In Maryland Bamboo is a Smart Flooring Alternative – and Growing!!

There are few improvements that can change the entire look of a Maryland home like flooring. With so many options, selecting the most practical in terms of beauty, cost, and durability has become priority. Bamboo exhibits these traits and more, putting it at the top of the list of flooring alternatives.

Value
Like any home product, different grades of bamboo exist, from the processed engineered floor to the solid bamboo floor. With price-points from $3 to $9 a square foot, the cost is less than solid hardwood, making it a smart option for today’s consumer. In fact, with today’s economy, many homeowners are hanging on to their property investments, making small but noticeable improvements that will have long term value when the housing market turns around. In Maryland, where Long & Foster reports a decrease in available housing inventory, homes that go up for sale move relatively quickly, with a three to four month turnaround. Simple updates, like the modern, clean lines of bamboo, can offer widespread appeal, ensuring a house moves quickly once it hits the market.

Durability
Bamboo is one of the most durable types of flooring on the market today. Denser than oak, a solid bamboo floor creates a stronger floor for a more reasonable price. Even engineered bamboo with a minimum quarter inch top layer can stand significant wear. The moisture and insect resistance of bamboo makes it a great choice for any room in the home, particularly in bathroom and kitchen areas where moisture is ever present. This makes it a logical choice for the Chesapeake Bay area, where hot humid summers are commonplace. Choosing a brand of flooring with a strong warranty makes it an even smarter buy.

Installation
Along with making home improvements that have long term returns, many homeowners are opting to save even more cash by becoming “Do-it-Yourselfers”. Because bamboo is easy to install, even those with basic carpentry skills will find installation simple and rewarding. Interlocking bamboo planks make for the easiest installation, and can be installed over any subfloor with an accompanying underlayment. Nail down installation is recommended for wood subfloors, while glue down installation can be used on concrete or plywood subfloors.

Green
Bamboo flooring is an eco-friendly choice for any home renovation. Because bamboo matures faster than hardwood, it is a better option when seeking renewable resourced products. While traditional hardwoods take up to 40 to 100 years to mature, bamboo matures in 3 to 5 years. When harvested, bamboo’s root system is left intact, minimizing soil disturbance and eliminating the need to replant. Consumers are looking for evidence of healthy and eco-friendly materials in their purchases. The Maryland Department of Natural Resources initiated the Green Builders Network (GBN) to encourage the design and construction of buildings that utilize sustainable materials. In partnership with the Green Building institute, the GBN offers professionals and the general public the chance to meet, share, and spotlight successful green built projects.

Durable and strong, with several options to meet any skill-level, pocketbook, or décor, bamboo is a shining star in the world of home renovations. Not only does its application throughout a home unite many interior features, it also reflects on the property owner’s preference for long term, practical and eco-friendly choices that improve aesthetic and investment appeal.

More Maryland Flooring Information

Tile flooring adds charm and minimizes upkeep

Tile flooring is durable. It can provide almost unlimited options in the type of tile used. Tile flooring also enjoys an ample variety of designs. It can be as simple or complex as you desire. There are tiles that can last forever and others that are less durable but offer price advantages and flexibility in replacement.

Although kitchens and bathrooms are ideal areas for tile flooring due to tile’s resistance to water and spills, other parts of your home can benefit from tile. With children or heavy traffic, tile makes sense given its superior resistance to tracking of mud, water and spills of all kinds. Costs can vary widely. Consider the following:

  1. Vinyl tile is economical and among the easiest to install. It resists spills, but its relative softness can suffer wear and tear due to scuffing and acidic spills. It costs $3-$7 per sq. ft.
  2. Ceramic tile is more expensive and requires greater attention when installing, considering evenness and possible grouting concerns. In its native form it tends to be somewhat porous. It can also be subject to breakage but individual tiles can be replaced. It costs $8-$15 per sq. ft.
  3. Glazed ceramic tiles add a glassy and tough protection to your floors. They come in a wide variety of patterns and designs. When it comes to cost, glazed ceramic tile flooring varies in price due to hardness. On a scale of one to five, glazed ceramic tiles work best at grade III and above. The entire pricing gamut runs from $1-$10 per sq. ft.
  4. Porcelain tile flooring is a tougher version of glazed ceramic tiles since its higher glazing temperature adds extra strength. The process doesn’t allow as wide a range of design as glazed ceramic tiles. It comes in at the higher end of the $1-$10 range.

Installation costs can run $5-$10 per sq. ft. so a do it yourself effort can be tempting. In many cases an even floor surface makes DIY possible especially for vinyl and ceramic tiles that don’t require grouting. You’ll need mastic and tools to carry it out, and getting a smooth overall surface can be daunting. A professional can bring the installation near to perfection and provide a guarantee. Seating ceramic tiles can be difficult, and grouting takes special care in adding and finishing.

For cleaning and maintenance, vacuuming is recommended to pick up solid matter. Mopping with plain water works well for everyday practice. If stains and spots don’t come off easily, consider using pH neutral commercial cleaners. Baking soda and water make a good home-made cleaner for spot removal and cleaning grout. If grout won’t clean well, you can check with a home improvement store or a professional in extreme cases.