Bamboo Flooring vs Laminate Flooring: Differences and Similarities

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Bamboo and laminate flooring are gaining popularity due to their advantages over traditional flooring types such as hardwood. If you’re in the market for flooring or need to change yours, these two may be quite confusing especially in their appearances. This guide solves all that.

In general, bamboo flooring costs more than laminate flooring. This is mainly due to its durability as it can last for more than 30 years while laminate flooring can go for between 10 to 25 years at the maximum. Over the short term, however, laminate flooring requires less maintenance.

Bamboo vs. Laminate Flooring: Comparison

The two types of floors differ in the following ways:

FeatureBamboo flooring Laminate flooring
MaintenanceCan be repeated easily when damaged.  Not easily damaged hence requires little maintenance.   
Longevity 30 or more years. 10 or more years.
WaterproofNo No
DurabilityCan be damaged and scratched like hardwood.  Highly resistant to damage and scratches.  
CleaningEasy to clean with products meant for it.  Easy to clean with products meant for it.  
Pet-friendlinessFriendly to pets when in good condition.    Highly pet-friendly.
Methods of installationGlue-down, floating floor or nail-down. Floating floor.
Available stylesThree main styles in different colors. Made to appear like various wood species in many colors.
Effect on allergy sufferersNo effect No effect
Refinishing May be needed. Not needed.


These differences are detailed below:

1. Pricing

Laminate floor costs from $2 to $4 per square foot and up to $8 per square foot for installation. On the other hand, bamboo flooring will cost between $5 and $7 per square foot and up to $9 per square foot for installation.

2. Maintenance

For laminate flooring, a dust mop or soft broom is enough to clean it on a daily basis (or as you deem necessary). Vacuum cleaners suited to bare floors can also be used to clean the floors. When the floor loses its shine, don’t use a wet mop as it will damage it instead. Go for a laminate spray and a dry mop to clean it. Stains such as paint, oil or markers on the floor can be removed by nail polish and acetone.

As long as you keep the floor dry, cleaning it the right way and avoiding physical damage, laminate floors can be easily kept in good condition.

Just like laminate flooring, bamboo flooring needs to be kept dry at all times even during cleaning. You can use a dust mop, broom or vacuum cleaners meant for hardwood floors. Bamboo sprays should be used instead of water to keep the floor in pristine condition.

Like hardwood floors, bamboo floors also get scratched and damaged easily. For such damage, use a polishing pad or wood fills to restore its look. Refinishing can also be done with ease given the right products.

As such, laminate flooring is almost maintenance-free.

3. Longevity

The typical type of laminate flooring, when installed properly, will give you a service spanning over a decade. For special types of this flooring (water-resistant ones for example), can last for up to 30 years with proper care.

For bamboo flooring, you get at least 20 years with proper care and installation. With repairs and other maintenance practices, you can get more than 30 years out of a bamboo floor.

4. Durability

When it comes to the durability of these two types of floors, laminate floors outdoes bamboo flooring. This is because it’s a type of plastic that’s resistant to scratching and general wear and tear. You thus don’t need to refinish, wax or even repair this type of floor. It doesn’t fade as well.

While it’s a type of plastic, laminate flooring isn’t water-resistant. Unless this feature has been added, keep this type of floor dry at all times as it’ll get damaged when water is left to sit on it for long.

Bamboo flooring has many similarities to hardwood including being prone to scratches and water. It’ll thus easily warp or buckle when exposed to moisture frequently. For this reason, bamboo flooring will require repairs, refinishing and waxing to keep it in good condition.

5. Colors and Styles

There are many looks for laminate flooring since all that’s needed is a photographic layer on top of the main pieces to the design you want. You can find laminate flooring in any color and style you want. That’s from wood designs to pictures and other designs.

Bamboo floors are limited to three designs namely horizontal, vertical and strand woven bamboo floors. These names are the designs of the way the bamboo strands are arranged on the pieces. While bamboo has a light look to it, it can be made darker with carbonization. This and other coloring options allow for many more shades for bamboo floors.

6. Installation

Laminate flooring is often installed as a floating floor. Pieces of this flooring have a tongue-and-groove design which allows easy fitting as the pieces click together with ease. With this design, laminate flooring doesn’t require the use of adhesive or nails for a proper finish. When installing laminate flooring, you can trim the pieces to fit corners and other such areas.

It’s advised that you provide space for the floor to expand using wooden spacers in the first row of the pieces. If you don’t, the floor will expand and buckle.

With the proper instructions, you’re able to fit a floor in a few hours for a single room.

Fitting bamboo flooring can occur in several ways depending on the pieces you have. There are pieces you can put together with adhesives such as glue, others you can use nails, while others come with the tongue-and-groove design for easy fitting.

The bamboo floors also require a lot of preparations before the floor is installed. For example, the subfloors need to be checked for moisture levels and even leveled before the floor can be installed.

Making Your Choice

Depending on your needs, laminate flooring has more advantages than bamboo floors. It’s available in many colors, cheaper, easier to maintain, and more durable in terms of resisting scratches and other common causes of damage to the floor. This is especially important when you have children or pets in the home.

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Joe McGuinty
I’ve been working with floors for over 12 years. I started as a flooring contractor, primarily in materials selection. Then, I switched careers into accounting, so my wife and I began buying, renovating, and re-selling homes on the side. You’d be surprised how much value you can add to a home simply by adding new floors.

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