We’ve seen a surge in the production of eco-friendly wood products in recent years as companies turn towards sustainable materials like cork and bamboo. Eucalyptus flooring is an often overlooked alternative that can be just as hard are traditional woods, but cheaper to install.
If you’ve been curious about this mysterious tree, you’ve come to the right place as we are going to break down the benefits of eucalyptus flooring while touching on a few of the top brands.
Eucalyptus Flooring Pros & Cons
Whenever you’re considering using an unusual type of wood, you should take some time to learn more about it. While eucalyptus is typically associated with Koalas and Australia, you can actually find these trees in various parts of the world. Different parts of the tree are used in a variety of products as well from didgeridoos and medicine to flooring for residential and commercial use.
One of the biggest advantages of eucalyptus flooring is its durability, plain and simple. It’s towards the top of the charts on the Janka hardness scale, and you can find some variants in the 4,000 range. By comparison, red oak is around 1,200 and hickory clocks in at around 1,800. The way it’s manufactured can make a difference in the overall strength but trust us when we say it holds up well to abuse.
Eucalyptus also handles humidity well, and while it’s not waterproof, it deals with liquids much better than many kinds of wood. That means it’s safer to use in areas like kitchens and bathrooms although you still need to take the proper precautions and never leave water standing on your floor.
But how Green is it?
That’s a great question as some “natural” building materials aren’t quite as green as you think. A eucalyptus tree can be harvested in around 4 years compared to several decades for hardwoods like oak. They grow rapidly, which is great as long as they are harvested and replanted in an environmentally conscious way.
The main thing to consider from a green standpoint are adhesives and what’s used in the wear layer or coating. Adhesives have never been environmentally-friendly, but you can easily find products with a low VOC rating. As for the top coat, water-based wood finishes are the safest and any reputable company should have that information readily available.
Other advantages of eucalyptus flooring include the price tag and maintenance as it’s easy to keep clean. It’s also cheaper than most hardwoods and ideal if you have pets or rowdy children. Overall, we feel it’s an excellent type of home flooring when you want something unique, but inexpensive and simple to install.
Eucalyptus Flooring Problems
There aren’t many drawbacks with eucalyptus flooring, but it isn’t that easy to find. If you walk into Home Depot or another big hardware store, you may find some boxes on the shelf although you’ll want to check stock online before you make the trip. You may have better luck in specialty flooring stores, but again, the overall selection is limited.
Due to the lack of selection, you may have to turn to lesser-known brands which can bring up problems with quality control. You also won’t find many eucalyptus flooring reviews. Like other styles of exotic wood, grading standards are nonexistent so you’ll need to dig deep for details.
Eucalyptus vs. Bamboo
There are three popular types of exotic flooring options available today with bamboo, cork, and eucalyptus. With cork, harvesting is never an issue considering the bark is used, so the trees aren’t cut down. Eucalyptus and bamboo are harvested and manufactured differently than cork and share more similarities than differences overall.
Bamboo is a technically a grass, not a tree and it grows extremely fast although eucalyptus is not far behind. Both are high renewable materials, but bamboo has a slight edge in pricing and availability. It may be too “unique” for some however whereas eucalyptus has knots instead of nodes and looks more like traditional wood.
Types of Eucalyptus Flooring
Another characteristic eucalyptus flooring shares with bamboo is the way it’s produced. You can find engineered, strand woven, and solid planks although the latter can be tough to find. Out of those, strand woven flooring is the toughest by far.
With this method, strips of eucalyptus are woven together before being compressed under extreme heat and pressure. This results in a plank that’s considerably harder than most flooring with a range of 3,000 to 5,000 on the hardness scale.
Solid eucalyptus boards are around 1,200, and engineered planks can range between 1,200 and 2,000. Laminate eucalyptus exists as well and is the easiest to find, but not something we’re going to delve into as it’s not hardwood flooring.
How to Choose Quality Eucalyptus Flooring
Picking the best eucalyptus flooring is simple compared to choosing carpet, vinyl or any type of hardwood. That’s because the selection is sparse, so you just need to focus on the same areas as you would with any hardwood flooring.
If you are concerned about VOCs, check for certifications and see what’s in the finish. You can find products that are formaldehyde free and FloorScore certified and LEEDS credits are a possibility as well. When dents and dings are a concern, go for strand woven eucalyptus and check the products Janka rating against its competitors.
Are you worried about scratches or plan on using the flooring in an area that gets a lot of foot traffic? The wear layer is always important, but even more so when you have large pets or clumsy kids. Finish styles and colors vary wildly, but thickness and length do not.
There are also three installation styles to choose from with floating floor locking system, glue down planks and ones you can nail or staple. If you want flooring that’s easy to install, look for a product with click-lock milling.
Eucalyptus Brands Prices List
FSC, FloorScore, Carb Phase 2 & LEED MR6, IEQ 4.4, MRc7
Lifetime wear & structural
FloorScore, Carb Phase 2, LEED EQC 4.3, MRc6, Mrc7 -
50 Year Residential
The Best Eucalyptus Brands
A drawback with any exotic building material is availability, and eucalyptus flooring is not as popular as other styles, so it’s not as easy to find. While these brands are the best and most popular, there are other options from companies like Mohawk and Pinnacle Portofino. Unfortunately, those companies and a few others did not make our list at this time due to product lines that have been discontinued or are in short supply.
Ambient produces excellent flooring, and they are one of our favorite companies when it comes to bamboo. Their eucalyptus lineup isn’t nearly as vast, but they have four different hues to choose from and quite possibly the hardest planks around thanks to their unique design.
Ambient’s eucalyptus flooring is solid strand but with no wear layer and rating around 5,300 on the hardness scale. All their boards have tongue & groove milling, so they aren’t as easy to install as you’ll need to nail or glue them down. The acclimation times are low at 72 hours, and while they aren’t rated for radiant heat system or below-grade rooms, they will handle pets and high traffic better than other types of flooring.
These gorgeous boards are available in four shades with Tupelo Honey, Malted Ale, Café Brown Antiqued, and Cocoa Bean Antiqued. Their products are also reasonably priced at around $4.79 per square foot. They also offer an amazing warranty as the finish, and structural integrity is covered for a lifetime.
It’s no surprise that Cali Bamboo find themselves towards the top of the food chain in the eucalyptus flooring world. While they specialize in bamboo, they have a few products eucalyptus-based products available in their fossilized collection.
Cali has two slightly different products available in two different shades with Mocha and Natural eucalyptus flooring. Their boards are of the solid strand variety, so they are durable and measure between 3200 to 4000 on the Janka scale. They are available in wide click-clock or wide tongue and groove depending on your preference.
Cali Bamboos eucalyptus flooring is certified by numerous eco-friendly authorities, and one of the safer products you can buy when VOCs and air quality is a concern. Their flooring has a 50-year residential warranty and is listed through Home Depot with prices at $5.99 per square foot.
Versini has a wide range of flooring spanning several different collections and the alphabet from Brunello to Volontario. We’re going to focus on the Cosenza collection; however, as their eucalyptus lineup is varied and offers up some shades, you won’t find anywhere else.
When most consumers think of eucalyptus, they think of koalas and leafy green trees or textured brown wood. Well, Versini is one of the few companies that has shades outside the usual range with colors like Dark Grey, Pewter and Windsor. If you do want something a bit more natural, they have Baja, Galena, and Mustang as well. All the company’s planks are hands scraped with an aluminum oxide finish and can be glued, floated, nailed or stapled.
This company’s products can be difficult to find so you’ll want to use their store locator to track down the color you’re interested in. Considering their floors have a 50-year warranty with pricing beginning at $3.99 per square foot, they could worth a little road trip.