Is bamboo flooring better than hardwood for installing on a ground level concrete slab?
I like the idea of bamboo flooring but have seen lots of negative reviews regarding quality, splintering etc., so perhaps hardwood over a plywood base would be better? My other concern relates to VOC's from glues & stains as I have 2 young children. Any suggestions?
From a pure sustainability perspective, a local hardwood is probably a more sustainable choice than bamboo simply because of the embodied energy of the bamboo...it comes from Asia primarily. There are different types of bamboo flooring with different performance characteristics depending on how they are glued together. Generally engineered bamboo flooring is much strongly than regular bamboo flooring. The top grain of regular bamboo can splinter and crack as you mentioned. This will not happen with engineered bamboo. Teragren offers a wide variety of bamboo options which are also Floorscor certified for extremely low VOC emissions. Having said all that, I would recommend a local hardwood or even engineered hardwood floor finished with a natural finish like Vermont Natural Coatings, linseed oil, or beeswax over bamboo typically.