BPN is now a 501(c)(3) non-profit and we are building a new website!
Read more, and see how you can help:
Please note: this page contains reviews and opinions sent in by
Berkeley Parents Network subscribers. Your
own experience may be different. Please always check references first!
Berkeley Parents Network >
House & Garden >
Cork and bamboo flooring with kids & pets?
I know there are discussions in the archives about flooring,
but I'd love to hear from folks who have been living with
bamboo or cork floors for some years and how satisfied they
are. We are purchasing a foreclosure and need to install new
floors and are considering these two types. We have two
small children and would like to get a dog and/or cat which
would spend at least some time indoors. Thanks! Rose
Hi. We got a cork kitchen floor about 6 years ago and I
think it still looks great. I was kind of nervous about it
at the time because we have three boys (no pets) and every
one is always tracking in water from the hot tub. There are
a few 'dents' in the cork where our kitchen tables legs
hit...its a heavy table so when we move it a little, it does
leave small dents. But no real visible scratches or warping
But generally I can't believe how good the floor still
looks. We picked the pattern that is like centimeter thick
'strips' of cork and it has a very speckled or mottled look.
this has been great because it covers literally ALL dirt.
And its so speckled already that any dents are sort of
covered up. I was also worried that the seams between the
tiles would be visible and I think because we picked the
pattern that already had 'strips' of cork in it, the seams
are not really visible.
We bought the cork (floating 'tiles) from Eco home
improvement and the guy who installed it said that we could
preserve it more if we put a layer of polypropylene over the
top. We didn't do that just b/c we were lazy, but even
still, the floor looks good. very pleasantly surprised by
my cork kitchen
My wife and I put in a floating cork floor in our kitchen
six or seven years ago. It is great and has lasted well.
We used the 'burl' style floor, and it is great--really
hides dirt. We've had a baby since then, and he loved to
play in the pot lids when he was young, so at the right
angle, you can see a lot of dents in the floor in that
section. But generally, it is very forgiving, especially
with potential dents from chairs or dropping knives.
The install we did went pretty well, but we thought we'd
need to put on a sealer afterwards (after all, there is
water in the kitchen). Putting on the sealer was not easy--
hard to get it not streaky and even. In hindsight, we should
have either had a professional put on the sealer, or skipped
it altogether, since I believe the panels were sealed
anyway. Have not had an issue though with water getting into
We are happy with the product.
We installed both in our home and I would have to say I
would never again install Bamboo flooring! it is hard to
keep looking good, scratches and gouges cannot be fixed and
it does not wear well. it is a real bugger to clean, we
ended up using a floor steamer as nothing else we tried
Cork on the other hand is easy on the legs, easy to clean,
looks good, very low maintenance. Also, imo, more affordable
than the bamboo which ended up being very expensive. no
more bamboo for me
We've had bamboo floors for about 7-8 years (with 2 kids/2
cats over that time), and I like them. They do show some
scratches/dents, but they're the first wooden floors I've
lived with, so I don't know if it's more or less than other
types of wood. I don't find the wear unattractive, and
honestly, we live pretty hard on them - there are lots of
toy trucks, scooters, etc. at our house. The only thing I'd
change if I had it to do over again is to get the darker
'carbonized' color rather than the light 'natural' color, as
the light color shows dirt. Overall, I'd buy bamboo again
in a heartbeat. JP
First be aware that not all cork or all bamboo flooring is
the same. Quality, thickness, and sources vary a lot. When
comparing people's experiences, you really need to know the
We've had (and loved) our cork flooring in the
kitchen for five years now. We chose to use Expanko
glue-down tiles based on their thickness (thicker than many)
color choice (all natural-looking shades of brown which is
done by heating, which penetrates, not dying which is more
likely to fade), and good installation guidelines (MAKE SURE
YOUR INSTALLER FOLLOWS THEM!). We also had several finish
coats put on, as advised by the manufacturer.
It is very soft underfoot, nothing (well, almost nothing)
ever breaks when dropped on it, and it looks good even with
infrequent cleaning (advantage? - you decide!) We don't have
any pets, so I can't speak to how it would hold up to claws,
but it's the most walked-on floor in our house and looks
good, I think. I'd be happy to let you look at ours if
you're interested (in Albany).
I am tearing out the carpet and would like to intall hardwood
floor. I have heard about bamboo flooring but do not know
anyone who have it at home so would like to get some opinion
and where to get good buy and services.
We chose bamboo because we read that it was as hard as other
woods, and because its look and environmental goodness. We
regret it. We find that it dents and scratches easily. Part of
the problem may be that we got the lighter colored bamboo (which
is also not good for us because we are not super clean). Also,
the color is uneven between batches (make sure your installers
mix it well), and exposure to sun through the windows changes the
color markedly (Where we have had rugs and where furniture has
been positioned is obvious). Best of luck
We had our ground floor (i.e., entry, hall, kitchen, living
room, and dining area) bambooed two years ago, and we love it.
It's ''green,'' looks cool, is easy to clean, and adds plenty to
the value of our place. We used Mike Mitschang of Berkeley.
Don't have his number handy, but he did an excellent job and
stayed within his quote, too
we are considering replacing the gnarly old rugs in 2 or 3 rooms of our house with bamboo flooring. Has anyone done this recently-there are no recs for this type of flooring. Who did yours or is DIY possible?
bamboo floor girl
We replaced most of the flooring in our house with bamboo last year. We did it ourselves, using tougue-and-groove flooring from Lumber Liquidators (off Gilman in Berkeley). The people there were knowledgeable and gave us some good advice. It wasn't too hard - the only real installation issue we ran into is that our old house isn't square anymore, so we had to do some fancy cutting - you'll want a good jigsaw/tablesaw/mitre saw or the like. We laid it directly over the concrete slab using a moisture-barrier adhesive. It's held up pretty well (including in the kitchen) - my only caveat is that it's somewhat soft and does have some scratches, but nothing I can't live with. Oh, and I would also recommend going with a darker (I think they call it carbonized) shade of bamboo - we got the light stuff, and it shows a lot of dirt - have to mop (water and vinegar works great) all the time. But I do like the floors overall, and get lots of compliments on them.
We put in a Bamboo floor about 5 years ago. Although I love the way it looks, it is not wearing as well as I would like it to. I do not really know why. We do have a child, but we are rather fanatical about our possessions, and have treated the floor with care. It has gotten pretty scratched up, and has faded pretty dramatically from the sun. I know this because part of it is covered by a rug, and when you pull the rug back you can sure see the difference. Someone who spent quite a bit of time in the flooring business told me to hire someone to sand it down and then polyurethane (sp?) it. I might do it, but feel that the floor should have lasted longer than 5 years.
The floor was installed by Amber Flooring, and I have to tell you that I would not use them again. While they did an excellent job refinishing my upstairs floor, I was not nearly as pleased with the floor installation. Sloppy finishing work, (not craftsman). I do not believe that they had anything to do with the lack of performance of the floor. I think it is inherent to the material, but I could be wrong.
My husband installed Bamboo flooring throughout our house a couple of years ago. It still looks gorgeous, guest continue to complement on our floor. We bought a book about hardwood flooring installation which helped. I have an architecture background and my husband has since become a contractor. So yes it is possible to do it yourself, but it does require a certain level of handiness. Also if you purchase the bamboo at Lumber Liquidators they often offer good advice and have the nailers available to rent. There is both nail down and glue down installed bamboo. I strongly recommend the nail-down, it looks much more professional. If you want some more info, please email me.
I recently saw a post discouraging bamboo flooring in the kitchen
and I wanted to post an alternative opinion and refute some of the
We put bamboo flooring in our kitchen (and our living, dining and
bathroom areas) in 2000 and we continue to love it. The previous
poster mentioned that Bamboo was soft and dented easily. A
couple of comments here: First bamboo is extremely hard; harder
than many hardwoods available on the market. Indeed, it's so
hard that it is used for external building scaffolding in many asian
cities. ("Google" some websites for comparisons). Second, it is
true that if you drop a cast iron skillet on the floor you're going to
get a dent, but that's true with any wood at all. The upside is that if
you drop a plate on the floor, you're less likely to break it than if it
were dropped on tile. There are some reasons not to use Bamboo
in your kitchen, but strength of the wood is not one of them. Most
research suggests that bamboo is as hard as hard maple and 50%
more stable than red oak. Oak and Maple are typically the woods
found on floors.
Bamboo is actually a grass, not a wood. Accordingly, it makes a
good environmental substitute. It matures in three to five years,
regenerates without replanting and is naturally pest resistent.
I would encourage anyone to put beautiful Bamboo in any room in
the house. We would do it again.
We're interested in installing bamboo flooring downstairs. We've checked out Floor Dimensions in Albany, and were
quoted $15-$16 per square foot, labor and material, for
carbonized bamboo, protected with 6 coats of urethane, plus
a top coat of aluminum (?) oxide. (We realize that the
urethane makes the project less green, although sturdier.)
Any recommendations about the installation and possible
installers of such flooring?
The Floor Show installs bamboo flooring. I think they can
also use a water based finish that is more green (and much
less hard on your nose and lungs)- at least they used that
on our hardwood. Their number is 845-4633.
Happy with our hardwood
Bamboo floor: we used pre-finished bamboo flooring from
Greenwood Products. We priced it at both Floor Dimensions
(in El Cerrito), and at the Berkeley Design Center. It was
MUCH cheaper at the BDC (do not be taken in the ''discount''
feel at Floor Dimensions). It looks very nice, but it does
already have various little dents and nics, which you
really wouldn't notice without looking closely. My 2-year
old has something to do with this. It is hard, but not as
hard or durable as tile. On the other hand, it is not as
hard on your legs and feet when cooking for hours.
I am interested in installing Bamboo floors in our house, and was
wondering what other people's experience was: can you recommend a
contractor? how long is the process? is it very dusty or can you live
in the house while it is being done (with a newborn baby)? how much
can I expect it to cost? are they any more difficult to maintain than
regular hardwood floors? I searched the website, and most of the
recommendations seemed to be for refinishing hardwood floors. Perhaps
the same contractors do bamboo floor installation? Thanks for any
advice or information! Shahana
They can be installed just like hardwood floors. They come either unfinished
(in which case you have to allow for sanding and varnishing just like
hardwood) or they come pre-finished (Ply-bo) and can be installed in a couple
of days and relatively cleanly. Many hardwood floor installers (such as
Tulip floors) install bamboo floors. Good luck.
We installed bamboo flooring when we built my husband's sound studio last summer.
We bought it at Eco Timber in Berkeley (behind OSH on Ashby). They are beautiful.
Everyone admires them, and most people are amazed to learn they are bamboo. The
staff at Eco Timber are very knowledgeable and personable. The carpenter who did the
rest of the work did the installation, but I am sure that Eco Timber have a list of
carpenters that they work with or that they can refer you to.
Of course, I have no knowledge as to how this would work if you are installing them in a
pre-existing structure. It took our carpenter two days to install them in the studio, but
that was not a very large area. I'm sure Eco Timber can advise you. As to their care, you
want to make sure you keep dirt and gritty materials like sand off the surface and to put
fabric-faced glides on the bottom of furniture. And, as with hardwood floors, it is not a
good idea to walk around them on exposed heels (which can scratch any surface, even
concrete). Dust mopping and vacuuming are best for normal cleaning. Spills should be
cleaned up right away. For deeper cleaning, you can add a small amount of vinegar to
water and damp mop with as dry a mop or sponge as you can. The key is not allowing
the surface to get very wet.
The best part of bamboo flooring is that it is a highly sustainable material. It can be cut
every four years without damaging the bamboo. Try doing that to a tree!
We installed bamboo flooring 3 years ago. The process is exactly the same as installing
hardwood. The planks are milled like most hardwood planks, in 'tongue and groove'
fashion. The cost was also in the same range as hardwood. We had ours installed by
Tulip flooring folks. They were pretty good and not the least expensive!
The advantages seem to be: you DON'T HAVE TO KILL TREES, you don't have to
support clearcutting, even for tree 'farms, bamboo is hard and longlasting and easy to
care for. (if you get it urethaned, as we did, you care for it just like a urethaned hard
wood. You can get a water-based urethane, too.) AND it's very pretty.
The only disadvantages: They don't tell you how BRITTLE bamboo seems to be. One
sharp item falling on it and a big nick can result. Perhaps it's 'hardness' also makes it
more brittle. Also, we got pre-treated (urethane) planks and then had them do another
coat once the floor was installed. The two different urethanes did not quite take to each
other, and we have a moderate problem with surface scratches in the urethane. To their
credit, Tulip has offered to re-urethane the floors anytime within a five year span from
Hope that helps.
this page was last updated: Mar 21, 2013
The opinions and statements expressed on this website
are those of parents who subscribe to the
Berkeley Parents Network.
Disclaimer & Usage for
information about using content on this website.
Copyright © 1996-2014 Berkeley Parents Network