Bamboo is one of the more interesting options if you’re in the market for exotic flooring for your home. It’s sustainable, which makes it more eco-friendly than traditional wood, and it’s far more durable than domestic species as well.
For consumers considering using bamboo flooring, the cost of bamboo is usually the first thing to come to mind. In our guide, we’re going to break down pricing for this unusual material and tell you what to expect when it comes to installing this type of flooring.
Types of Bamboo Flooring
Before we get into bamboo flooring cost and how it’s installed, it’s important to understand that not all bamboo flooring is created equal. We’re not just talking about quality, although that’s something we’ll address shortly, but how the flooring is manufactured.
Solid bamboo flooring is an option, but somewhat rare compared to strand woven and engineered bamboo flooring. Companies also use various techniques, including fossilizing and carbonization which can alter the look and properties of bamboo.
Engineered Bamboo Flooring is the easiest type of bamboo to find for most consumers, and it’s not uncommon to see it in stock from a big box retailer locally. This flooring has a sturdy core with a thin veneer of real bamboo on top. Strand woven bamboo flooring uses compression and adhesives, while solid strand bamboo comes in two styles with horizontal or vertical solids.
Bamboo Flooring Cost Factors
The type of bamboo flooring you choose plays a large part in the price of those planks, but it’s far from the only factor involved. With that in mind, we are going to discuss a few key areas that directly affect how much you’ll pay for bamboo flooring regardless of the type.
As with most styles of flooring, thickness matters, and not just when it comes to durability. Thicker flooring can feel different underfoot but usually comes with an increase in price. In most cases, bamboo flooring thickness ranges between 9/16” to ¾.”
With engineered bamboo, keep in mind that’s the “total” thickness as the veneer is going to be significantly thinner. Widths and lengths can vary as much as the thickness, and you may see a price increase on extra-wide bamboo flooring or boards longer than the standard size.
Manufacturers generally set a warranty level based on the quality of their flooring. As quality is tied to price, you can expect products with lifetime warranties to cost more. With bamboo, it’s no different as flooring rated for 25 years of residential use will be cheaper than bamboo boards that come with a lifetime guarantee.
It doesn’t matter if you’re buying a car, blender or flooring; there are always brands that cost a bit more than others. It could be due to quality or the fact the brand has been in business for 100 years, but you will pay a premium for some brands.
As bamboo is considered an exotic type of flooring material, branding isn’t as big of an issue, but Teragren and Plyboo would be considered “Premium” brands the bamboo world.
Bamboo Flooring Installation
Bamboo as a species is quite different from species like Oak or Maple, which actually come from trees. Despite these differences, bamboo flooring is still installed the same way as traditional hardwood, engineered flooring or even luxury vinyl planks and tiles. There are a few things you’ll need to keep in mind, however, especially if you plan to install bamboo flooring without using a professional.
Bamboo Flooring Installation Methods
There are three basic ways you can install bamboo flooring. You can nail it down like traditional hardwood, glue it down, or install a floating floor. The methods available all depends on the product you choose and how it’s made.
More often than not, you’ll find that most bamboo brands produce flooring with a “click-lock” system that can be floated or glued down. If you have never installed flooring before, we highly advise you to choose floating floors that snap together, although glue isn’t that difficult to deal with.
The Cost to Install Bamboo Flooring Yourself
Installing flooring yourself can save you a great deal of money, and nothing feels better getting complimented on a job well done as family members and guests gush over your beautiful new bamboo floors. Those floors will only be beautiful if you follow the installation instructions provided by the manufacturer, and you still have to consider the additional costs of handling the job yourself.
This step depends on your subfloor, and again, it’s an area where you need to follow the manufacturer’s directions. You obviously want your subfloor to be flat and sound, but if you’re installing bamboo flooring on a slab, you’ll need to check the moisture levels. New concrete needs to cure for a few months, and regardless of the subfloor or grade level, always remember those expansion gaps.
Moisture barriers and underlayment can come in many forms, so we aren’t going to spend much time here. Big brands will have their own line of underlayment, and there are products like Titebond 531 Plus, which can control moisture with concrete. When in doubt, some form of underlayment is better than none, and it can even soften things up underfoot while providing a bit of insulation as well.
Traditional underlayment for hardwood or engineered flooring is usually sold on a roll and prices can starts as low as $0.25 per square foot for simple plastic or foam. Most rolls contain around 100 square foot of underlayment, so you can expect to pay between $25.00 to $60.00 per roll. You’ll also need tape to seal those seams, but it’s cheap at around $4.00 to $8.00 per roll.
Some forms of flooring need to “breathe” a little before being installed in your home. It’s called the acclimation period, and it’s something you’ll need to contend with if you decide to use bamboo flooring in your home.
Thankfully, the process is simple. To acclimate bamboo flooring, you just need to remove the planks from the box and let them sit out in the room where they will be installed. How long the process takes will vary, but we found most brands require anywhere from 48 hours to a full week of acclimation time.
Tools of the Trade
You will also need to pick up a few tools if you want to install bamboo flooring, but nothing is too expensive, and you may have some of these items in your home already.
Unlike vinyl or linoleum, you’ll need a saw to cut bamboo flooring whether it’s strand woven or engineered. While a chop saw is your best option, a simple skill saw will do the trick as well if you have a steady hand. Measuring tapes, a carpenter’s pencil, speed square, and a chalk line are tools you’ll need to have on hand as well at a minimum.
Getting your new flooring acclimated and having your tools lines out can be exciting, and it means you are almost ready to go. Well, if you don’t consider additional accessories beforehand, you will find yourself making an unexpected trip to the hardware store in the middle of your project.
What’s available that matches your flooring will depend on the brand you choose, but it’s not uncommon to find matching T-molding and reducers that resemble bamboo. Stair nosing and quarter round are also available, and we’ve even seen a few companies that produce matching air registers for your floor.
If you’re going to install flooring yourself, you generally have two options with your current flooring –remove it or cover it up. That’s too broad of a topic to tackle this time around, but we do have a few quick tips.
Mold and mildew from water damage is the biggest issue for flooring installed in kitchens or bathrooms. A leaking appliance can rot out your flooring, and if it gets to your subfloor, you can have a very expensive problem on your hands. You can sister a board onto joists for a quick fix, but true subfloor repair is something that is usually beyond the skillset of most homeowners.
Whether it’s a poorly seated toilet or leaking fridge, the cost to repair damaged subfloor can run from a few hundred bucks to over $20,000. There is no way to provide an accurate range as issues can range from termites and mold to foundation issues below your home.
Bamboo Flooring Cost
The biggest factor when installing bamboo flooring through the DIY method is the cost of the flooring itself. While we told you what goes into the cost of bamboo flooring, you’ll need to purchase it directly if you aren’t going to use a pro.
To find out how much flooring you need for your home, you need to know the square footage of the room where the flooring will be installed. To find this number, take the length and width of the room and multiply those numbers.
If you find flooring you like at $3.89 per square foot and your kitchen is 10’ x 20’, you would need 200 square feet of flooring, which would set you back $778 at that price. In our table you’ll find current prices from several of the top brands to give you an idea of what to expect.
Structural & Wear Warranty
$4.99 sq. ft.
$6.46 sq. ft.
$4.27 sq. ft.
$7.89 sq. ft.
$1.99 sq. ft.
$5.24 sq. ft.
$3.99 sq. ft.
Professional Bamboo Flooring Installation
If you are uncomfortable installing bamboo flooring in your home, a professional is the best solution. While it will add a significant cost to your project, you won’t have to deal with any of the areas we just covered. That means you can just sit back and relax after you settle on a style, although it is easy to get burned by a contractor if you don’t follow a few rules.
Thanks to the internet, it only takes a few minutes to find “someone” to do work around your home. Sites like Angie’s List and Home Advisor have turned average Joe’s into pros as well, which makes finding the right person for the job difficult. If you find someone you like, the first thing you’ll want to do is simply Google their business and personal name before cross-checking reviews on sites where they are listed along with Yelp, Thumbtack, and the Better Business Bureau.
Our second piece of advice is to get a detailed quote of the work and ask how long that work is guaranteed for. Any reputable contractor will provide you with an estimate that should be broken down, but when there are actual prices next to things like “labor” or “trim,” it makes it easier to compare those prices.
With that in mind, the price to install hardwood flooring averages around $8 to $12 per square foot across the U.S. and bamboo should fall into that range. Keep in mind, if your flooring installer finds issues with your subfloor or joists, the cost of bamboo flooring installation can increase significantly. You may also have to hire a general contractor, not a floor installer, to address serious issues with joists or mold remediation.
If you’d like to get an estimate of how much a professional flooring installer charges in your area, check out our pricing tool below.
Best Places to purchase Bamboo Flooring
Initially, bamboo was difficult to come by in some regions, but as the flooring material grew on popularity, it has become more readily available across the United States. That means you can stroll into a Home Depot or Lowes and find bamboo flooring from some brands, although you’ll need to turn to specialty flooring stores for others.
In our experience, the best place to purchase bamboo flooring locally or see it in person would be Home Depot, Lowe’s, or Floor & Décor. Depending on where you reside, Ace Hardware, Menards, and other smaller hardware chains may have a section as well, but your best bet is through those three retailers locally.
With Home Depot, most of their bamboo comes from the Home Decorators collection or the Home Legend line. They carry a few TrafficMaster branded products as well, but they mainly carry their own branded line of bamboo flooring. There’s more variation with Lowe’s, however, which is where you’ll find Cali Bamboo’s popular products along with a few styles from Natural Floors and SmartCore. As for Floor & Décor, there are two options with AquaGuard and Eco Forest.
Some popular brands can be purchased online from those three shops, but if you want bamboo flooring from boutique brands, you’ll need to go another route. Plyboo and Ambient both sell their products directly, but you’ll need to turn to online shops like Green Building Supply if you want to browse Teregren, EcoFusion, or USFloors lineup of products.
It can be difficult to narrow down a price for bamboo flooring, as you can see from our guide and the wide range of prices. The most important thing to remember is the total square footage for your project, along with whether you want to install the flooring yourself or hire a professional. If you want to learn more about bamboo before making a decision, you can find out more about the different types of bamboo flooring in our buying guide
Q: Do I need underlayment with Bamboo Flooring?
A: It comes down to the brand and style of flooring in some cases, while it’s a personal preference in others. We feel any extra layer between your flooring and subflooring is always a good idea, especially if you’ve dealt with a water leak.
Q: Can you nail down bamboo flooring?
A: Yes, but only if it’s listed as being suitable for the nail-down installation method, which typically involves solid bamboo flooring – not thinner engineered products.
Q: Is bamboo flooring suitable for kitchens and bathrooms?
A: Proceed with caution. Bamboo is still an organic material, and while it can deal with moisture better than hardwood, it’s not waterproof. Engineered bamboo flooring is the best option for wetter areas, but you can’t let water sit and need to clean up spill quickly.