Hardwood vs. Click Strand Bamboo Flooring

13 Replies

Hello,

I've recently purchased my first home.  It's a four bedroom townhouse located downtown in Charleston, SC.  The lower level is a concrete slab and the upper level is a plywood base floor.  We are considering putting real hardwood upstairs (plywood base) and Strand Bamboo downstairs (concrete slab).  Does anyone have experience with the Morning Star Strand Bamboo from Lumber Liquidators?  Is it durable?  Does it scratch easily?  Can it be sanded, and if so how many times?

I'm considering putting the Bamboo flooring upstairs as well and would like anyone's opinion on the durability.  I plan to live in this house for at least two years and then make it a rental.

Thank you,

Jules

Jules,
I just put down the stranded bamboo flooring from Morning Star and it looks great. I have a slab home and I glued it down which was fairly easy. The work for getting it done right is making sure the slab is flat. Level and flat are two different things so make sure you don't have peaks and valleys in your slab floor. So far it seems to be holding up pretty well but like any flooring it's not indestructable. If you have anything that will have a sharp edge it will scratch the flooring and leave a white scratch mark. Also, the amount of glue you have to use will be more than you expect. I put down 600sq feet and it took 22 gallons of glue which isn't cheap. Lastly, if you plan on nailing it down on your plywood base sub floor it's going to be tough. The stranded bamboo flooring is so tough the nails have a hard time shooting through the boards. I love my floors and they are beautiful and I'm very pleased with the results. If your looking for a floor that won't ever get damaged then concrete is your best option because there is no such thing in the wood/bamboo flooring department. Let me know if I can help as there are alot of negative reports on the flooring non of which I have seen with mine.

Thanks for sharing!  Why did you decide to glue down the floor instead of using the click system?  I tested it with a couple samples I took and it seems to work well. 

@Jules Semanchuk  

When I lived and flipped homes in Hawaii, natural, blonde bamboo was very popular and looked great unless people had dogs. Those little paws scratch the heck out of any wood surface!

Now that I live in Utah, I hear nothing but bad stories about bamboo. First, the darker colors are now in style and always show more scuffs than the natural or blonde color. Second, in Hawaii everybody always takes their shoes off to enter a home, so scuffs, other than doggy claws, were unusual. Third, in Hawaii (and probably in S. Carolina) the humidity keeps bamboo hydrated but the dry climate here in the west makes bamboo crack and split in the first year!

If you go with bamboo, or any wood, put little pads on the bottoms of chair and table legs, and think about a no-shoes policy. Also, be aware that direct sun will eventually change the color of most wood floors. If you go with something very dark and glossy, you will probably shoot yourself in the first 6 months if you have pets and/or kids. If it's for your own residence, do what you want and enjoy it. If it's in a rental home, I would stay away from bamboo or any wood. There are some great porcelain tiles these days that have a great look and far better durability. Below is a floor I just had installed in a kitchen for about $5.50 er Sq. Ft. including labor and materials. They are 12"x 24" porcelain tiles from Home Depot with epoxy "Haystack" grout.

Have fun and post some photos when you are done!

After reading the forums on Bigger Pockets, I actually decided to go with Laminate.  Considering it will be a rental in the future, I think it is the right choice.  The durability of the sample was clear between laminate and bamboo.  Thanks for the input all!

@Jules Semanchuk  I like the durability of @Douglas Larson  suggestion.

I am going to be tearing out the laminate (Home Depot pedigree) of a new purchase because of the wear & buckled end joints after 3 years (older tenant). It was installed by a HD sub, but I understand the tenant constantly washed the flooring hence the buckling & swelling of the end joints. It's 4 bedrooms 3 baths & that's a lot of laminate.

@Jules Semanchuk  All wood products will scratch and dent!!!  Bamboo is no different.

If you're buying a pre-finished floor, sanding it down in the future is a lot harder than it used to be.  The aluminum oxide finish is MUCH harder than the old urethane finishes and it will take a hardwood guy a long time to "blast" through those layers.  

As long as you're keeping up on the hardwood, it's a great product.  Remember to use a plastic chair protector for your office chairs as the casters WILL dent the floor...pads under the legs of chairs/furniture...

If you were thinking of turning it into rental down the road, I'd go laminate in a heartbeat. 

Good luck!

I put a floating tongue-and-groove bamboo floor in my first flip (a 2nd floor condo).
I also installed a click-system laminate in my rental unit for a third of the price of what I paid for bamboo. 

The bamboo looks nicer, but had a lot more issues (probably due to how it was installed).
When the wood started to shift naturally due to variations in temperature and humidity, cracks between joints started becoming more pronounced. I used A LOT of glue in the grooves, but it was happening. You won't ever have this problem with click-system laminate or engineered wood. You probably won't have this problem with non-click if you install correctly either, but click wood basically eliminates this entirely. It's just one less thing to worry about.

 If you are having it professionally installed by someone who knows what they are doing, I don't see there being a problem. But if you are trying to save money or DIY, or using labor that you're unfamiliar with, I would suggest using click floors. They are much easier, cheaper, and faster to install.

Also note that If you are installing flooring in a unit where there are people living under you, many associations will require cork soundproofing.

I would prefer to only use click wood in a rental or rehab just because of there being less chance of surprises and it being so much more convenient to install. In my own home, I would definitely prefer hardwood.

We did the tile that looks like wood in our last flip and were really pleased.

When I get my first rental I am thinking about going laminate also, but the tile that looks like wood looks great and I know it would hold up better.

Did you put that tile through out the whole house @Bob E. ?

I'm not sure how that would work in NC.

We are in Arizona and we did the common areas.  We did carpet in the bedrooms and hallway.  For a rental I am sure it would hold up longer then laminate.  I would recommend using a very dark grout so it won't show dirt.  We got our tile through Home Depot as part of a bid desk order but some of the local shops were quoting @1.80 a sq.

Good luck to you!

Much obliged for this post, it has helped me a lot. My sister-in-law too had to get new flooring done a few months back and had asked me for some suggestions. That is when I realized not many know about flooring upkeep and carpet cleaning. Saw this information on commercial carpet cleaning sydney that is very informative. Hope this helps.

So the best (least expensive & most durable) option for new flooring in a rental would be...laminate? 

I would agree that laminate just doesn't hold up. It gets water in the cracks and starts to bubble. It seems to only hold up about 3 years (if you're lucky). I'm thinking of going with tile-that-looks-like-wood. I own two 3BR apartments that are small enough that transitions from tile to wood wouldn't look good. I'm wondering if it's appropriate throughout the whole apartment. Has anyone tiled bedrooms and hallways with it, or is that too 'cold'?

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