles.

Not to mention, engineered bamboo floors are easy to install, considerably moisture-resistant, and have a cost-effective price range starting from $5 to $15 per sq/ft.

Nonetheless, it’s best to weigh all the pros and cons of this sustainable flooring material to determine if it’s the right choice for your needs.

We’ll also discuss the average costs of engineered bamboo flooring installation so you can prepare your budget accordingly.

Engineered Bamboo Flooring Average Costs

On average, engineered bamboo floors cost $5 to $15 per square foot (covering material and professional installation costs).

Homeowners planning to do a DIY installation may save up to $4 per square foot on average, but this may require the right expertise and tools. Although the cost is slightly more expensive than solid bamboo floorboards, this will primarily depend on your chosen brand and other factors.

For instance, strand-woven engineered bamboo planks will cost you more than their horizontal or vertical counterparts.

Are all Bamboo Floors “Engineered”?

Not really. Some bamboo flooring types are solid tongue-and-groove planks, while others are engineered (often called bamboo laminate).

Similar to engineered wood floorboards, it usually consisted of either plywood or fiberboard core and a thin bamboo strip on the surface.

This thin bamboo strip is commonly called veneer. So post-installation, it won't be easy to point out the difference between natural bamboo floors vs. their engineered counterparts.

The difference lies in how solid planks are more susceptible to humidity and fluctuations in temperature so that the floorboards may expand or contract.

In contrast, the sturdy core of engineered bamboo floors is more resistant to these damages.

Advantages of Engineered Bamboo Flooring

Here are some of the unique advantages of choosing engineered bamboo floors for your next home improvement project.

Super Sustainable

Undoubtedly, engineered bamboo floors are among the most eco-friendly flooring materials in the market. Bamboo takes five years to mature to provide an organic flooring material. In contrast, other tree species take around 50 years.

Additionally, bamboo is known to self-regenerate once cut at the stalk. It will eventually grow new shoots if you cut it to make floors.

Note: However, not all bamboo harvesting methods follow sustainable forestry practices. It's best to ensure sustainability in the form of a Forestry Stewardship Council (FSC) Certificate to ensure sustainable bamboo products.

Available in Several Varieties

Like solid bamboo floors, you can choose from the different varieties of engineered bamboo flooring.

Each of these has its unique appearance and benefits.

  • Vertical bamboo floors: Has a uniform, striped look. It is created by stacking bamboo strips atop each other. Some homeowners claim this engineered bamboo flooring type resembles natural hardwood the most.
  • Horizontal bamboo floors: Offers the classic bamboo appearance. Thanks to the horizontal layers of the bamboo strips, the stripes and knuckles are apparent.
  • Strand-woven bamboo floors: The bamboo stalks are shredded into fibers before being mixed with resin. As a result, the strand-woven engineered bamboo material is highly durable. It's also the most expensive one out of the three types.

Can be Carbonized

Nowadays, you're not limited to light-colored bamboo floors that offer a contemporary look. If you want a darker, richer look– carbonized engineered bamboo flooring is an option you may want to investigate.

Highly Durable

As previously mentioned, engineered bamboo flooring doesn't contract or expand like its solid wood counterparts. It is suitable for high-traffic areas, including the bedroom, kitchen, and living room.

Strand-woven engineered bamboo floors are among the most durable options in the market today. It has twice the rating of oak floors on the Janka hardness scale. Although, both horizontal and vertical bamboo floors are equally as strong as oak flooring.

Can be Refinished

Fortunately, engineered bamboo floors are the same as engineered hardwood flooring– in the sense that they can be refinished. This will heavily depend on the veneer thickness, though.

Most experts suggest a ¼ inch thickness of the veneer to ensure high durability. Additionally, if you have a thicker veneer, the more you can refinish it.

Features Natural Antimicrobial Properties

Engineered bamboo material is found to have natural antimicrobial properties. The fibers of the bamboo plant naturally repel mold, mildew, and pollen.

Termites also don’t like it– so you can count on your new floors to be extra durable and long-lasting!

Wider Planks

With the use of fiberboard, SPC, or plywood– it’s highly possible to have wider engineered bamboo flooring planks compared to their solid counterparts (which usually comes in standard, narrow planks).

Disadvantages of Engineered Bamboo Flooring

Naturally, engineered bamboo floors also have their fair share of disadvantages. Let’s discuss some of them in detail below.

Susceptible to Water Damage

Although engineered bamboo floors are highly water-resistant, these floors are not 100% waterproof. Experts strongly advise against using engineered bamboo flooring in an outdoor setting or areas with excessive water.

Also, it's important to wipe any spills or water accidents from the floor's surface almost immediately.

Susceptible to Dents and Scratches

As we've mentioned, bamboo floors boast excellent durability and strength. But this doesn't mean it's indestructible. Even with a hard-wearing floor surface, it's common to see frequent scratches and dents, especially if your floors undergo wear and tear.

If you don't tend after your engineered bamboo floors properly, visible scratches will only become a common sight at home.

Pro tip: Use felt protector pads for your heavy furniture. If you plan to move heavy objects and furniture around, try not to drag them across the floor.

Invite someone over to give you a hand in lifting them before putting them down gently.

It May be More Expensive than Solid Bamboo Floors

Given that the manufacturing process for engineered bamboo floors takes longer, has a more complicated process, and requires more energy– this material may cost you more than their solid counterparts.

However, it will have cheaper professional installation costs with its click-lock mechanism. For a more accurate quote on engineered bamboo floors, it’s best to talk to a local flooring expert.

Potentially High VOC

Manufacturing engineered bamboo floors involves more adhesive (resins) or toxic chemicals. This may increase the volatile organic compounds (VOCs) released once the wood is cut into pieces.

As such, any contact or possible exposure may put your health at risk. To avoid jeopardizing your health and safety, look for brand-certified engineered bamboo floors. It is a crucial factor if you have specific allergies or asthma.

Pro tip: Check the Forestry Stewardship Council to browse for sustainable practices and manufacturing methods. You may also consult with your local flooring retailer to ensure your engineered bamboo floorboards are 100% safe.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

How is Engineered Bamboo Flooring Made?

Engineered bamboo flooring looks like bamboo sliced in solid lengths. However, there is not much natural bamboo among the engineered planks. The flooring comprises a backing layer made from fiberboard or cross-laminated plywood.

How do I ensure I pick safe engineered bamboo floors?

Compared to other types of wood flooring, engineered bamboo is less regulated, making its manufacturing process include more toxic chemicals. Ask for certifications that may prove your engineered bamboo floors are responsibly manufactured with few chemicals and do not contribute to a lot of environmental damage.

Kenneth Wilson
January 5, 2022
Cost Guides, Flooring

Kenneth Wilson

Retired contractor. Currently residing in Southwest Florida. Now in semi-retirement, I write and manage this blog focused on helping home owners make savvy decisions when it comes to finding contractors and getting their projects done. I also operate remodeling design service for homeowners.

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