If you look at your home as a body, you will begin to understand that each area is like it’s own organ; every part must work together to create a functioning organism. Your floors are like the palms of your hands or the soles of your feet. They’re crucial for everyday living. So, making the right flooring choice is vital. This guide explains the differences between hardwood and bamboo flooring to make your decision easier.
When remodeling your home or building a new one, you have many things to consider. Choosing the type of floor you will use is just one of your responsibilities, and not everyone knows what steps to take to achieve their desired results. Like most major areas of your home, your floor is an investment that will affect your life for years to come.
First, What is the Pricing Difference Between the Two Flooring Types?
As you choose a path, the price of your flooring should always be near the front of your mind. Even a difference of a few dollars adds up when you consider the size of your floor and the number of materials you must use to finish the job. Depending on where you buy bamboo, you will pay about $2 to $5 per square foot.
You notice a relationship between price and quality, and spending more usually means you get a higher quality. In the $2 to $5 price range, quality does not change a lot, so you won’t have too much about which to worry. If you go below $2 per square foot, you will run into quality issues over time.
It’s now time for you to review the price you pay when buying hardwood flooring, and this information is excellent for protecting your budget. Knowing the cost in advance saves you a lot of trouble and helps safeguard your bank account. Standard hardwood will cost between $3 and $5 per square foot, which is a fair price.
You get decent quality and materials that can last for years with proper care when you take this path. On the other hand, you can find exotic hardwood flooring for more than $10 per square foot. Consider your budget and long-term goals when choosing your flooring material.
Installation for both types of flooring should run around the same price.
Next, Here’s a Quality Comparison of Hardwood and Bamboo Floors:
The quality of your floor should play a central role in your decision if you want your floor to last for as long as possible. If you have your eye on bamboo flooring, you should keep in mind that it does not have an official rating system. In other words, you never know what you are going to get when buying bamboo flooring for your home. Your best option is to search for reputable dealers with a record of customer satisfaction.
Quality is much easier to predict when you use hardwood because of the National Wood Flooring Association and other groups rate hardwoods on their size, hardness, quality, moisture tolerance, evenness and more. Look at the rating when you buy hardwood floors, and you will know what you are getting.
Now, the Durability of Hardwood vs Bamboo:
Hardwood is a popular flooring choice and gives you plenty of fantastic advantages you won’t want to overlook. People use some of the strongest trees available when making hardwood, such as oak, hickory, and cherry. The Janka rating measures the hardness of wood, and the hardest is 3,500. While cherry is ranked 950 on the scale, red oak is 1,220. So, hardwoods vary tremendously Keep in mind that some hardwoods are softer than others when making your choice.
To build upon this, let’s take a look at bamboo flooring. On the Janka scale, bamboo scores around 1,762. So, in most cases, bamboo is the more durable choice. Although most people think of bamboo as wood, that is not the full picture. Bamboo is a woody grass that looks and feels similar to wood. Natural bamboo is as hard as or harder than the highest quality hardwood floors. But, keep in mind the fact that treated bamboo loses a lot of its hardness.
Finally, Do You Have Environmental Concerns?
Both hardwood and bamboo are biodegradable and won’t contribute to the global construction waste problem. This is one of the main reasons why homeowners choose to use either of these materials on their floors. By 2025, construction waste is expected to nearly double, making sustainability a priority.
But, they have varying features where the environment is concerned. For example, bamboo grows much faster than trees. In addition, during the harvesting process, bamboo roots don’t need to be removed. The stalks are simply cut, and they later regrow from the same spot. Since you don’t need to replant bamboo, farming requires less fuel than hardwood per harvest. If you care about the planet and want to reduce your carbon footprint, bamboo flooring won’t let you down.
Some people view hardwood as not being environmentally friendly, but that is not usually the case. While it takes most hardwood trees 20 years to grow, they produce a lot of materials in that time. Plus, you don’t have to harvest wood as often as bamboo. When you compare them both, though, it’s clear that hardwood trees use more resources than bamboo flooring. When it comes to our carbon footprint, the way companies operate plays a major role in the amount of waste they produce.
What Can You Do to Decrease Your Footprint when Building or Renovating?
Do you want to know, with certainty, that you’re making a sustainable flooring decision? A trustworthy hardwood flooring expert will support the Lacey Act, which outlines North American laws to protect endangered species and their environment. The act pertains to both hardwood and bamboo suppliers. So, be sure to find out if your flooring installation company supports these laws prior to making a decision between exotic hardwood and imported bamboo.
Not only do you need to make sure your suppliers and builders are conscious of the environment — there are steps you can take to ensure an eco-friendly home improvement process as well:
Learn to practice source reduction — generate less waste by using fewer materials.
Try to salvage what you can from your own deconstruction and check out thrift stores like Habitat for Humanity for building supplies and materials before you begin a renovation or construction project.
Educate yourself about how various building materials can be recycled rather than thrown in a landfill.
Motivate yourself by understanding the advantages of used, recycled, and salvaged supplies.
When it comes to bamboo flooring vs hardwood, the choice you make impacts your home (and the planet) for years to come, so getting it right the first time is critical. Some people are split down the middle and have no clue what path they should take. If you can relate to that, stop thinking about it and call a flooring expert to help you make a final decision. If you live in the greater Denver area, contact us — we are happy to help find the best hardwood floors for you.
“Ipe” or Brazilian Walnut (Ocotea Porosa) is a favorite hardwood flooring option often seen in higher-end decor. Because of its beauty and durability, it’s a dearly beloved hardwood species. Despite the name, it has no relationship to the true Walnut tree — and, that’s just one fun fact. Now, let’s take a closer look at one of our favorite wood species:
Where does it come from?
What is it known for?
Why do homeowners and flooring experts love it?
The Ipe Tree
The Brazilian Walnut tree grows throughout South and Central America, in parts of Mexico, and on a few islands in the Antilles. The name is used to encompass an entire genus of tree, Handroanthus. Handroanthus includes at least 30 distinct species, each called by a different name depending on where they grow. The Ipe tree is the national tree or flower of several countries. It is popular in its native lands for the solid wood it produces and its gorgeous flowers — they look like tiny trumpets.
Just How Durable is Brazilian Walnut?
People love Brazilian Walnut lumber’s density and seeming immunity to the forces of nature. It is so dense that it does not float in water, The wood has a hardness that measures at the very top of the Janka rating scale, upwards of 3,500 (more than 2.5 times the hardness of Oak). It is one of the most durable flooring options available.
Moreover, the wood is so durable that you can leave it unfinished in outdoor settings like saunas, decks, and patio furniture. And, like most woods, it will fade to a brownish-grey color in these circumstances. Still, it has been known to last for more than 25 years this way.
Also, Ipe displays an inherent resistance to rot, mold, and insect damage. And, get this – it rates with steel and concrete concerning fire resistance. There’s no wonder why it is famous for boardwalks and other outdoor communal areas along the East Coast. It can withstand decades of abuse from foot traffic, ocean air, and extreme weather. In the end, it will look hardly the worse for wear.
How Can You Spot Brazilian Walnut Flooring Based on Appearance?
The heartwood of Brazilian Walnut tends to vary in color from reddish brown to a sort of yellowish olive or even darker blackish brown. You may see bundles of boards of various shades sold by hardwood retailers. And, the wood displays a fine to medium texture, with grain varying from straight to irregular or interlocked. Over time, the color will fade somewhat under the sun.
Brazilian Walnut is an oily wood with a moderate luster. Because of this, it is an excellent candidate for natural oil finishes. The inherent oiliness, combined with the wood’s density, make it difficult for a urethane finish to cure properly. Fortunately, its natural durability accommodates as much wear as most polyurethane finishes.
Tip: If you desire extra protection or a certain sheen, choose a factory-finished Ipe over a site-applied finish. The species’ unusual hardness makes it difficult to work with anyway.
Because of its exceptional qualities and comparatively scattered growth in the wild, Brazilian Walnut tends to be pricier than many other species. So, you can expect to pay anywhere between $4 and $9 per square feet of flooring. While this may seem steep, you will likely enjoy Ipe floors much longer than if you choose a less expensive species. Of course, this depends on the type of wear and tear you plan to put on your floors or deck.
Why You Must Keep Sustainability in Mind
One potential drawback to Brazilian Walnut is the traditional harvesting practice. Because this species grows sparsely, spread throughout forests — not in tight groves like many domestic species — it was once common practice to clear-cut vast rainforest areas for small harvests, a practice that leads to deforestation. While this sort of clear-cutting is now illegal in most countries, it is crucial to confirm that your Brazilian Walnut flooring originates from a sustainable source.
The Amazon Rainforest, arguably the most devastated natural habitat on the planet, rests at the center of Brazil. Many times, when you hear a term like “Brazilian Walnut,” “Brazilian Cherry,” “Brazilian Maple,” etc., it can reference wood from unsustainable harvesting practices. So, choose a source that grows/ farms trees specifically to create new timber resources. Ask your flooring manufacturer or retailer if they support the Lacey Act, which works against illegal logging practices to ensure the safety of endangered species and ecosystems.
To date, Brazilian Walnut flooring remains among the top flooring species used in homes and outdoors. Moreover, it is particularly well-suited to our climate here in Colorado. Many people feel like flooring that will withstand the worst you can throw at it (for decades to come) is worth the extra cost. Then again, it may not be the right choice for you. Are you still trying to make a flooring decision? Let us help you choose the right hardwood flooring for your home and lifestyle.
So, you’re thinking about retiring your old floors, or you’re moving into a new space, and you’re interested in a natural, easy-to-maintain flooring choice. Of course, hardwood is an excellent pick for many people — it’s easier to clean than carpets and is known to stand the test of time. But, there are so many available options that finding the best hardwood flooring can be overwhelming.
How to determine the best hardwood flooring for your home:
First, understand the pros and cons of hardwood floors.
Next, examine your lifestyle.
Then, set a realistic budget.
After that, explore various hardwood types and species.
Once you know the rest, research your finish options.
Finally, consult with an expert.
Each of the above items has its own set of intricacies. In this article, we take some of the guesswork out of it for you. Here’s everything you need to know to choose the right hardwood flooring options.
First, the Pros and Cons of Harwood Flooring:
Hardwood is a natural, long-lasting choice for home flooring. Still, it comes with maintenance responsibilities. Before you do anything else, it’s crucial to consider the pros and cons of installing wood floors in your home.
Hardwood is durable… as long as you don’t overexpose it to water.
While hardwood floors are durable and can withstand spills and stains with proper treatment, they are especially prone to water damage (kind of like the wicked witch of the west); this makes them a risky candidate for areas like your bathroom, kitchen, and entryways. Installing hardwood in rooms where they are exposed to liquid will lead to damage.
It is easy to refinish, but not so easy to install.
Most people will tell you it is easy to refinish hardwood floors, as long as you can stay off of them for a few days. Even so, it is difficult to install them, even for experienced DIYers. So, in the beginning, be prepared to hire a professional for the installation. At the very least, consider hardwood flooring installation classes
It is considered a wise investment.
The homeowners’ paradigm is that hardwood flooring will increase the value of your property. Most homebuyer’s jump at the idea of purchasing a home with hardwood floors — in many cases, even when carpet covers the original wood flooring. So, in the long run, the initial investment is probably worthwhile.
Hardwood flooring isn’t likely to go out of style.
Hardwood floors are timeless in the decor world; it was considered a luxury interior decoration asset as early as the 1600s and is popular still today. If you choose hardwood, your floors are likely to stay in style as long as your home stands. According to GentlemanZone Magazine, hardwood stands for luxury and fine taste. It is the warm and shiny glaze of wood that noblemen love to this very day.
It isn’t the coziest flooring to walk on.
One of the downsides to hardwood flooring is that it can be hard and cold on your feet compared to carpeting. Because it is so hard, it doesn’t absorb sound; this can lead to more noise when walking around with shoes. Some people might not like this idea, for a number of reasons, and will opt for carpeting instead. But, if you’re still undecided, there are ways to reduce sound with hardwood floors.
It is an allergy-friendly, eco-friendly, low maintenance flooring option.
People with pets will tell you that carpets need to be vacuumed daily to keep a hair and dander-free home. If you have allergies to pets or pollens, you can be sure hardwood floors will be much easier to maintain, and you’ll experience fewer attacks. Also, most of the wood used for flooring materials are sustainably sourced and use non-toxic adhesives and finishes.
Next, What You Need to Consider About Your Lifestyle:
Your lifestyle dictates the best hardwood flooring option for your home — foot traffic, kids, pets, and maintenance crucial considerations. Are your floors prepared for wear and tear, or will choose luxury options for their aesthetic appeal? Consider the following.
While you probably won’t be bowling on your floors, you may live in a home with a lot of guest foot traffic, kids playing, or pets running around. In this case, you are going to expose your floors to scratches; this requires a “harder” floor and finish (or a ridiculously laid-back attitude).
On the contrary, if you have a lifestyle with more solitude, you might be able to afford to go with softer wood and a natural oil finish. If you require people to take their shoes off at the door, take precautions when moving furniture, your home isn’t prone to messes, and you expect things to stay this way, there’s no reason to worry yourself too much over potential scratching and stains.
Recommended reading for the best hardwood flooring care:
Then, get Clear About Your Flooring Installation Budget:
While some homeowners consider hardwood flooring installation to be a DIY job, more often than not, they require professional installation. Whether you install the flooring yourself or hire someone to do that for you, be realistic about your budget. It’s always a possibility that you will end up spending more than you anticipate by the time everything is complete.
What to consider when you set your hardwood flooring budget:
Cost per square foot of flooring
Size of the project area
Subfloor, joists, and other structural materials
Professional labor costs
Future flooring repair & replacement costs
In addition to the installation (all materials and labor), you must consider the cost of repair and replacement for your hardwood floors. So, while you may have the initial budget for an exotic species like Padauk, think about whether you will have the funds to repair or replace a more expensive floor in the future, should you have to. If you have to refinance your home to pay for new floors, it may be best to choose an option that is on the conservative side of the price scale.
Recommended reading to set your hardwood flooring budget:
After that, Consider Solid, Prefinished, Engineered, and Laminate Flooring Options:
There are three main hardwood flooring options: solid, engineered, laminate, and prefinished. Here are the similarities and differences.
Solid Hardwood Flooring
Solid hardwood is the term used for planks of wood, cut directly from the tree — it is precisely what you think it would be; this is the flooring that has been around for ages. It is the most natural and customizable type of hardwood flooring. If you choose this option, you can have any wood species, stain and flooring finish you like. The only downside is that, in general, it can be slightly more prone to damage than your other options and typically more expensive. It would be the obvious choice for any luxury home and is the only type of wood flooring that can be refinished.
Prefinished Hardwood Flooring
A convenient option for homeowners is to choose prefinished flooring. Again, this is precisely what you might think it is: hardwood flooring planks that are finished prior to installation. Both engineered and solid hardwood, exotic and common species come in pre-finished options. The upsides are that installation takes less time, you will be able to walk on your floors sooner, and you will not have to inhale sometimes toxic VOCs of polyurethane finishes. It can be more expensive than unfinished planks, but that is usually made up for by negating the final step of installation. It might be difficult to find high-end species, yet many people still consider this the best hardwood flooring option.
Engineered Hardwood Flooring
Not to be confused with laminate flooring, engineered hardwood flooring is a semi man-made product. However, it is made from several layers of real wood. The top layer is a piece of solid wood lamella, and it is most often prefinished. So, if you choose this option, colors and grains are preserved. At a glance, you won’t be able to tell the difference between solid and engineered hardwood, as you are basically left with the same color and appearance of natural wood flooring.
Laminate flooring is another choice that many modern homeowners go with, especially in rentals or homes with small children. Homeowners with laminate flooring claim that it is extremely easy to keep clean. With laminate flooring, you don’t have the high risk of water damage. It is also less prone to sun damage and staining. But, there is a downside: it is obviously not wood. This option doesn’t leave you with the same unique grain variants and color evolution as many hardwood options.
And, Explore Common and Exotic Hardwood Species:
If you like the idea of solid wood flooring, it’s best to look at several different species. There are common American species like Oak, Maple, and Hickory, that you’ve probably already thought about. You should also look at exotic species like Australian Cypress, Merbau, or Burmese Teak. Here’s a brief breakdown of some of the most popular species that we work with to inform your journey to the best hardwood flooring.
The heartwood of Black Cherry is a stunning red-brown color and the sapwood ranges from pale to light brown with an almost pink tint. Rather than using this type of wood for an entire floor, it is usually used for accents and borders, creating a luxury decor feel. This species is more stable and softer than oak with a moderate hardness.
Birch grain is generally wavy or curly but maintains an even, medium texture. The heartwood of Yellow Birch is usually red-brown while the sapwood is white or yellow. The heartwood of Sweet birch is generally dark brown with reddish tones and the sapwood is typically lighter. It is more stable than red oak and is known for absorbing shock.
Oak grain is coarse with a flame or curvy pattern. White oak varies from light brown to off-white with hints of pink or gray and is naturally protected from many insects and fungi. Red oak has a strong, reddish tint and is slightly less durable than white oak, but is more likely to absorb shock. These are two of the most common species used in flooring.
Southern Yellow Pine and Heart Pine (aka “Blue Pine”) are the two most common Pine species used in flooring. Heart Pine is yellow but contains occasional bluish-black sap stains. Southern Yellow Pine ranges in color from orange and light yellow to yellow and brown. It is known for its knotty grains and is much softer than its rival Oak flooring options.
Sugar Maple is available in a myriad of colors. The sapwood can range from a creamy or pale white while the heartwood can be creamy white to reddish-brown. It has a closed fine, light grain and subtle appearance overall. Occasionally, on the higher end of the price scale, Maple grain presents quilted, “fiddleback,” or bird’s eye patterns.
Black Walnut, another common American hardwood species, contains a myriad of heartwood tones ranging from beautiful medium browns to almost purple hues. The straight, open grains can occasionally burl or curl, but for the most part, maintain a long brushstroke look. It is softer but more stable than typical American Red Oak hardwood.
African Padauk is a popular exotic hardwood flooring option, mostly because of the way it changes color over time. In the beginning, Padauk floors might be reddish-orange, but will darken to red and can eventually become purplish-brown to black with age. Padauk is significantly harder and more stable than oak, making this one of the most durable available flooring options.
Merbau has medium to high color variants on each board. It is especially lustrous, with golden yellow streaks throughout. Like Padauk, it changes color with age, typically starting out reddish-orange and eventually turning dark reddish-brown. The sapwood is, however, much lighter than the heartwood. Merbau grain is coarse and either straight, interlocked, or wavy.
Australian Cypress is much more stable and slightly harder than Oak. The heartwood ranges from honey-gold to brown, and the sapwood is generally cream-colored. Cypress grain is generally closed, yet it can often resemble the knotty texture of Pine. While the stability is high, some movement can happen with Cypress after installation.
Thai/ Burmese Teak:
Thai/ Burmese Teak sapwood is usually a light cream color. The heartwood ranges from dark, golden-brown to yellow-brown. Teak becomes richer in color when exposed to the sun, which is not typical of other hardwoods that often experience sun bleaching over time. It is more stable yet softer than Oak and has a straight, coarse grain with inconsistent texture.
Take a Closer Look at Wood Grains
Each floorboard will have a unique pattern in the wood grain, but there are some basic identifiers in the most common species used in hardwood flooring; one may be more appealing to you than others.
Maple, for example, has a fine, light pattern. Oak tends to have a classically beautiful grain pattern that resembles flames. Hickory grains generally have an interesting, jagged, peaked structure that resembles watercolor paintings. Cherry and mahogany, though unique in many other ways, usually have similar grain patterns in that they are non-directional and subtle. Walnut looks like someone painted long, straight brush strokes with various shades of brown on a flat surface. Each is gorgeous in their own way.
While this section is informative about hardwood species and their looks and qualities, this is not inclusive of everything you may want to know. Once you have an idea what you want, it is a good idea to further research species including Janka rating and how to protect hardwood floors from sun bleaching to learn more and make the best hardwood flooring decision.
Finally, Understand Your Options for Hardwood Finishes:
While the grain examples above showcase various shades of brown, red, and yellow, the final color and luster of your floor will be dictated by the finish that you choose. If you aren’t set on prefinished or laminate floors, you should explore at least a few different finish options.
One of the first questions you might ask is, ‘Do I actually need to finish my floors?’ — wood is lovely on its own after all. The answer is ‘yes.’ If you install hardwood floors, you don’t necessarily have to stain them, but you do need to finish them. Otherwise, you risk exposure to damage and early aging.
Each above item has pros and cons. Use this list to choose the best hardwood flooring finish based on your needs and wants.
Closing Self-Examination Questions to Choose the Best Hardwood Flooring:
As long as you remember that you should not install hardwood flooring in rooms where they will be exposed to water, you understand all of your options, and you are clear on your budget and preferences, you’re ready for the final self-exam. Here’s what you need to ask to make the best hardwood flooring decision:
In which rooms will you install hardwood flooring?
What will the foot traffic be like in these rooms?
Will you choose solid, engineered, laminate, or prefinished hardwood?
In which species are you most interested?
What type of hardwood finish do you want?
Does your budget match the hardwood flooring options you prefer?
Are you interest in converting your floors to quarter-sawn oak? Though quarter-sawn oak flooring costs are usually higher than plain sawn oak, the benefits are worth it. To begin, quarter sawn is less likely to swell. It is more stable and will not absorb moisture the way plain sawn does. The design of quarter sawn is also favorable because of the unique patterns that adorn each plank — the rays on quarter-sawn wood are flagrant flecks that create a lovely decorative feature for your home. But how do you calculate just how much quarter sawn oak flooring costs?
Measuring Quarter-Sawn Oak
The first thing you will want to know is how much wood you will need for the project. You’ll want to measure the dimensions of each room you’d like to convert to hardwood flooring; this is a simple task that you can do at home with a tape measure. Begin by measuring the length and width. Now multiply these numbers together to obtain the square footage of each room.
Once you’ve configured the measurements of your flooring, you’ll need to choose which planks of quarter sawn you want to install; this is determined primarily by the width, thickness, and figure of your lumber. For low/medium fleck quarter sawn you can expect to pay between $4.08 to $24.20 per board foot based on 8” to 16” widths. For higher fleck quarter sawn it is approximately $4.58 to $27.20 based on the same widths. Use your square footage measurements to calculate how much the planks will cost you in total.
Installing Quarter-Sawn Flooring
Installation prices vary by location, square footage, and the difficulty of your project. Furniture removal, replacement of subflooring, and removal of original flooring may be hurdles in your process. The best method to access the cost you’ll be considering is to use an online price comparison tool for your area. Clearing old furniture and removing original flooring can help to lower your estimates.
Try to get a few estimates before deciding, as some companies charge less than others. Fall and early winter tend to be down times for flooring installers. Choosing to install during these off seasons can also save you money, decreasing your quarter-sawn oak flooring costs overall.
Final Quarter-Sawn Oak Flooring Costs
After installation, you’ll want to choose your finish. Oiled oak flooring is excellent for a natural look. Natural finish oak floors cost about $1.50 to $4.00 per square footage. Once you’ve decided and calculated the above factors, you’ll total them for your quarter-sawn oak flooring costs.
Maintenance is also necessary when keeping your floor looking it’s best. Over time, the everyday tread will wear on your original oiled oak floor, meaning that you’ll eventually pay more for your floor.
Note: To keep your natural finish oak floors looking their best you’ll need to refinish every ten years or so.
Are you thinking of replacing the carpet in your home with hardwood floors? Consider the natural beauty and warmth of oak wood as your new flooring choice. In a recent survey of designers across the country, Oak came out on top as the favorite of 43% of them. At MacDonald Hardwoods, you will find wide variety and selection of oak floors that will make a lovely impression when you enter a room. Let our Denver flooring company explain to you why oak is the best choice to use when deciding which hardwood flooring to use in areas of your home.
Wood flooring is a commonly selected as an upgrade from carpet that visually expands the size of a space and adds an increased value to your property should you need to sell your home in the future. Oak flooring, with its fine grain finish, has a timeless quality that is complimentary to any style or theme already present in your home. Its durability and clean lines also make it an ideal choice for any size home.
There are many benefits of oak floors, including that they:
Are a thermal insulator
Reduce heating costs
Are easy to maintain and clean
Have a long lifespan
Are durable and easy to restore
Oak is an eco-friendly sustainable wood with a carbon footprint that is considerably less that other types of flooring options. This factor is important when selecting what type of hardwood to install in your home. An eco-friendly option will ultimately save on excess carbon emissions in the environment, resulting in a reduction of your monthly heating costs.
Highly resistant to moisture and easy to stain, oak is a popular choice for a durable solid wood surface with a long lifespan. A preferred choice for musicians, this flooring will add depth to the acoustics of a room, is very comfortable under foot, and adds a lovely aroma to a space.
Oak flooring is a wonderful option to use in any or all the rooms in your home. MacDonald Flooring is a leader of hardwood, tile, and vinyl flooring. Contact us today at 800-639-3006 to discuss the wide variety of selections and styles for your home’s flooring update!
Bamboo has recently become a popular design choice for those wanting to create green homes and offices. This choice is for good reason: the use of chic, readily available bamboo is better for the environment than the use of traditional hardwoods. However, while most people today are familiar with the choice of bamboo for eco-friendly wood floors, there are many myths and misconceptions surrounding it. We know the facts, and our knowledgeable flooring experts at MacDonald Hardwoods can help you make an informed decision if you are considering installing beautiful new bamboo flooring in your space.
Three Helpful Facts About Bamboo as a Flooring Choice
1. Bamboo flooring is environmentally friendly.
As a type of grass that is recognized as the fastest growing plant on earth, new bamboo shoots rapidly grow to 50 feet and are ready for harvest in five to seven years. This is a mere fraction of the 30 to 60 years it takes a hardwood forest to grow to maturity.
Bamboo is regenerative. Unlike the harvest of hardwoods, harvesting bamboo does not destroy the plant, which will put out new shoots so that the cycle can be repeated. Trees are killed when harvested.
Finally, almost no pesticides are used in the growing of bamboo, and the harvest is done by hand, so there is minimal disruption to the environment in the process.
2. No harm to our planet’s panda population comes from the harvest of bamboo for flooring.
Pandas may ingest 30 different varieties of bamboo, but Moso, the plant species used for flooring, is not one of them.
3. Bamboo is durable and strong.
Although considered by some to be too soft to be practical in homes with kids and pets, strand-woven bamboo is the hardest wood flooring available today and stands up well to these most energetic members of the family. Bamboo floor finishes are available that are known to be scratch resistant as well. If you have children, pets, or heavy traffic areas, our professionals can guide you to the best flooring choices for your family and advise you on the best way to maintain new floors.
For personal assistance with all of your eco-friendly and hardwood flooring needs, call MacDonald Hardwoods, your Denver flooring company, at 800-639-3006.
The Douglas Fir is a medium-to-large sized evergreen tree, growing to heights of 20 to 100 meters tall. Its leaves, which take the appearance of needles like other evergreens, are soft and almost perfectly linear. In a particularly dense forest, the branches and needles may start growing higher off the ground to help the tree absorb sunlight. Like other evergreens, Female Douglas Firs contain cones, but unlike other members of the fir family, Douglas cones have persistent scales.
Uses for Construction:
In areas where it isn’t a native species, they are frequently used as lumber trees due to the hardness and durability of the wood. Of all North American softwoods, a family that the Douglas Fir is a member of, it rates as the hardest. addition, unlike other softwood species, it retains its shape and structure as it ages as it is seasoned by exposing it to varying humidity. Because of these qualities, it is frequently used for building, including for the building of bridges and other suspended structures. It is also ideal for structures that may be exposed to earthquakes or powerful winds.
The physical qualities of the wood also make it a popular choice for use in hardwood flooring. The stiffness and durability of the fir allow hardwood flooring to resist wear, and it’s common to see buildings hundreds of years old that contain wood from Douglas Firs in their flooring or structure, particularly in the Pacific Northwest where the tree is prevalent.
Because of its aesthetically pleasing appearance, this species is frequently planted in parks, gardens or trails for visual appeal. Its appearance has also made it very popular as a Christmas tree, and Douglas Firs are often grown on tree plantations to be cut down for the holidays. The buds of the tree have even been used flavor eau de vie, a type of fruit brandy that is clear and colorless in appearance. Finally, the durability of the wood has led it to be used for crafting canoes and other boats in some cultures.
For many home-improvement or artistic products that require wood, a trip to a nearby lumber yard marks the beginning and end of the work. However, there are certain projects where one or more qualities of an exotic wood species, like the color, grain, or texture, make it a necessity. If you’re wondering, “where can I buy exotic wood?” the answer is that it can be a bit more difficult than finding common wood species. But if you’re willing to drive a bit, or pay money for shipping, there are many ways to find exotic wood for sale. Here’s a quick run-through of the steps you’ll want to take to acquire high-quality exotic wood.
1. Local Sellers
If you can find a seller of exotic wood near you, you’ll save on either time or shipping costs. Do a quick search for distributors nearby that carry exotic wood, and even if it’s a bit of a drive, it’s worth it to be able to inspect the slabs or pieces yourself. It’s also worth checking if anybody in your town or area owns a portable saw mill. Typically, people with portable saw mills will mill logs for individuals or companies. By talking to them and asking about past clients, you can get a good idea of who to purchase exotic wood from.
2. Visit Hardware Stores
Hardware chains that carry standard lumber, such as the Home Depot, as well as local hardware stores that supply lumber, can be a source you use to find exotic wood sellers. In most cases, the stores you visit in this manner won’t have the type of exotic wood you need. However, they are certainly in contact with lumber distributors, and through these connections they can often point you towards a distributor that sells exotic wood.
3. Check Craiglist and Similar Platforms
Sites like Craigslist, which you can search for individuals or small businesses that fit your needs, are a great resource to find exotic woods. Simply look for wood millers or woodworkers near you, and find one that has the required equipment and knowledge. Even if they don’t have the type of wood you want on hand, they probably have the connections to acquire it that you lack. There will often be additional costs to get the wood to the millers, but this is often cheaper than working with a large distributor, and this way you help out a local business.
4. Order Online
You can purchase almost anything online today, and exotic wood is no exception. On wood distributor sites or platforms like Amazon, search the type of wood you need and you’ll almost certainly see options that can be shipped to you. However, buying online can often result in significant shipping charges, but if you have the money to spend, it’s extremely convenient. The only other downside is that when buying online you have little choice in selecting the stock–you get what you get. Because of this, it’s best to check other options first if you’re very particular about your work.
In short, the answer to the question, “where can I buy exotic wood?” is that there are a variety of sources, but the best advice is to ask around. Start with local distributors or lumberyards and branch outward, and if the sources you find don’t carry the type of wood you need, ask them of distributors that may carry it. Finally, nearly any type of wood can be bought online, but due to shipping costs, this should be a last resort unless you’re willing to spend a bit extra.
The Beech tree, a type of deciduous tree with the genus Fagaceae, flourishes in Europe, Asia, and North America. We break it into two subgenera: Engleriana, which is found exclusively in East Asia, and Fagus, which encompasses the rest. In North America, the “American Beech” or Fagus grandifolia grows in central and southeastern states (as far down as east Texas), as well as states bordering the Great Lakes. Distinctive characteristics include low-hanging branches with yellow-green leaves in spring and small, triangular “beechnuts” in winter.
The beech tree has a distinctive, silvery bark, and tends to grow very tall, up to 80 feet. Inside, its wood is dense and robust, with evenly textured stock and a straight grain. The light color of the sapwood echoes that of the yellow birch, although beech is more reddish in the heartwood. Growth rings develop surrounded by slightly darker latewood. Beech wood’s distinctive rays branch out short, yet unusually broad.
Its natural light color easily can be changed. Beech’s fine grain helps it to take well to varnish and staining (except for the heartwood).
Beech wood’s versatility demonstrated itself early– in ancient Germanic cultures, they utilized beech to make primitive tablets before paper was invented. The German word for book, “Buch,” comes from their word for beech, “Buche.”
Though beech wood doesn’t take well to drying, it excels in turning and bending. Beech resists breaks and compression and sticks well with glue. It also bends exceptionally well with steam, and so it functions frequently as chair backs and legs. With beech wood, woodworkers create materials as wide-ranging as delicate goblets since it bends and wooden spoons since it holds up to wear and tear. People also use harvested beech wood for flooring, containers, and railroad tracks.
Compared to other lighter-colored wood such as pine, beech withstands more abuse without denting or scratching; in fact, beech wood may grow smoother the more it is used. It also has only a very mild wood smell. However, beech wood is susceptible to moisture and particularly rot. Because of this, it endures best in a dry environment.
Cost and Availability
Until the invention of the modern chainsaw, beech trees were not harvested in mass quantities because of their density. For this reason, some unusually large groves of old beech trees remain. Now, they are regularly cut down but still quite plentiful.
Those looking for a hard, high-density wood should consider beech wood as a top option. The NHLA has graded the underappreciated beech “standard,” and it costs much less than other woods of comparable hardness. Demand for it in recent years has not increased, yet supply continues to be readily available. Many people utilize beech wood as a cheaper option to hard maple or oak.
Hardwood comes from a vast variety of species. Some are not appropriate for flooring because of their density, susceptibility to moisture, or other factors. Even among the hardwoods used for flooring, some are better for certain climates than others. Here in Colorado, where the weather is relatively dry, domestic hardwoods tend to be especially popular, though there are a few exotic species that do well, too.
While Bamboo is a grass and not a wood, modern strand-weaving methods produce Bamboo flooring that is, in some cases, harder than hardwood. Bamboo flooring is a popular choice among those concerned with environmental sustainability because it grows quite quickly and is generally not harvested from natural-growing forests.
Red Oak is by far the species used most often for flooring in the United States. It is abundant and inexpensive and can be finished to suit practically any decor, making it one of the most versatile hardwoods available.
White Oak shares many features with its cousin, the Red Oak, but, as its name would suggest, is a bit paler and more brown than red. White Oak is an especially popular choice for those looking for pre-finished hardwood, as the variety of options available is quite impressive.
Though technically different species, Hickory and Pecan are part of the same genus (also referred to as Hickory) and are so similar they are often sold together or interchangeably. The grain of Hickory is its most outstanding feature, as boards often display sharp color variations that create a striking and unique look. Hickory is also uncommonly hard for a domestic wood and makes a great choice for cabins and homes high traffic with a desire for a natural, somewhat rustic look.
Walnut often features a variety of figured grain patterns, which lend it a special beauty; this, combined with its natural luster, which increases over time, make it an especially recommended for natural oil finishes.
Among the most popular of the exotic species sold in the United States, Brazilian Cherry offers a rich tone that only grows richer over time. Significantly harder than most domestic species, it is an excellent choice for homes with families or pets who are looking for something a little special in their flooring choice.
One of the darker hardwoods popular in Colorado, Brazilian Walnut is another dense, hardwood good for high traffic areas. Its darker hue creates a warm but sophisticated look that contrasts beautifully with lighter furniture and fixtures.