I love the look of bamboo flooring and the fact it's eco-friendly, but are there drawbacks I should know about?
Bamboo flooring has its own look and its own (favourable) price point, which is typically lower than those for traditional hardwoods. (Bamboo, a grass, matures in about seven years, whereas oak, ash and maple can take up to 50.) In terms of flooring, bamboo has more of a contemporary vibe since its markings bear those reed-like divisions. If you're place isn't modern, this product may not suit it. It does, however, come in a range of colours, although the darker ones are less durable as they have to undergo high levels of heat and pressure to darken; they are similar in terms of durability to a black walnut – both will scratch and dent easily. The biggest downfall, though: You cannot refinish and repair any dents in bamboo – you must replace it. The strongest bamboo floor is a strand woven one, made by shredding the stalks and forcing it back together using glues and finishes that, if not properly monitored, can be bad for your health; most commercial bamboo comes from China and the industry there is in desperate need of regulation to maintain standards of quality. For this reason alone, my view is: We have numerous wonderful hardwood species in our own backyard, so shop Canadian!
Starting June 1, architect and interior designer Dee Dee Taylor Eustace will be appearing on The Real Designing Women, which airs on HGTV Saturdays at 4 p.m. ET. Follow her on Twitter @ddtaylordd. Have a design problem? E-mail firstname.lastname@example.org.