Many people feel that there is. While it take a lifetime for hardwood to mature it typically takes bamboo only about 3-5 years to reach a size that can be used for the manufacture of wood flooring. The bottom line is that bamboo floors are easily scratched, dented, and chipped, just like many other woods. If you are looking at bamboo flooring press a fingernail or a coin into the wood and see how much, and how easily, it dents. This type of bamboo is more durable than other types, however, and resists cupping and is ultimately more stable than pure bamboo. If you live in an area with very high humidity the increased moisture resistance of engineered bamboo flooring may make this a good choice for you.
One of the many problems with bamboo is that large areas of natural forests are being cleared to grow bamboo for export. Other woods can be certified by the Forest Stewardship Council but most bamboo products have no certification. In spring of 2008 Smith and Fong Plyboo earned FSC certification on it’s bamboo flooring. This means that the bamboo from these companies is certified to be grown in a sustainable and responsible manner. The decision whether to choose bamboo or conventional wood flooring should be made after considering all of the facts and choosing what works best for you. Have a conversation with a knowledgeable sales person prior to making a purchase of bamboo flooring.
I think the main problem with end user experiences with bamboo flooring is perhaps-matching expectations with performance of the product. When sales personnel with little knowledge, experience, or expertise with bamboo flooring attend to a customer-it is likely that you will end up with the wrong product. So, there needs to be at least a short conversation about how/where the bamboo will be installed, with someone who has experience with bamboo, so that you can make the most informed purchase decision. Bamboo flooring is not a commodity product like Hardwood with a universal grading system of (select and better, #1 common, #2 common).
This advice is coming from someone who has sold and installed bamboo flooring for over 10 years. Not at all to be critical but bamboo is a weed and the FSC does not want to be any part of certification of something that grows fasted than the periodic visits of FSC personnel to check plantations. There are no bamboo plantations, places where bamboo grow have a hard time keeping it cut back. Bamboo on the other hand, the FSC did not even want to discuss, as they classify it as a WEED. Bottom line, I just can’t imagine the bamboo lasting decades that a thick hardwood floor will last.
The result of FSC actions is loss to the world of 150 years growth of teak and ignoring the uncontrolled growth of bamboo plants. We installed bamboo flooring 7 months ago and overall I am not satisfied, but the problem may be that we got a very dark stain. When our cat threw up on the bamboo it stained the bamboo and I just don’t know how we can restain it at any point in the future. I have to admit, when I first heard about bamboo flooring, I was a little skeptical. Solid bamboo flooring is comprised of only bamboo strips glued and pressed together.