General Question

silverfly's avatar

Bamboo or wood laminate?

Asked by silverfly (4045points) April 24th, 2010

I’m planning on ripping out my carpet and buying wood flooring. I’ve heard that wood laminate is great because it’s cheap and looks like wood. But, I’ve also heard that bamboo can be affordable as well and is also eco-friendly (I guess because it grows like weeds).

Can someone give me advice as to which route to take? If bamboo is more expensive, what is the benefit in buying it? I have to pay for installation as well, so I’m trying to save money. I have about $4,000 to spend on about 700 square feet.

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27 Answers

filmfann's avatar

The bamboo is a very very hard wood. It is very light, and very attractive.

Fred931's avatar

I have a lot of cleaning chemicals that warn against use of the product on wood laminate. Just a thought.

silverfly's avatar

@Fred931 – Good to know, thanks.

buster's avatar

I install flooring among other things. Go with the bamboo!! Its is much more durable than laminate. It can be refinished after years of scratches and dings. It looks good. Laminate and floating floor systems are crap. Look at it. Its really thin a quarter inch or less. Its is wood particles and glue pressed together with a shiny side. Basically its thin wood paneling. If it gets scratched up you can’t sand it down and refinish it. If anything leaks and puddles on the laminate and your gone or your dog pees on it occasionally it gets in the joints and then they all pucker up. It looks like crap and you can’t fix it after that. Check out a place like Lumber Liquidators. They had the best price on bamboo in my area last time I laid some.

silverfly's avatar

@buster Thanks. You make a convincing argument. We do have a small dog that loves to pee on the floor – like every day, which is why we want hard floors in the first place. What’s the price difference between laminate and bamboo?

jrpowell's avatar

Have you tried looking looking under the carpet to see what is underneath? If your house is older there might already be a really nice hardwood floor.

My sister bought a house with foul carpet and when they pulled it up they found the most amazing hardwood floor. It took three of us the weekend to sand the floor and put down a few layers of stain. In the end it was beautiful.

silverfly's avatar

That would be awesome! However, I’m almost positive that I won’t get that lucky. The house is about 15 years old and the previous owners were elderly and barely kept up with this place. The carpet and floors are just as old as the house.

marinelife's avatar

I am going to weigh in not with facts, but with feelings. Go for the bamboo! It is real.

silverfly's avatar

@marinelife haha… Unfortunately, I can’t afford to decide with feelings.

Fred931's avatar

@silverfly The house could have gone through many ownerships, one of which could have put in a wood floor, followed by one that put in carpet, followed by another, and another…

silverfly's avatar

@Fred931 Maybe, but I think they were the first and only owners.

marinelife's avatar

@silverfly It doesn’t look too bad when compared to Laminate. Check out this site, and then click on the laminate link in the left -hand bar to compare.

I think you would get much better quality from the bamboo.

buster's avatar

Who is going to do the labor? With the Liquidator Lumber prices on the bamboo I would gladly , tear out your carpet, pad, tack strips, staples, cut off door frames, pull up shoe mold and then go wide open on laying the 700 square of prefinished for $4,000. This price includes tar paper for underlayment, flooring staples, finish nails, and putty. If your able you can save money by doing as many of the prep steps as possible yourself.

Cruiser's avatar

The bamboo is a premium floor but the look is unique and not for everyone. The laminates are really well made, prefinished and practically indestructable provided you get the good quality one plus you have a very wide selection of colors and finishes. If you can afford it I would get the ¾” prefinished wood floor those feel like real nail down wood floors!

lilikoi's avatar

I agree w/ @Cruiser. There are different grades of wood laminate. Some will be more expensive than bamboo. Bamboo itself is a laminate I think – I think they take strips of it and glue them together to make planks. Bamboo definitely has a certain look, and it is not the same as the look of wood.

lucillelucillelucille's avatar

Natural over plastic.

silverfly's avatar

@buster I haven’t found anyone yet. I just started looking. We’ll probably do as much pre-labor as possible. Ripping out the carpet will actually be liberating and save us money. :)

thriftymaid's avatar

I probably would not have either; I would opt for solid oak flooring. The laminate looks fake to me (which it is). My daughter had bamboo installed in her whole house. It’s beautiful, but it scratches very easily.

PandoraBoxx's avatar

See if there is a location near you.

silverfly's avatar

@PandoraBoxx There is indeed. Are they good and reliable?

Judi's avatar

My experience with cheap laminate is that it tends to scratch pretty easy. I LOVE my hand scraped bamboo floors. If they do get a little scratched it looks like the character of the wood. The older they get the better they look (as long as I keep them clean.)
I bought the materials at They have some good information on installation as well.
Here’s a pic of my bamboo

filmfann's avatar

@Judi the aluminum cabinets are remarkable! I have never seen those before. Are those widely available?

Judi's avatar

They are stainless steel. We had them custom made. My husband is a contractor.

silverfly's avatar

@Judi Thanks! Your floors / kitchen are amazing! I’m thinking I should probably go the bamboo route. It sounds like the safest bet, despite price.

thisisasituation's avatar

Bamboo, of course. In my opinion. But, I think the choice has to be made by the person. Because you will be the one that is living with the look and feel of whatever you decide to put on your floors. Bamboo is good for many reasons, but you have to consider if it is the look you are going for, or if you have other convictions that will sway your decision.

Lfarewell's avatar

Bamboo definitely. I have it and I love it :)

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