In a previous post I made a big point out of stating that the best finish for your floor is a pair of slipper. I have probably said it to every flooring customer in my store asking a lot of questions about the durability of a product. Several other question and answers fit the same line of conversation. People hear a lot of different opinions about various materials and those opinions involve into question posed to sales persons such as me. In reality, simple black and white answers rarely work. Not all bamboo is the same, nor is all wood.
Both materials get graded for their quality and clarity, range from A+ Clear Boards, D+ or better decking boards, to rustic, character and knotty. Quality of the raw material, as well as construction at the mill, determines a lot about materials. So if one company’s bamboo starts to come apart should you assume that all bamboo his this problem? Not at all. In addition to the raw materials a flooring manufacturer begins with, how they put convert that material into a finish product has a large impact on the finish quality. How precisely does a company mill a board? To what moisture level are materials dried before being made into flooring? What sort of glue is used in an engineered floor? All these factors effect the quality of the finish product, in some cases far more so than the specific species of wood or bamboo being used. Wood is perfect at being wood. Bamboo is perfect at being bamboo. How companies choose to utilize these materials is their choice, but consumers should know this too.
With all that said, even the very best product, such as Eco Fusion bamboo, still needs to be cared for properly. Bamboo will always behave like bamboo and will react to the conditions you provide for it. So, getting around to that question about how durable a floor is, the true answer is: it depends! Do you wear shoes in the house or slipper and bare feet? Do you have a good mat to clean pebbles off your feet? Have you got any pets?
In addition to wearing slipper, socks or bare feet at home, another good way to care for your wood floor is to not install it in the wrong place. The most common area for a wood or bamboo floor to fail is the mud room entry way. This is wear muddy, snow covered, pebble cling boots first enter a home. This is wear wet jackets drip and dry. If you have wood here, wood is going to behave exactly as it should in such a place. The best thing to do is install a tile pad in common entryways. Tile such as Fireclay Debris Series can handle the abuse. Another option is to cut out the existing wood or in new construction leave an area without the flooring materials, trim the borders with a reducer and set a heavy duty mat such as a coconut coir door mat with rubber backing. This is what I have done at my store. After two and a half years, the bamboo flooring and the mat still look great. (Keep in mind, this is not a cheap mat, but it looks great and it will not suffer from the conditions).
That’s all. If you want your floors to last, be practical and understand the nature of the product.