How much does bamboo flooring installation cost?

NICOLA FIELD
If you are searching for a durable, versatile alternative to traditional hardwood flooring, then bamboo may be worth considering.

This tree-like grass (yep, bamboo is technically a grass) can be used for a multitude of applications. According to Australian-based business Bamboo Land Nursery & Parklands, these can include the production of paper and clothing, medicines, and building and landscaping materials. Not to mention too: it is also the staple food of the giant panda.

Build.com.au said bamboo has become an increasingly popular flooring material in Australia due to its fast-growing nature and plentiful supply, as well as its overall strength and durability.

So, you may be wondering, how is this ‘grass’ made into a floorboard? What costs are involved? And what are some of the pros and cons of using this material for your floors? Let’s lay it out, one floorboard at a time.

How much does bamboo flooring cost?

Trade listings website hipages says the cost of bamboo flooring can depend on the quantity you buy, with discounts potentially available when you order larger quantities. For example, up to 30 sqm of standard grade bamboo flooring might cost $55/sqm. For 250 sqm or more, the cost can fall to $45/sqm. These costs don’t include installation.

Factors that may influence the price of bamboo flooring can include the quality of the flooring, such as how and where it was manufactured, as well as the design of the floorboards.

How is bamboo flooring made?

The Australasian Timber Flooring Association (ATFA) says bamboo flooring is manufactured from strands of bamboo that are glued together with adhesive and then cut and made into floorboards by a machine. This is known as strand-woven bamboo.

Bamboo flooring can also be made by laminating small pieces either vertically or horizontally, and engineered bamboo flooring which usually consists of several layers of wood (such as plywood) and a top layer of bamboo, bonded together with adhesives.

ATFA states that by the time it gets to the consumer, most bamboo flooring comes pre-finished. This includes staining, which means you won’t typically have to wear this additional cost after the bamboo floor has been laid.

How is bamboo flooring installed?

Most bamboo floors are installed as a floated floor over an underlay. This means that the boards are fixed to each other, but not fixed to the ground. Alternatively, floorboards can be fixed with adhesive to an underlayer made of particleboard and plywood.

Simply Bamboo, an Australian business, said an average 100m2 home can take approximately three to four days to install bamboo flooring through a fixed method, or two to three days to install via the floating floor method. However, the exact time to install can ultimately depend on the method of installation, the layout of the design and if there are any obstructions, such as a staircase.

How much does bamboo flooring installation cost?

According to hipages, professional installers on average charge around $80 to $90 per square metre to lay bamboo flooring. This covers the costs of preparing the ground surface (that may involve removing any existing flooring), installing an underlay layer, removing and replacing skirting boards and laying the floorboards.

Installation prices can vary widely depending on the contractor chosen to do the work and the location, as well as how the floors are installed (floated floor or fixed) and the type of underlay.

As with any major investment in your home, it’s a good idea to get several quotes from professional installers and carefully compare the products, services and warranties, as well as the costs, before choosing one. ATFA can put you in touch with accredited installers and manufacturers.

What are some of the pros and cons of bamboo flooring?

There are some widely reported benefits, as well as drawbacks, when it comes to using bamboo flooring. While it can be hard-wearing and is sustainable, easy to clean and available with different colours and finishes, bamboo floors are also prone to movement, can scratch easily and may release small amounts of volatile organic compounds (VOCs).

Pros

1. Hard-wearing

Strength and durability are positive features of bamboo flooring. Flooring specialist Arrow Sun says natural, un-carbonised bamboo that has been properly harvested and manufactured can be as durable as red oak, and strand-woven bamboo can be manufactured even harder than that. However, it’s important to note that not all bamboo flooring is made equal, so it may be a good idea to consider a supplier who can provide a substantial warranty.

2. Interesting colours and forms

Bamboo flooring can come in a variety of styles, colours and finishes according to build.com.au, and can have a very similar appearance to hardwood floorboards.

3. Easy to clean

Arrow Sun states that bamboo is relatively easy to maintain and recommends home owners sweep or vacuum it regularly and use a damp mop with a non-wax, non-alkaline, hardwood or specialised bamboo floor cleaner.

4. Sustainable to produce

According to build.com.au, one of the advantages of bamboo over hardwood flooring is that it grows extremely quickly – in some cases up to a metre in a single day. It reported that bamboo can typically be harvested when it is between four and seven years old, with the crop continuing to produce usable material from that time onward, making it a rapidly renewable resource. Hardwood trees, on the other hand, are likely to take at least 15 years to reach ‘maturity’ and once they do, they typically only offer a one-time yield of timber.

Cons

1. Prone to movement

Arrow Sun says that while bamboo is reasonably water resistant, it’s still an organic material, and too much moisture can cause warping. This makes it important to aim to keep bamboo floors dry and free from excessive moisture.

2. Scratch easily

While bamboo flooring is generally hard-wearing and easy to maintain, lower-quality bamboo can be prone to scratching, such as from high heels, pet claws and furniture legs, according to Arrow Sun. Bamboofloors.com.au said that bamboo floors can be sanded multiple times, however, with refinishing over the longer term.

3. Potential VOC emissions

Some bamboo floorboards can be manufactured using adhesive (formaldehyde-containing glues). These may release small amounts of volatile organic compounds (or VOCs) into the air over time, especially when the flooring is new, according to build.com.au. The level of adhesive used and the number of VOCs emitted will vary depending on how the boards were manufactured. Some VOC emissions may lead to poor indoor air quality which, according to the Australian Government website Your Home, can produce a range of health effects from headaches and tiredness, to an aggravation of asthma and allergic responses

Consumer group Choice says most bamboo floorboards in Australia use low-emission glues, but recommends doing your research to be sure.

Main image source: Gumpanat/Shutterstock.com

Original article by Elise Donaldson.


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