What is the Difference Between Engineered Bamboo Flooring and Solid Bamboo Flooring?

Are you drawn to the beauty and durability of bamboo flooring but confused by all the types of bamboo flooring available? Fret not! Bamboo flooring breaks down into two major categories: engineered bamboo flooring and solid bamboo flooring.

Once you understand the difference between engineered flooring and solid flooring, picking the best flooring for your application will be easier. Then you can focus on the fun choices like plank width, finish, and color!

engineered bamboo chevron flooring from Ambient
Engineered Bamboo flooring laid in Chevron pattern using Skipjack Mast from Ambient™ Bamboo Floors

What Does Engineered Bamboo Flooring Mean?

When you hear engineered flooring, do you imagine Franken-flooring created in the lab of some crazy scientist using zombie trees? That couldn’t be further from the truth.

Engineered flooring gets its name from the way the flooring is manufactured. The flooring manufacturer places a plank of solid bamboo over the top of a high-density fiberboard (HDF) substrate and then laminates the two together with heat and pressure. HDF isn’t the only substrate used to make engineered flooring, but it is the most common.

Don’t let the word laminate trick you up. Engineered flooring isn’t laminate flooring. They are completely different. See, engineered bamboo flooring consists of real bamboo. Laminate flooring consists of plastic.

Engineered bamboo flooring provides the durability and beauty of bamboo with the ease of click-lock installation.

Looking at the Differences Between Engineered and Solid Bamboo Flooring

A picture equals a thousand words. Just compare profile pictures of the two types of flooring and it is easy to see the difference.

profile of engineered bamboo flooring showing wear layer and HDF core

The top of the plank includes a layer of solid bamboo flooring. The plank side profile shows how the planks are locked into place for a floating installation. You can also glue engineered flooring to the subfloor.

 

Solid bamboo flooring contains solid bamboo from the top of the plank to the bottom. The side profile shows the planks are engineered to connect using the traditional tongue and groove method. These flooring planks use nails or glue to adhere to the subfloor.

solid strand woven engineered differences
Source: Ambient Bamboo

Benefits of Engineered Bamboo Flooring

Because engineered flooring isn’t solid hardwood, it goes where other hardwood flooring cannot.

For example, go ahead and install engineered bamboo flooring in basements and other below-grade rooms with abandon! You can’t do that with any solid hardwood flooring!

Engineered bamboo flooring stands up to the rigors of use. That makes it a perfect choice for kitchens and families with kids and pets. Depending on the brand you select, you may refinish the top wear layer up to two times. Be sure to ask about this. Not all engineered flooring meets Ambient bamboo flooring standards, so not all engineered flooring can be refinished.

Click lock installation makes laying engineered flooring a very approachable DIY project. There’s no hassle with a nail gun and subfloor preparation is simple.

Benefits of Solid Bamboo Flooring

Solid bamboo flooring makes a solid choice for many rooms in the house. Like all hardwood flooring, it should not be installed below grade.

Solid bamboo flooring provides the hardest flooring you can get. That makes it more durable than oak or other hardwoods.

Nail or glue solid bamboo flooring to a wood subfloor or glue it to concrete subflooring.

Refinish high-quality bamboo flooring up to five times for many years of enjoyment. It may literally be the last flooring you ever buy for your house.

man and woman comparing engineered bamboo flooring and solid bamboo flooring

Engineered Bamboo Flooring and Solid Bamboo Flooring Are Great Options

Both engineered bamboo flooring and solid bamboo flooring provide great alternatives for hard flooring.

Go for engineered flooring when you need to install below-grade or want an easy-to-install DIY option. Engineered bamboo flooring offers a budget-friendly option as well.

Solid bamboo flooring stands up to wear for years and installs above grade. Solid flooring costs more than engineered flooring, but it can be refinished more times and lasts longer.

Either way, you’ll have beautiful and durable floors.

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