Which is more scratch resistant, hardwood or bamboo?

marti8aNovember 18, 2008

I have been to a couple of flooring stores, and have gotten different opinions from both of them. The Home Depot guy didn't have an opinion.

This will be a floor in a dining room and hall, over a concrete slab foundation. I don't want that floating floor hollow sound, and we won't be installing it ourselves.

What is the best choice for the area & conditions?

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susanlynn2012

I don't know the answer but I do know all my bamboo samples I have here, were too easy to scratch so I decided not to use bamboo for my flooring.

    Bookmark   November 18, 2008 at 5:43PM
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gigabit

There are several things you should consider. Hardwood species all have different hardness ratings. Also, when considering scratch resistance you should consider what the finish is and how scratch resistant the finish is. Some floors have more durable finishes than others. Last, the gloss level can also add to the floors ability to show or hide scratches more.

    Bookmark   November 18, 2008 at 6:39PM
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boxers

its the finish that scratches not the floor. Most prefinished will come with aluminum oxide which is very durable. Your ability to 'see' the scratch is a function of the character of the wood and the gloss level of the finish.

    Bookmark   November 19, 2008 at 12:55AM
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marti8a

Someone is coming out this afternoon to measure, and he is bringing a pecan and a bamboo. He said the bamboo was harder, but I don't know if he meant finish or wood. Also, he said that engineered hardwoods are the only kind they glue down to slabs, the solid woods will warp if glued. And I was reading here about strand bamboo problems. What should I ask this guy besides the hardness of the coating?

    Bookmark   November 19, 2008 at 4:05PM
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marti8a

Ok, he's been here & gone. Does $8.50 per sq ft sound like a reasonable cost, installed?

    Bookmark   November 19, 2008 at 7:00PM
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susanlynn2012

marti8a, that sounds like a reasonable price based on quotes I have had from many people to glue down engineered wood floors or float them. I have had quotes much higher but I had one around that price for a Pecan floor that was nice. Which did you decide on?

    Bookmark   November 19, 2008 at 8:01PM
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marti8a

We haven't decided yet. The floor guy said this bamboo is the hardest, it the strand kind I've heard others here talk about, but he didn't bring a sample of that with him. I've got to go pick it up in a bit.

    Bookmark   November 20, 2008 at 1:33PM
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marti8a

Back with samples. Teragren Synergy Chestnut. It's really pretty, and sample of pecan hardwood looks very plain next to it. I like the bamboo, dh likes the wood. We need a tiebreaker.

    Bookmark   November 20, 2008 at 3:53PM
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susanlynn2012

Any pictures to help you decide? Which brand is the Pecan Hardwood? Are they both engineered or both solid planks? Did you try the scratch test with a scissors and the nickle test on the samples? I wanted Pecan but the sample brought over from me by an installer was mostly the plain looking unfinished boards and not the beautiful bedroom floor someone posted on this site so it was difficult to tell by that sample. What size width are the bamboo and the Pecan hardwood? How thick are they?

    Bookmark   November 20, 2008 at 6:53PM
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marti8a

I'm not with the samples right now, but I'll post the brand of the hardwood tomorrow. It was a pecan color on hickory wood I think, but there was a brand name on the label too.

What is the nickle test?

I put a chair with metal feet on both of them, sat on it, and pushed back & forth on them, and I punched both of them with a key. The hickory showed a slight scratch from the key, but neither showed any scratches from the chair.

    Bookmark   November 21, 2008 at 12:35AM
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susanlynn2012

marti8a, It looks like you did good tests. I pushed a nickle into each piece of wood holding it hard and moving it back and forth and I also used a sharp knife to try to make scratches. The bamboo brand I had here had many scratches. The Brazilian Cherry from Hartco Valenza Collection and from BR-111 had hardly any scratches are dents. The Mirage Oak and Mirage Maple with the special finish on top they used was the best. The Kempas had scratches and the hardwoods that only had a 15 year life did poorly in all my tests. The Armstrong 12 MM Laminate did well on my tests but not as good as the top contenders for the engineered Hardwood but a close contender.

    Bookmark   November 21, 2008 at 12:48AM
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boxers

your 'tests' are ridiculous examples of what people do trying to compare products. How floors will perform in real world living are much better. Try finding someone who has a similar floor installed and look it at after a few months or yrs. Did you try soaking the wood in water to see which one would swell more? Sorry to be sarcastic but buying a product based on which ones you can't gouge with a nickel is really silly and people will believe your nonsense. Since NO mfctr warrants their floors against scratching your 'test' proves nothing. Even if the sample didn't scratch your actual wood may be different. There is no 'factory test' for hardness.

    Bookmark   November 21, 2008 at 12:57AM
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susanlynn2012

boxers, I like your tests better. I had read about the tests so that is why I used them since I have a home office and in case clients bring some bigger dogs to visit, I wanted a floor that would not scratch easily. I read on this forum or another one within the Garden Forum about the Nickle test. I find the hardwoods you used to be sturdy since they passed your practical and real tests.

I did try the water tests and amazing all the engineered and thick laminates did very well. Only the 15 year old very think engineered woods did not do as well in the tests. I did this test in case a client spills a drink on my floor.

    Bookmark   November 21, 2008 at 1:25AM
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marti8a

The hardwood is Classic Hickory from Anderson, a 3/8" 5 Ply Engineered Product with 15 year finish warranty. Boxers, it would be great to find someone with these floors installed for awhile to look at, but that is difficult to find except here.

    Bookmark   November 21, 2008 at 10:49AM
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boxers

When I was district mgr for Armstrong wood all our products had the same 'top coat' of finish regardless of warranty period. It was mostly a marketing difference between lines, though grading was more stringent as warranty period increased. I would get complaints from time to time based on 'hardness and denting' and there is no test we could perform. Your just setting yourself up for dissapointment. Look at my old posting about "Advice for shopping for hardwood from a hardwood rep or something similar. Pleast don't repost it as its old but I gave some good advice which is still current.

    Bookmark   November 21, 2008 at 12:19PM
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boxers

here is the old posting I gave some advice in:

http://ths.gardenweb.com/forums/load/flooring/msg0113332720487.html

    Bookmark   November 21, 2008 at 12:42PM
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susanlynn2012

Marti8a, I also have a very small sample of the Hickory from Anderson here that I loved the look of but the sample was too small to make a decision from and despite the 15 year warranty and not being as scratch resistant as the other floors, if I could see a room with this floor in it and get a bigger sample, I would be interested in it since I liked the color a lot and the wood grain on my sample a lot.

    Bookmark   November 21, 2008 at 1:17PM
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susanlynn2012

Boxers, thanks for letting me reading the above link from an old thread.

I read on the BR-111 site that their Brazilian Cherry 5/16th engineered floor had the same hardness as red oak due to such a think layer of wood on top while their thicker veneered Triangulo Brazilian Cherry approaches the Janka hardness of solid wood. I have clients and friends with hardwood floors and the Janka Rating together with the Finish on the floor determines the wear on it as well as how they take care of their floors.

Home Depot sells an engineered product that scratches very easily and to me that is important but I like the idea of putting a chair on the sample to see in the real world how the hardwood or laminate will hold up. My test for the water was important since I am using the floor in an home office that has a lot of traffic during a few months of the year.

Again, thanks for sharing your knowledge.

    Bookmark   November 21, 2008 at 1:29PM
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susanlynn2012

Marti8a, Did you decide on which flooring? I went to the website that had the Teragren Synergy Chestnut that seems to be made very well and is very pretty in the picture and claims their process makes it hard. I like the color Chestnut in the picture. What color is it in person?

    Bookmark   November 22, 2008 at 11:30AM
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marti8a

Lynn, we still haven't decided. The guy from the floor store (the owner) was supposed to email a quote to us and never did. Then I found Virginia Vintage at a store in another town and really loved it. I asked at my local store if they could get it & he was going to check and then call me, but he never did. We guessed our little 350 square feet isn't enough to interest them.

And from everything I've read here, there are going to be scratches no matter what we get. So today we went to Floor & Decor and a Surplus store and left more confused than anything. The pieces in the boxes seem so lightweight. They say hickory but feel like balsa wood. We brought home one sample that is supposed to be a golden hickory & it's so red it makes our cabinets look sick. We also brought home a bamboo that doesn't look too bambooish, iykwim.

The Teragren Synergy Chestnut wasn't too red, but matched our golden red oak cabinets pretty well.

I keep reading here that good flooring can be bought under $4 per sq foot, but I wish I knew where to find it. Every time we find something we like, it's over $7 psf.

    Bookmark   November 29, 2008 at 4:34PM
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susanlynn2012

marti8a, I guess the less than $4/sq ft must be at wholesale prices since I am with you that I can't find any floor less than $4/sq ft except the cheapest Bruce's oak lines with the thinnest wear layer and the rotary peel that I do not like.

    Bookmark   November 30, 2008 at 1:50AM
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marti8a

Well, we finally decided on one. We are getting Mannington Hickory Plank. It's got a distressed finish that I think will camoflage most scratches.

    Bookmark   December 3, 2008 at 7:38PM
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marjen

I just ordered fossilized bamboo (strand woven) from cali bamboo for about $3.95 a square ft. I have a box I bought to sample and it looks fantastic. Not sure how well it will hold up, but seems fairly resiliant.

    Bookmark   December 4, 2008 at 9:35AM
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susanlynn2012

I can't wait to see pics of Marti8a's floors and marjen's floors. Please do share. I feel both of you will be happy.

Marti8, what stain did you get on the Mannington Hickory Plank? I have a sample here that is an auburn color and very pretty.

    Bookmark   December 5, 2008 at 12:35AM
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marti8a

I don't have the receipt in front of me, but I think it is just called Oak. If I'm wrong, I'll come back & correct it. We still have to paint & clean the carpet & get some tile done. Hope we can get all that done in a week because that's when the store said they could do it.

    Bookmark   December 6, 2008 at 12:28AM
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marti8a

That's a great price on bamboo. Can you tell me where you got it? Not that we're changing, but maybe next house. I still like the look of bamboo.

    Bookmark   December 6, 2008 at 12:30AM
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KrisVenema

Hello, all. I am curious as to how your floors are holding up, specifically the fossilized bamboo from Cali Bamboo that Marjen purchased.

Thanks,

Kris

    Bookmark   November 10, 2013 at 12:11PM
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dabroad

I'm with KrisVenema, I'd like to hear the longer-term reviews on these products. Am getting some samples from Cali and am in love with Somerset Hickory engineered, but am concerned about scratches (have two largish dogs and a husband in a wheelchair).

    Bookmark   November 8, 2014 at 12:29AM
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ralphevans

Bamboo is a natural surface covering material that has many of the properties of hardwood flooring, even though it is actually produced from a type of grass. It shares many of the positive benefits of a hardwood floor, as well as the drawbacks and vulnerabilities. And certainly, hardwood is much scratch resistant than bamboo...

    Bookmark   November 28, 2014 at 5:04AM
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