Tag Archives: bamboo

Brand name floors – cost more, but are they worth it?

The idea of buying brand name flooring has often been discussed here on this blog and elsewhere as well.

The real question at the heart of that idea remains: Is buying the brand name worth the extra money?  

In the flooring market there are some industry brand names, but most end users especially consumers are not aware of brand names. Very few consumers without being prompted can name one or more brand names of flooring. When asked about a name like Armstrong, Mohawk or Pergo some people will have an awareness of those names, but not really have a strong brand image for each one.

Apparel, fragrances even plumbing fixtures and windows have well known brand names and flooring as an industry is in stark contrast to that.

The manufactures of flooring say that because consumers don’t buy flooring very often it is hard to justify the branding expense. (Although stainmaster is a brand that would prove otherwise, it is only a licensed name not a manufacturer.) Whatever the reasons are can be discussed by experts elsewhere the only question poised today is: is it worth extra money to pay for brand name flooring.

Rather than putting together a 20 page case study let’s just cut to the chase: No it is not worth it.

If you as a consumer, builder or end user of whatever type are not familiar with the brand name then they are all equal to begin with. Now you should compare features and benefits AND price. The big brands of the world would have you believe they have superior features and benefits to newer products in the market and that justifies their higher prices. Most often that is not the case based on case studies over the past 10 years.

It is now very common to find flooring with similar or superior specifications available below the comparable prices of industry leading brand names. As always, you have to trust who you buy from so just because someone says it is as good or better than a leading brand name doesn’t mean it is, but if you trust your supplier then you have every reason to trust that you are getting a better value.

Bamboo Flooring – Get with it people

Too often generalizations about products become the “fact” about those products. Bamboo flooring as a category has generally good characteristics like being fast growing and therefore sustainable as well as being flexible to apply colors and styles to the flooring like staining and hand scraping.

However, due to the overall market not being very knowledgeable about bamboo the general understand of bamboo floors are too often limited to the 4 basic skus. Horizontal Carbonized, Horizontal Natural, Vertical Carbonized and Vertical Natural. These 4 basic skus have their place, but they are often oversold and therefore expectations can be missed.

Having watched many complaints online about certain bamboo brands and styles there are clear reasons why some brands fail to deliver a positive experience. Some of it is overselling, but some of it is just clearly a poor specification. (in non-flooring geek terms that means the sales guy sold you something that would not work in your home or office installation and they should have known that.)

Those old styles of bamboo ARE NOT worth your time. Stop buying them. You should instead focus on the world of strand bamboo flooring. Strand now has a multitude of construction options including solid, solid click, engineered and hdf. Once again to take the floor geek out of the equation that means there is every possible type of strand available for ANY installation scenario therefore you shouldn’t waste your time worrying if strand can work for you.

In addition to the construction options there are tons of new styles. Stain colors, handscraping, freech bleed, wire brushing, oil finishes and much much more. These floors have all of the benefits of bamboo’s sustainability, but are literally 4x tougher when it comes to denting and overall durability. Yes 4x – that means 4 times better for you.

For those who need extra convincing just do what has been recommended by the best and brightest in the business. Order a sample of regular horizontal carbonized bamboo and then get a strand sample. Hit them both as hard as you can with a HAMMER. Then you can see the difference for yourself.

As always there are tons of differences in how different brands make their products. Not all floors are created equal and some folks are short term in their approach which can make their products dangerous in your home. Strand uses glue to make it therefore if a brand is not a long term strategic player then they are more likely to cheat and use cheap glue which will be packed with formaldehyde which is a known carcinogen. That means the wrong floor could cause cancer. And if you don’t think it could happen does anyone remember the toxic toys that were recalled over the past few years or the chinese drywall that created so many problems? (just to be clear this can be a problem in regular bamboo, laminate, engineered hardwood and virtually any other flooring too – it is not just about strand bamboo.)

The fact is 95% of all bamboo comes from China which is not a bad thing. Another clear fact is that only 50% of the products are of proper quality for your home – the age old problem the buyers of strand bamboo flooring struggle with is which 50% is good and which 50% is bad.

In the coming months a BRAND WARS: STRAND BAMBOO article will compare top brands of strand bamboo joining the ranks of other BRAND WARS articles which have been read millions of times and been the foundation for people flooring choices hundreds of thousands of times across the world.

So as much as we may say get with it, we also say we’re with you and will guide you to what is right.

Flooring Review: horizontal bamboo floors vs vertical bamboo flooring

The question of what differentiates between horizontal bamboo floors and those referred to as vertical bamboo floors comes up continuously despite those being the oldest and most classic styles of bamboo flooring.

Here are a couple quick facts:

1. The look is the primary difference between the 2 styles.

2. There is a duty on vertical for an inexpliable reason related to government incompetance, but makes the cost slightly higher on that product.

3. Due to the construction of the floor itself there is a slight advantage in terms of hardness with the bamboo flooring vertical choice.

4. Customers often find the vertical flooring to have less of a “bamboo” look. To some this is an advantage and to others find this to be a turn off.

5.  Both styles have choices in stains, engineered, click and hand scraped at this point.

6. The quality of the product can be high or low based on a number of factors NOT DIRECTLY associated with the flooring being horizontal or vertical. In other words there are good floors and bad floors made both ways. The other aspects of the floor like origin of material, manufacturing process, finish, etc… drive the quality.

Caption: LEFT IMAGE: The horizontal bamboo flooring has wider grain and more visible bamboo knots, which are commonly referred to as “elbows”. RIGHT IMAGE: The vertical bamboo flooring is the more narrow look with a much more contemporary style.

Bamboo Poles & Panels

Most online shoppers haven’t seen bamboo poles and bamboo panels very often, but that’s exactly what a new Flooring and Furniture site called www.bambooimporters.com has.

The pole is kind of interesting to see, but for what? The answer – a decorative accent for the home or office with a green emphasis. This was the answer given by interior designers quizzed about the subject.

Real Bamboo Pole
What exactly would you use a bamboo pole for?


Bamboo Panels can be used for walls, counters, desks or any kind of custom furniture and are commonly used in commercial buildings.

Bamboo Panel
Bamboo Panels are common in custom furniture or commercial office walls.

An all new bamboo flooring choice?

The old saying that innovation can’t be stopped is true in any industry including flooring, furniture and home improvement in general.

Factories and flooring brands are always looking for a way to differentiate and produce something cool and unique that will drive sales and customer satisfaction.

Take a look at the “new” bamboo style below and decide for yourself if this is cool and unique or if they have taken the idea of natural bamboo a step too far. When would you put this floor?

Authentic Bamboo Flooring
This new style of bamboo flooring is sure to turn heads.
bamboo flooring
is this bamboo flooring a little too real for your kitchen floor?