Is Bamboo Stronger than Hardwood? Seriously, this gets asked A LOT, so we’ll give you the answer straight-up: bamboo flooring is one tough hombre. We’re uncovering the truth behind how strong bamboo flooring really is. This week’s contest: Bamboo Flooring VS. Hardwood Flooring. Let the battle commence…
Having a durable and resilient (but at the same time beautiful) floor is a must if you have an active lifestyle, children, or pets – which basically means ANY family home. You don’t want your floors to look dented, damaged, and scratched weeks or even months after being installed.
If you choose a floor that’s too soft, you’ll be left with a pockmarked moon surface that will need refinishing sooner than you think… yikes! Let’s take a look at the strengths of various woods, and compare bamboo against them.
Do you want to know more about bamboo flooring? Read Bamboo Flooring 101: A Beginner’s Guide to Bamboo Floors, it has all the answers.
Is Bamboo Harder than Traditional Hardwoods?
The answer: a resounding yes! In fact, it is 2-3 times harder than most hardwoods, including oak!
The hardness of wood is measured by the Janka Hardness Test – a test that’s used for universally categorizing woods in terms of their hardness. Solid or “classic” bamboo (the original type of bamboo flooring, now not widely sold) appears in the middle of the scale, with a Janka rating of 1600-2000. Strand-woven bamboo, a more recent type of bamboo flooring developed in 2004, ranges from 3500 to 5,500 on average. This completely overshadows mahogany’s rating of 1400, red oak’s rating of 1260, and North American Cherry’s rating of 950.
Impressed? We are too!
The Janka Test – Ranking all Species
The Janka Test was established in 1922 as an industry standard for testing the strength of woods. It had been in development since 1895, initially by Filbert Roth, Special Agent in Charge of Timber Physics in the USDA Division of Forestry and then later, in 1906, by Gabriel Janka.
While there are a few different procedures today for testing the strength of a type of wood, the most commonly used method remains the Janka test. The test involves measuring the force required to embed a steel ball (measuring 0.444in/11.28mm in diameter) precisely halfway into the wood.
What is Refinishing and Do Bamboo and Hardwood Floors Require it?
Refinishing is a process that strips away coatings from a flooring material and then reapplying a new coating to make the wood look new again. It can restore life, beauty, and luster to hardwood floors, although it’s generally a lengthy process. Refinishing involves special grinding machines, lots of hazardous dust, stain, and polyurethane (either oil or water-based), and can create a hazardous indoor environment due to the chemicals that are released into the air. Depending on the amount of square footage that needs to be refinished, the process can take between 2 and 5 days because you have to allow it to dry with each coat. The drying process usually takes 24 hours after application.
Since the stain takes a day to dry, you must be patient. However, the darker the stain, the longer the dry time is; the darkest stain can take as long as 48 hours. Experts don’t recommend performing the refinishing yourself unless you really know what you’re doing. It’s probably best to leave this one to the pros!
By contrast, strand woven bamboo floors rarely require refinishing in residential applications due to their strength and the fact that they resist ‘wear and tear’ better. This will save you time and money, and it will allow you to enjoy your flooring without having to worry about maintenance.
While strand woven bamboo flooring can be refinished, it can’t be stained on site. You can sand your bamboo flooring to spruce it up, but that will leave the bamboo floor whatever color the base plank of bamboo is. After that, you’ll add a clear-coat polyurethane finish.
So, is bamboo the strongest wood? Well, when it comes down to bamboo vs. wood flooring, bamboo takes home the gold.
Image Credit: Designbuiltinhabit
Do you want to know more about bamboo flooring? Read the Bamboo Flooring 101: A Beginner’s Guide to Bamboo Floors, it has all the answers.