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Why Did We Compile This Guide?

One book on top of another titled Bamboo Flooring Guide

Bamboo is a relatively recent addition to the flooring market, having first emerged in the mid-90s, and there's a significant amount of misleading information online, some of it due to the fact that the original versions were less robust than the newer style of floors. Way back in 2005, Ambient® became one of the first companies in the world to pioneer the incredible product known as strand woven bamboo flooring. Over the years we've served tens of thousands of homeowners, builders, and architects across the globe, shipping our quality floors to all 50 U.S. states and such far away lands as Europe, Africa and beyond, amassing a wealth of information about this fantastic product.

This guide, along with its associated pages, is a comprehensive informational and educational resource for bamboo flooring. We have compiled all the information you need to confidently research this sustainable product. Our guide covers everything from the types of flooring to the latest manufacturing techniques and environmental benefits. If you have already decided to purchase and want to see prices and cost we recommend you explore our selection of bamboo flooring here.

How Is Bamboo Flooring Manufactured?

To make bamboo flooring, we harvest A grade Moso bamboo when it is between five and seven years old (6" to 8" in diameter) to ensure maximum strength, durability, and quality. After stripping off the outer layer of green skin, we slice only the middle of the culm — the most resilient part of the stalk — into long strips. Depending on the type of flooring, the strips are then heated, dried, and fused together under immense pressure to make flooring boards. Want to know more? Check out our in-depth look at how our bamboo floors are made.

Our eucalyptus flooring is made much in the same way, using hand-picked raw materials that regenerate in as little as 3 years.

  • Harvesting the Bamboo
    harvesting bamboo
    After harvesting, bamboo shoots remain alive and re-grow new stalks.
  • Pest & Decay Prevention
    bamboo pest and decay prevention
    Bamboo strips are boiled in lime acid to remove insects, starches and sugars.
  • Carbonization
    bamboo carbonization
    Bamboo can be darkened via a steam pressured carbonization process.
  • Moisture Balancing
    bamboo drying and moisture control
    Too much or too little moisture can cause wood to shrink or swell.
  • Strip Milling & Prep
    bamboo strip inspection
    The green outer hull of bamboo is removed and stalk is cut into strips.
  • Finish Process
    bamboo finishing process
    We apply top coating that makes our floors beautiful and stand up for years.
  • Packaging
    packaging planks at plant
    We inspect our flooring planks and group them into lots according to color.

Types Of Bamboo Flooring

There are different processes that are used to turn bamboo grass materials into planks ready for installation. Each manufacturing method produces a product with specific characteristics, which may make it more or less desirable in a particular environment. Familiarizing yourself with the different types of bamboo construction ensures that you will choose the right style for your residential or commercial project, and that you won't experience product performance or installation problems.

Grain Types

When it comes to different grain types of bamboo, there are three main choices: horizontal, vertical, and strand-woven. Each one has different characteristics that will help buyers decide which type of bamboo to purchase and install in their home or business. The grain type to purchase depends greatly on the overall look the buyer is trying to achieve.

1. Horizontal Bamboo

It is made by drying out large strips of bamboo, cutting and slicing these larger pieces down into smaller, thinner strips, and gluing these thin strips together into planks. In order to ensure that the planks are secure, pressure and heat are applied to the planks. Because bamboo naturally has a lighter color and shade, the strips are sometimes stained, and some go through a process of carbonization. On horizontal bamboo that you will still see the traces of the bamboo nodes - giving it the closest appearance to what bamboo looks like in its natural state.

Horizontal Bamboo Floor
Carbonized Horizontal Bamboo Floor


  • Tons of options
  • Natural look
  • Ability to refinish


  • Visible nodes
  • Weakened hardness
  • Refinishing limitations

2. Vertical Bamboo

Before getting into the manufacturing process of vertical bamboo, you may notice that this type of flooring has a lot of similarities to horizontal bamboo. The reason for this is that the initial process of cutting larger stalks of bamboo into thinner strips is essentially the same. The primary difference is that instead of stacking and gluing the strips in a horizontal direction, as the name suggests, this type of flooring is produced by gluing the strips vertically. Because of the vertical orientation, you will find that the nodes common with the horizontal type are nearly non-existent when it comes to vertical bamboo.

Vertical Bamboo Floor
Carbonized Vertical Bamboo Floor


  • Minimalist look
  • Natural look
  • Ability to refinish


  • Weakened hardness
  • Not for fans of the bamboo look

3. Strand Woven Bamboo

This floor is created by interweaving strands of bamboo, then using pressure and heat to compress them into planks. This process results in extremely hard planks that are many times more dense than your average hardwood. Because bamboo naturally has a lighter color and shade, the strips are sometimes stained, and some go through a process of carbonization, which turns the natural blonde color into a toasty warm brown color.

Strand Woven Bamboo Floor
Carbonized Vertical Bamboo Floor


  • Strength and durability
  • Scratch resistance
  • Broad application


  • Very heavy planks

Construction Types

The 6 main types of bamboo floors are: solid strand, solid strand "floating," tongue and groove engineered, SPC rigid core, click-lock engineered, and solid horizontal and vertical. Familiarizing yourself with the different types ensures that you'll choose the right style for every project and that you won't experience problems with your installation. If you're looking for durability, we recommend strand woven bamboo; if you're looking for ease of installation, check out floating floors.

1. Solid Strand Bamboo - Tongue and Groove

An infographic showing the makeup of tongue and groove flooring
Installation: Nail Down or Glue Down
  • Much harder than traditional wood floors (2-3X harder than oak)
  • Available in handscraped, brushed, flat, and other unique surface styles
  • Rapidly renewable bamboo that regrows in 5 years
  • Solid wood all the way through
  • Ambient® brand is Floorscore® Certified for indoor air quality
  • Can be refinished 2-4 times
  • Can be nailed down or glued down to a variety of subfloor types

Bottom Line: The perfect combination of toughness, beauty, eco-friendliness and affordability. Can be nailed down or glued down (even on concrete) and there are no run limits. Holds up great against pets and children, can be used in kitchens, and is available in premium wide planks at a fraction of what you'd pay for traditional hardwoods.

2. Solid Strand Bamboo - Click Lock

An infographic showing the makeup of click lock flooring
Installation: Floating
**Please note, Ambient does not sell this type of flooring.
  • Many times harder than traditional wood floors (3X harder than oak)
  • Available in a variety of surface styles
  • Rapidly renewable bamboo that regrows in 5 years
  • Solid wood all the way through
  • Can be refinished 2-4 times
  • Easy installation
  • Only suitable for indoor environments with very stable year-around humidity. Low-to-average dimensional stability leads to excessive shrinkage when humidity levels drop below 35%
  • Maximum recommended runs* if interior humidity varies more than 20% throughout the year**: 15 ft across widths (tangentially) and 25 ft lengthwise (longitudinally)

*A "run" refers to the consecutive distance the floor extends in any given direction

**Opening the windows in your home for a full day is okay.

Bottom Line: Floating solid (wood all the way through) wood floors generate a lot of complaints about shrinkage, as these floors should only be installed in homes with very stable humidity. If you want a floating floor we strongly recommend using engineered bamboo flooring (not solid) as engineered floors have much higher dimensional stability and aren't nearly as susceptible to humidity variation.

3. Engineered Strand Bamboo - Click Lock

An infographic showing the makeup of engineered click lock flooring
An infographic showing the makeup of eucalyptus flooring
Installation: Floating (click-lock) or Glue Down
  • Wear layer is up to 3 times harder than comparable wood floors
  • Wear layer is rapidly renewable bamboo that regrows in 5 years
  • Engineered bamboo has a higher dimensional stability than solid floors, which allows them to be floated
  • Ambient® brand is Floorscore® Certified for indoor air quality
  • Can be refinished up to 2 times if the wear layer is at least 2mm
  • Easy installation and can be installed in basements
  • If you live in an area with strong seasons (for example very humid summers, and dry winters), it's recommended that you keep your run limits shorter than 25 feet across the widths of the planks and shorter than 45 feet down the lengths of the planks. If your installation measurements exceed those limits you can install bamboo t-molding at convenient breakpoints (like doorways). However if you have built-in humidity control in your HVAC system, or use humidifiers and dehumidifiers to keep the humidity stable in your home, you don't have to mind these recommendations.

*A "run" refers to the consecutive distance the floor extends in any given direction

**Opening the windows in your home for a full day is okay.

Bottom Line: If you want to float a hardwood floor, engineered click lock bamboo is the way to go — it's tough, beautiful and easy to install. We recommend choosing an engineered floor with a minimum 2mm wear layer (can be refinished twice) and a high-quality 3-in-1 underlayment that has a high STC sound rating — this will result in a final product that looks and feels exactly like solid hardwood when you walk on it.

4. Engineered Rigid Core Strand Bamboo - Click Lock (SPC Core)

An infographic showing the makeup of rigid core flooring
Installation: Floating
  • Strand bamboo wear layer is up to 3X harder than comparable floors
  • Highly water resistant — great for kitchens, baths, basements
  • Easy click lock installation
  • Ambient® brand comes with pre-attached acoustic vapor barrier underlayment for cushioning, sound insulation and subfloor moisture protection
  • High-density core provides exceptional stability
  • Available in a variety of surface styles
  • Cannot be refinished. However, these floors will last decades in a residential setting without the need to be refinished due to the toughness of strand woven bamboo.

Bottom Line: Technically this is an engineered floor due to its multi-layered design however it's different enough to warrant its own category! Why? Because it's highly water resistant, and exhibits little to no expansion and contraction. The Ambient® brand version also happens to include a nifty acoustic vapor barrier pad attached underneath which allows it to be installed directly on concrete or any other level surface as long as it's not excessively wet*. With its stone polymer core and thick 40 mm wear layer, it's dimensionally stable, comfortable underfoot, and is built to last for years and years.

* 'Excessively wet' is defined as emitting moisture > 20 lbs per sq ft as determined by a calcium chloride test (usually a very small percentage of sub-floors). In these cases you will first need to lay down a plastic vapor barrier sheet or similar.

5. Engineered Strand Bamboo - Tongue & Groove

An infographic showing the makeup of engineered tongue and groove flooring
Installation: Glue down, nail down, glue together (floating)
  • Wear layer is up to 3 times harder than comparable wood floors
  • Wear layer is rapidly renewable bamboo that regrows in 5 years
  • Higher dimensional stability
  • Ambient® brand is Floorscore® Certified for indoor air quality
  • Can be refinished up to 2 times if the wear layer is at least 2mm
  • Can be nailed down, glued down, or floated
  • Floating installation requires manually applying a bead of glue on the inside groove of every plank
  • Maximum recommended runs* if interior humidity varies more than 20% throughout the **year: 25 ft across widths (tangentially) and 45 ft lengthwise (longitudinally)

*A "run" refers to the consecutive distance the floor extends in any given direction

**Opening the windows in your home for a full day is okay.

Bottom Line: Similar to the click lock engineered floors mentioned above, this tongue and groove version is very stable for floating installations. The downside of a floating floor is that they're a bit harder to install as you have to manually apply the bead of glue along the inside of the grooves of each plank. It can also be nailed or glued down.

6. Classic Bamboo - Tongue & Groove

An infographic showing the makeup of horizontal tongue and groove flooring
HORIZONTAL BAMBOO (natural color)
An infographic showing the makeup of vertical tongue and groove flooring
VERTICAL BAMBOO (natural color)
Installation: Nail Down or Glue Down
**Please note, Ambient® does not sell this type of flooring.
  • Eco-friendly like all types of bamboo flooring
  • Available in multiple colors and surface styles
  • Can be refinished 1-3 times
  • Much softer than strand woven bamboo (1/3rd the hardness)
  • Dents and scratches much more easily than strand bamboo

Bottom Line: If you like modern looking floors, these are for you. However these floors are not intended for use in high traffic environments. From a hardness perspective they're just mid-range, more similar to Red Oak than to strand woven bamboo, which means these floors are more susceptible to denting and scratches over time.

Surface Texture Types

Different surface styles and variations are used to create a unique and rustic look to bamboo, just as with hardwoods. Here are the primary surface styles you can choose from.

An infographic showing the different finished of flooring

Tips When Choosing Between Engineered And Solid Bamboo

  • Tip # 1 - Thicker Wear Layer Translates To Better Quality

    Like traditional hardwood floors, bamboo comes in both engineered and solid versions. The term "engineered" simply means that the top of the plank is composed of a wood wear layer, which is laminated to a substrate — usually made of multi-ply wood or high density fiberboard (HDF). The thicker the wear layer, the better the quality, and quality engineered bamboo with a thick wear layer can be refinished. Multi-ply cores are usually better quality (and more resistant to moisture) than HDF cores.

  • Tip # 2 - If You Want To Float The Floor, Always Choose Engineered

    Solid bamboo can be either nailed down or glued down to just about any sub-floor, including concrete. Engineered flooring is a favorite of DIYers and large building contractors due to its fast and easy "floating" click lock installation method, where the planks are snapped together quickly. Engineered flooring is recommended for basements. Both click-together and tongue and groove engineered floors can be glued down if needed, but solid wood floors should never be floated.

  • Tip # 3 - Differences In Durability And Safety

    From a durability perspective there is no difference — all strand woven bamboo (both engineered or solid) can be installed throughout all rooms in the home. Solid bamboo and wood floors should not be installed in basements. Strand bamboo (engineered and solid) is water-resistant up to 30 hours and rigid core bamboo (which are considered engineered floors) is 100% waterproof. There is no difference in indoor air quality between engineered and solid but we recommend checking to ensure the brand you choose meets the CARB Phase 2 indoor air standard and is Floorscore certified.

An infographic showing the features of bamboo and hardwood flooring

Most Bamboo Floors Come In Premium Wide Planks

Traditional hardwood floors with planks wider than 4 inches and longer than 4 feet have always been considered "premium" and usually come with a premium price tag too ($8 per sq ft or higher). Conversely, due to its rapid regrowth rate, bamboo is available in wide, long (premium) planks at around half of the cost (usually $4-$8 per square foot delivered).

Bamboo Vs Other Flooring Types

When choosing the right kind of flooring for your home, there are so many options, and it can be more than a little confusing. To make it easier, we have listed all the most important features you should consider when choosing your floor and assigned an objective score to each of them. For a more detailed side by side floor comparison? Check out our Bamboo Flooring VS Other Flooring comparison guide.

An infographic showing the features of different types of flooring
An infographic showing the hardness of different types of flooring

Strand Bamboo - 2-3x Harder Than Traditional Woods

Strand woven bamboo is considerably harder than either of its horizontal or vertical cousins, and all conventional hardwood flooring — by far. Bamboo is a grass, not a wood, even though it's classified as hardwood flooring. This means it's fibrous and flexible in its unprocessed state, and we make the most of the plant's natural properties to produce highly durable flooring.

To do this, manufacturers take long strips of raw bamboo and weave them together to create woven "mats." The strands are woven and thus that's where the name "strand woven" originates from. But that wouldn't be enough to create durable flooring. So then the woven mats are exposed to high heat and fused together to an extreme by compression machines.

The result is flooring planks that rank much, much higher than any other hardwood flooring on the Janka Hardness Scale. So high that strand woven bamboo is way harder than even Brazilian Walnut (sometimes called Ipe), Ebony, and Bolivian Cherry.

The Benefits Of Bamboo

What Makes Bamboo Eco-Friendly?

Bamboo is considered a rapidly-renewable resource due to its rapid regrowth rate. There are lots of different species of bamboo, and all of them are evergreen and belong to the grass family Poaceae. Like other grasses, bamboo stems are hollow, which helps the bamboo plant grow rapidly and make it one of the fastest-growing plants in the world. Did you know that bamboo is also used for food, paper, and just about a gazillion household products like cutting boards, kitchen cabinets, and many more?!

To be sustainable, a product must:

  • Be made from renewable materials,
  • Be durable and long-lasting, and
  • Be recyclable or compostable.
bamboo fastest growing plant

growing plant

Small varieties can grow to a height of 3 feet in 24 hours, but that's not the kind used in flooring.

bamboo produces more oxygen

Produces 35%
more O2

Produces 35% more oxygen as compared with other plants.

bamboo absorbs carbon dioxide

12% more CO2

It can absorb 5 times atmospheric carbon dioxide which is great for mitigating climate change.

bamboo is 100% biodegradable


Whenever a plant dies or is cut down, the grove doesn't die. Instead, it uses its energy to replace the plant.

bamboo protects soil

soil structure

Create a fibrous network underground, which helps improve the soil quality and prevents soil erosion.

bamboo contains antibacterial properties


Contains natural anti-fungal and anti-bacterial properties and strong durable fiber to transform into products.

A path through a grove of bamboo

Some Bamboos Grow 1-3 Feet Per Day

Small varieties can grow to a height of 3 feet in 24 hours, but that's not the kind used in flooring. Moso bamboo is considered a "giant" bamboo and is the best for flooring products. This amazing plant uses the energy it absorbs from the sun and soil to build a massive system of roots called rhizomes.

For the first 4 years of growth, there will be no evidence of the massive growth happening below ground. In the spring of year 5, however, a few new plants will break through the ground and grow at an explosive rate for about 6 weeks, which is when they typically run out of energy.

Native to China, Moso bamboo commonly grows to heights of 40-80 feet. Yet, not every Moso plant will grow that tall because bamboo grows in clusters (groves) with taller plants emerging each "generation".

That first generation of new Moso bamboo plants will grow to about 10 feet tall. As this happens, the bamboo grove has more leaves pulling in energy from the sun, and the root system grows stronger. As a result, the batch of plants that push up the next spring can grow taller!

Now the grove has even more leaves and the root system gains more strength and grows wider. The pattern of higher plants each spring continues for 8-10 years, at which point the grove reaches its maximum height.

In nature, each bamboo plant can live about 10-15 years, depending on the variety. Whenever a plant dies or is cut down, the grove doesn't die. Instead, it uses its energy to replace the plant.

Great Articles About Benefits Of Bamboo

Bamboo Flooring - Myths And Facts

As you do your research, you may come across poor reviews from homeowners or installers that have had bad experiences with low quality brands. Here's where we set the record straight on the most common myths and misconceptions.

When bamboo flooring first came about in the mid-1990s, it had a bad reputation for being soft and vulnerable to scratches and dents. However, advances in manufacturing have brought forth certain types of bamboo that are more durable than the hardest traditional hardwoods. On the Janka hardness scale, strand bamboo has a rating of more than 4,000—harder than the strongest teak, cherry, rosewood, or walnut.

This usually happens when using poor-quality brands or when rooms have wildly varying humidity. In both cases, you'd have the same problem with hardwood floors. As with all floors common installation errors are easily avoided by taking 20 minutes to read the installation instructions.

It’s true that pandas do eat bamboo, but not the bamboo used to make our flooring. In fact, pandas don't even live in the areas where we harvest our Moso bamboo.

While it’s true that some products made in China are low-quality, there are also very high-quality products made in China, like iPhones, Mercedes, and all Ambient® products! Reputable suppliers carefully control the manufacturing process and supply chain, and enact strict quality control processes to ensure the products are superbly crafted and hyper durable.

Strand woven bamboo is virtually pet-claw proof from a "permanent denting" standpoint, as even the largest dogs can't apply enough force to leave permanent marks. This is precisely one of the main reasons why homeowners choose strand bamboo.

As for micro-scratches on the surface, there is no surface on earth (diamond floors, anyone?) that won't scratch when hit with something sharp enough, so no floor is scratch-proof. To minimize scratches from furniture and everyday activity, and keep your floors in tip-top shape, try these tips:

  • Use felt pads under furniture feet.
  • Sweep up sand and other grit before it gets ground in by foot traffic.
  • Make sure to use a wood floor cleaning head when vacuuming.
  • Clean up puddles within 24 hours. Pet urine will stain just about every flooring on the planet if left as a puddle for too long, even concrete.

Bamboo can indeed be refinished, we even have a guide on how to do it: How to Refinish Bamboo Flooring. What you can't do to bamboo is stain it on site — but you can certainly sand it down and then add several clear coats of polyurethane. Also, if you take proper care of your floor it will last you decades, and if you purchase a high quality bamboo product, it's highly unlikely you will ever need to refinish it (under residential foot traffic) due to its insanely dense composition and resistance to moisture and high traffic.

Many hardwoods harvested in the Americas, Europe and even Asia are first shipped to China for milling and finishing, and then shipped back to retail locations around the world. That's two shipments compared to one (bamboo grown in China and shipped out from there). Also, due to its incredibly fast regrowth rate, bamboo forests generate orders of magnitude more biomass than their hardwood counterparts and take about 1/10 of the time on average to regrow for harvest. Additionally, when bamboo is harvested, the plant isn't killed, unlike trees used for wood. New growth emerges every spring. So continually harvesting bamboo is much better for the environment than waiting decades for hardwoods to grow and damaging the soil when cutting them down. For an in-depth read on how bamboo is eco-friendly, check out our article Examining the Effects of Hardwood, Cork and Bamboo Flooring on the Environment.

How To Install Bamboo Flooring

Bamboo can be installed just like traditional hardwood flooring: via the nail down, glue down, or floating methods. Want to read Ambient's official installation guide? We have both an English Version and a Spanish Version available for you!

Few Tips For Installing Flooring

Whether you're installing yourself or having a professional do it, here are a few general tips:

  • Do a bit of research first to determine if you want to install solid or engineered, nail down vs glue down vs floating, etc.
  • The subfloor must be structurally sound, dry, clean, and level.
  • While laying the floor planks into place, care should be taken to select them from multiple (4-6) boxes simultaneously to ensure the shade dispersion is balanced across the installation.
  • Choose a bamboo brand that requires less than 5 days of acclimation. Long acclimation period requirements can indicate a low quality bamboo products that has not been properly moisture balanced during the manufacturing process or a finicky product that responds poorly to humidity. Regardless of the brand, allow for up to 10 days of acclimation if you're in a very dry or humid climate.

Great Articles About Flooring Installation

Bamboo Flooring Maintenance

You’re probably wondering about how exactly you can maintain bamboo to continuously enjoy their numerous benefits. Cleaning your flooring is relatively easy. However, you should know that there’s more to it than sweeping and mopping, especially if you want to keep the bamboo looking its best. Check our Cleaning & Care Guide for Bamboo Flooring to learn everything you need to know about proper flooring maintenance.

A Few Tips To Keep Your Floors Looking Fabulous

  • Keep your indoor humidity constant, between 35%-55% (same as hardwoods).
  • Use a soft cloth or microfiber mop to remove dust and dirt.
  • Never use a wet or steam mop.
  • Never use mineral spirits, turpentine or paint thinner to clean your floor.
  • Clean up spilled liquids as quickly as possible.
  • Put mats under rolling chairs and felt pads under furniture feet.
  • Use natural rubber or felt pads under all rugs.
  • Like all building products and other floors, bamboo can be affected by sunlight over time, so rotate rugs and furniture or use UV blocking films on windows that receive lots of direct sunlight.
A man and a woman unroll a rug on a wood floor

Great Articles About Cleaning & Maintenance

Bamboo Flooring Quality

As a newer flooring product, bamboo is not currently rated in any official way to guarantee the quality, source, or consistency of the product. Therefore, you never quite know what you are getting when you purchase bamboo products. It is also harder to ensure that bamboo was sourced in a socially and environmentally responsible way. The best approach is to work with a reputable dealer or manufacturer with a proven track record of sustainable practices or sources, and one known for selling high-quality products.

Quality Can Vary Greatly Between Brands

  • There is no industry standard for grading the quality of bamboo.
  • Make sure to choose the correct floor type for your installation. For example, if you have long runs of flooring, you'll want to choose a glue down or nail down floor, not a floating floor.
  • Check the supplier's qualifications: their floors should meet the CARB Phase 2 standard, and Floorscore certification is a plus.
  • Low-quality finishes can reduce the lifespan of your floor; finishes with aluminum oxide are extremely long lasting.
  • Some brands are known for shrinkage and significant quality issues so it is always recommended to perform online research related to complaints, lawsuits and reviews before choosing a brand. Review websites like Yelp, Complaints Board, and RipoffReport are usually dependable for reliable bamboo flooring reviews.
An infographic showing the amounts of gas for different floors

Safest Floors Have "Effectively Zero" Formaldehyde Emissions

Small levels of phenol-formaldehyde resin and urea formaldehyde are used in the production of strand woven and engineered bamboo floors, but the amount is so minute that it is non-toxic. Cheaper or unconcerned flooring suppliers can have formaldehyde emissions between .2 ppm and .3 ppm (parts per million).

In general, strand bamboo is perfectly safe if test results show less than .05 ppm and they probably off-gas even less than your wood dining room table or wood office desk.

Most of the higher quality flooring brands meet the very tough CARB Phase II, OSHA (Occupational Safety And Health Administration), NAUF standards (No Added Urea Formaldehyde). European and American Indoor Air Quality recommendations allow for .1 ppm and below. For more information about formaldehyde, please visit our Bamboo Flooring and Formaldehyde information page.

How Much Does Bamboo Flooring Cost?

Many factors impact the bamboo flooring cost. Prices can differ from the national average due to the area needing to be covered, bamboo type, quality, brand, and labor costs. Hardwood flooring costs roughly $4 to $8 per square foot for standard materials, such as hard maple or red oak, while more unusual hardwoods can cost upwards of $10 per square foot. Bamboo has an average price of about $3.80 per square foot, within a range of $2 to $6 per square foot. Use our handy Square Footage Calculator to calculate the square footage of your room.

Additional Costs And Considerations

When budgeting for flooring, it’s helpful to know any additional price factors and considerations that can increase the price of the installation project. These can include supplier cost differences; additional costs for subfloor installation, preparation, or floor removal; molding and baseboard repair or replacement; and staining and finish.

  • Labor costs average between $30 and $45 per hour or $2.50 to $6 per square foot.
  • The cost for flooring suppliers can range between $2 and $11 per square foot.
  • Repairing a subfloor can cost between $500 and $720.
  • Joist repair can run from $40 to $60 per square foot.
  • Repairing hardwood flooring averages between $450 and $1,500.
  • If a homeowner wants to add a foam subfloor or vapor barrier, this can add $2 to $4 per square foot.
An infographic showing the prices of different types of flooring

Common FAQs About Bamboo Flooring

No. It's not darker not because it’s been stained, but because it’s been put through a special process of kiln-heating the raw bamboo. This carbonization process darkens the natural sugars found in the plant, giving the finished planks a darker color. This color goes all the way through the plank, just like natural bamboo. A common misconception that has been copied around the internet is that the carbonization process makes carbonized bamboo softer, but this is not true because it only applies to old "classic" bamboo (horizontal and vertical grains), not strand woven bamboo. Classic bamboo is only about 1/3rd the hardness of strand woven bamboo.

Yes, but we highly recommend using only engineered bamboo flooring for floating installations, because floating solid wood or bamboo products can result in problematic expansion and contraction. For ease of installation, seek out click-lock planks that fit together and “snap” into place. This is an incredibly easy installation as no glue or nails are required, and usually can be done even by the most inexperienced installers.

Actually, bamboo holds up incredibly well to moist conditions (within reason, don’t dump buckets of water on your floor and let it sit there). In fact, our floors have been installed in humid climates all over the world in such places as Guam, Kenya, Hawaii and all across the Southern US — even the Dry Tortugas National Park off the coast of Miami. Since bamboo is actually grass and not hardwood, it tolerates moisture and well.

That being said, you must follow NWFA guidelines regarding humidity levels inside the home. Mainly, as with any wood floor, you want to avoid swings of more than 20% in humidity throughout the year. Also, be sure to allow your flooring to acclimate for at least 72 hours, laid flat on the floor in the room where it will be installed, with the boxes and interior plastic cut open.

Absolutely! In fact, due to its hardness and moisture-resistance, strand bamboo is great for kitchens as well as laundry rooms, and basements. Our floors have been installed in kitchens around the world, and also in restaurants, spas, yoga studios, university dorms & lecture halls, and many other high traffic locations. Additionally, with Ambient®'s floors you get our super-tough Accuseal Ultra® finish with aluminum oxide, which provides top-notch spill protection from puddles and stains.

Bamboo flooring can be installed over concrete in two ways: via the floating method or the glue-down method. If you choose to glue down to concrete, just make sure you use an all-in-one/vapor barrier adhesive, it's a compatible trowel, and adhesive remover wipes for cleanup. If you choose to float this flooring over concrete use a 3-in-1 vapor barrier underlayment. For more details check out our bamboo flooring installation page.

We recommend that you add 10% for cutting and waste, but this can vary slightly depending on your skill level and the layout of your room. If you're installing the flooring in a diagonal pattern, you'll need to add 15%.

There are 10 main bamboo moldings that you may need to use depending on your particular installation. Below is a general synopsis:

  • Quarter Round molding hides the expansion gap left between floor and wall during installation.
  • T-moldings are used as a transition strip where the floor transitions to another flooring of equal or similar height (within 1/8").
  • Stair Noses (aka bull nosing) cover the front edge of a stair tread or step and help you transition down onto a landing, lower level, or staircase.
  • Stair Treads are used to cover the entire structural stair tread.
  • Reducers are used to transition down to a flat surface
  • Thresholds are used to transition to a surface that is more than 1/8" higher or lower than the floor and is usually cut to fit, commonly used to transition to carpet and at doorways.
  • Register vent grills are used to cover HVAC ducts and come in either flush mount (flat surface) or drop-in (slightly lifted off the floor) designs.
  • Baseboards are used to hide the expansion gap left between the floor and wall and often paired with quarter round.
  • Spline is used to switch directions when you're laying planks.
  • Cove Molding is used under stairs and some stair nosings to provide a more finished look.

Bamboo holds up well to moisture and can be installed in bathrooms, as long as care is taken to protect it from moisture. As long as you're careful with your water use and you have protective mats at bathtub and shower entrances, bamboo will perform just fine in a bathroom.

You can install hardwood (and bamboo) flooring any time of the year but the best time of year is in the cooler and less humid months during the spring and fall. During the summer months, the air is filled with moisture and during the acclimation process hardwood flooring can absorb too much moisture. This excess moisture causes wood to swell, and later in the year during the dry months it may then shrink and gap. In most parts of the United States, winter is the driest season of the year. In winter, all of the dry air sucks moisture from the wood and causes the boards to contract; when these boards expand later, it can cause buckling issues if proper expansion gaps weren't put into place.

Absolutely! In fact, due to its hardness, it’s much more suitable than traditional hardwoods to handle light commercial foot traffic. Bamboo can be used in restaurants, offices, yoga studios, gyms, and institutional/educational facilities. You can find Ambient® bamboo in Elevation Burger locations worldwide and even in university student unions and restaurants.

The carbonization process only softens "classic" bamboo (vertical or horizontal) — not strand woven bamboo. With strand woven bamboo, the carbonized color is the same hardness as the natural color because the raw materials are compressed to the same density, so there is no real difference between carbonized and natural strand when it comes to hardness.

Regular cleaning can be done so with a Swiffer or any type of lightly damp mop. You’ll want to treat your floors similarly to hardwoods and avoid leaving excessive moisture on the floor while cleaning. You can also use our handy cleaning guide. Here are general tips on how to clean your floors:

  • Use door mats or rugs at entrances so you and guests can wipe dirt, sand, or grit off your shoes so it doesn't get tracked inside where it can potentially damage your floors.
  • Make sure to dry mop or vacuum with a soft accessory once a week (or as needed) to keep the surface free from dirt, sand, and grit.
  • For spills or messy spots, simply use a soft damp cloth and a high-quality hard surface floor cleaner. Avoid using vinegar, mineral spirits, harsh detergents, abrasive cleaners, or corrosive chemicals. Never use steel wool or anything abrasive to scrub your floors.
  • Use only colorfast and non-scratch carpeting or pads.
  • Avoid placing jute rugs or other harsh materials on them.
  • Keep your pet’s nails trimmed and your vacuum cleaner free of debris and small rocks and pebbles.
  • Apply felt pads to the bottom of all furniture, and only use approved hardwood and to avoid damaging the floor.
  • While most bamboo has effective UV protection layering in its pre-finish, the great majority of bamboo and hardwood floors fade from sunlight and light exposure over time (there are a few blocks of wood, like Brazilian Cherry, that darken over time). For hardwoods, you typically want to for long periods. in the summer or during certain hours of the day, or use UV protection films on your windows if parts of your floor are exposed to direct light frequently.
  • Never steam mop bamboo or hardwood.

When you think of the bamboo plant, you probably think of bamboo forests in Southeast Asia, and wild pandas may also come to mind. Most of the world's rapidly-regenerating bamboo grows in China where the soil conditions and climate are ideal for the plant. Moso bamboo, which is the species of bamboo that is used to manufacture flooring, is not (despite popular belief) a species of bamboo that pandas enjoy, nor do they rely on this bamboo to feed themselves. Moso is primarily used for flooring and is typically harvested, milled, and manufactured close by to the forest where it actually grows!


Yes, however we recommend installing engineered bamboo via this method, check out our floating bamboo flooring products here.

Yes! In fact it qualifies for LEED credits under multiple categories. Check out our guide to Bamboo Flooring and LEED Credits

Although "better" is often subjective, bamboo does have some advantages over traditional hardwood. Here's a quick look at what the two popular types of flooring have in common and how they differ.

The Similarities:
  • Both are made from natural materials.
  • Both can be refinished.
  • Both offer comfort and warm temperatures underfoot.
  • Both are easy to maintain.
  • Both offer good indoor air quality, as toxicity and off-gassing levels are very low to zero.
  • Both are installed in the same way, via the nail-down, glue-down, or floating methods.
The Differences:
  • Wood floors made from oak, maple, or hickory have Janka Hardness Ratings of 1200-2500 (avg) while strand woven bamboo has hardness ratings of 3500-4500 (avg).
  • Hardwood comes from trees while bamboo is actually considered a grass.
  • Bamboo is more affordable than hardwoods.
  • Hardwood trees can take 20-60 years to reach full maturity, while bamboo grows in about 3-5 years and is harvested just as frequently making it a much 'greener' building material.
  • Prefinished hardwoods are usually shipped overseas for milling and finishing, then shipped back to the U.S. to be sold as flooring. Bamboo is grown, harvested, and manufactured into flooring all in one location overseas and only travels via ocean transit once (from the factory to the flooring store).

For a full write-up, check out our Bamboo vs Hardwood Floors Side-by-side Comparison.

Both are made from a hygroscopic material which means it tends to absorb moisture from the air in its environment. This diagram clears up the confusion about how and why expansion and contraction occurs (hint: it's all about humidity!):

An infographic showing the expansion and contraction of flooring

Due to expansion and contraction, it's important to take care before, during, and after your flooring installation. Be sure to acclimate your floors properly, install with expansion gaps as needed, and keep the humidity levels in your home stable. Opt for floors with higher dimensional stability (like engineered versions) if you live in a geographical area that experiences drastic changes in humidity throughout the year.

Aside from diamonds, there's practically not a single material in existence that is 100% scratch-proof. All floors are susceptible to light scratches when heavy furniture is dragged across the surface or when sharp objects come in contact with the floor. These scratches aren't as visible on white bamboo hardwood flooring as they are on darker woods. Micro-surface scratches can be fixed easily, either naturally by friction via continued foot traffic or with a flooring product like the Tibet Almond Stick.

When it comes to denting, however, strand woven bamboo really shines. Due to its hardness and density excessive force is required to permanently dent or damage it. Don't believe us? Grab a free flooring sample and go at it with a hammer. Testing the strength and durability of a floor in this way makes it easy to see why so many pet owners choose stranded bamboo — it stands up to it all!

When this type of flooring is installed in an enclosed space like a sunroom, patio or atrium, the humidity levels must be kept between 40%-60%, or problems can arise. If humidity levels are consistently too low, shrinkage or cracks may occur, whereas high humidity levels may cause expansion of bamboo, leading to a buckling effect.

Bamboo is usually finished with several layers of UV protection. Although any material will fade over time due to routine exposure to sunlight, interior flooring can be further protected by the use of window coverings such as drapes, blinds, and UV films. However, in rooms like sunrooms and atriums, it may not be possible to provide effective UV protection for flooring without adding UV films to your windows.

Despite its health benefits, sunlight can also cause damage to both skins and building materials. Constant and direct sunlight (especially on southerly facing windows in the U.S.) is an undeniable force. It can fade almost any product in your home, including furniture, carpets, paint, electronics, plastics, and more.

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