We recently discussed the Janka Hardness Scale, and how it assists flooring shoppers determine the durability of their chosen wood species. With consumers trying to make eco-conscious decisions regarding their homes, we wanted to address the hardness ranking of bamboo versus hardwood. We also touch briefly on the environmental factors to consider when choosing speciality flooring, including bamboo and hardwood.

Bamboo versus Hardwood – Durability

In its natural state, bamboo is relatively hard in comparison to common wood flooring choices. Yet bamboo is usually treated through carbonization to produce a darker finish. By undergoing the carbonization process, bamboo is placed under extreme heat and pressure. This process weakens the material.

According to the Janka Hardness Scale, natural bamboo rates at 1380lbf, which closely mirrors White Oak at 1360lbf. Once carbonized, natural bamboo drops down to 1180lbf, much closer to Heart Pine at 1225lbf.

Bamboo versus Hardwood – Environmental Factors

Bamboo continues to receive attention for its use as an eco-friendly building material. Bamboo stalks grow rapidly, with most varieties reaching full height in 2-5 years. Furthermore, when harvested, bamboo roots are not cut or uprooted. Instead, they continue producing new life without replanting. Combine all these attributes with the fact bamboo is all-natural, recyclable, and biodegradable, and you have quite the floor covering.

However, there is a drawback. Bamboo is predominately grown in Asia. It requires significant energy expenditure to prepare and manufacture the stalks into a viable flooring product. In transporting the finished goods, bamboo produces a higher carbon footprint compared to native wood species.

By contrast, trees can take upwards of fifteen years to reach maturity. Once harvested, new trees must be planted. While the regrowth period is much longer than bamboo, North American flooring associations have developed eco-certified programs for sourcing new-growth and river-reclaimed materials. In terms of waste generated when producing planks and boards, many manufacturers  use the by-products to create mouldings and other millwork.

The Right Choice

When it comes to any speciality flooring, be it bamboo or hardwood flooring, there is no right or wrong selection. Work with a reputable manufacturer or distributor, and pick the perfect product for you home. At the end of the day, you want to be happy with your choice: today, tomorrow, and beyond.

Questions about selecting the right hardwood floor? Concerns with existing hardwood installed in your home or business? Contact the experts at Logs End for tips and advice. Please stop by our showroom at 1520 Triole Street in Ottawa, or visit our website at www.logsend.com