Bamboo flooring quality and durability advantages to this type of floor far outweigh the disadvantages.
However, you can run into problems with your floor in the future if you do not do some research before buying.
The planning stage of buying and installing floors is when you need to do your research, rather than waiting until after you have had the floor installed.
It will prevent problems from arising out of issues you didn't realise you needed to consider before installation.
You can avoid some future problems by ensuring your floor material is well manufactured. Bamboo flooring quality is known to be reliable but it is firstly dependant on the experience of the manufacturer and the materials they use to construct the product.
Over the years there has been some poor manufacturing of bamboo floors, and as with anything else, the minority poorly produced product can lead to lack of confidence in the whole market. This is wrong as these floors are among the most beautiful, durable, hard, and easy to maintain, and certainly do not deserve a bad reputation.
Here are some of the things to look out for to make sure you get a top notch product when choosing the supplier of your floor.
The canes used by the mills must be mature and must have been through the process of an appropriate drying period for the bamboo flooring quality to be good. Some manufacturers have been known to use immature bamboos and this has led to unreliability in the product.
As a guide, to make sure your floor is suitable for a range of climates or climates with seasonal fluctuations, the raw cane should have been dried to 6-8% moisture content. A material with 9-10 moisture content may not be stable in a dry climate. An installation engineer in your local area may be able to advise you better for your particular climate.
The canes are sorted at the mills and the longest straightest canes with the best density are generally reserved for manufacturing the best pieces. Most planks are sold in 3ft or 6ft lengths with the 6ft planks being made of the better canes. The 6ft lengths are often referred to as 'premium', or similarly described. If you go for these planks you may find that the overall qualities of the pieces are better than the 3ft sizes.
The longer lengths will probably cost a bit more but in the long term the relative investment may prove to be worth it.
Ensure your floor material has been constructed using a good adhesive that is formaldehyde free. Some adhesives release gasses into the home so make sure it is of an appropriate standard and labelled as such.
Also check that it is a water resistant adhesive for reliability in damper atmosphere or in case of liquids spillage around the home.
When looking at sample planks or sections, take a good look at the end of the cuts on the sample. Make sure that there are no gaps or small splits in between the strips. If you can see repairs that have been filled with adhesive on the sample it may suggest that the pieces you purchase will also be of that standard.
The samples should be of the same bamboo flooring quality that you will expect for installation in your home. If the supplier carries these samples around to lots of exhibitions the samples may suffer some scuffing or damage during transit. If that is the case ask the supplier to show you samples that have not been transported numerous times to give a more realistic impression of true standards.
Check to see if the individual strips on the sample have been cut to a perfect rectangle. Imperfect cutting can lead to problems with installation when trying to match and fit planks together.
If your supplier has imported the materials it may also be worth enquiring about how many mills the supplier imports from. Importers who import from one or two high standard mills may indicate that they have higher standards over a supplier who imports from numerous mills. It is important that the mills adhere to certain tolerances within their manufacturing processes.
Ask your supplier if they can provide you with references from previous customers who have already had their floors installed in their homes.
All natural flooring, no matter how durable, will suffer from the abrasive scratching from normal household wear and tear. Small particles of grit brought into the house on footwear, moving of furniture, high heel shoes, and various other things can cause scratching on surfaces if care is not taken. The finish applied to your flooring will help prevent against such things and a good finish coat of a scratch resistant material is ideal.
For more about maintenance and prevention of damage see my page on bamboo floor care. At the bottom of this page there is also a link to the other sections of this site that are related to floors made of bamboos.
Check out best practice and general tips in my guide to how to clean bamboo floors when you have finished with this page.