Bamboo flooring at Aqua: How the quest for trendy can lead to bad decisions


They’re getting ready to open an impressive new building in my neighborhood. Known as “Aqua”, the facility includes rental apartments and condos in an 80+ story tower, along with a grocery store and other retail establishments near ground level. Like many new buildings, it’s being marketed as environmentally-conscious, with energy efficient climate control and sustainable materials. So far, so good. But I recently learned they’ve taken this too far, and will be using the dreaded bamboo flooring in many of the apartments.

If you know anything about hard flooring, you’re probably aware that bamboo is a more renewable material than solid hardwood. However, when you compare bamboo to engineered hardwood, which makes use of a hardwood layer on top along with recycled and pressed materials in the middle and bottom layers, the environmental impact is probably a wash.

Why does this matter? Well, bamboo is a nightmare to own. Nearly every personal anecode I’ve heard and review that I’ve read has mentioned how easily the bamboo scratches, even if you wear slippers around the house. In contrast, engineered hardwood is much more durable and harder to damage. My point here is this: whoever made the decision to put in bamboo floors throughout Aqua has sacrificed quality and practicality in the name of trendiness. After a few years — heck, even after a few months — I suspect they’ll regret that decision, as dozens or hundreds of residents start asking why their eco-friendly floor is already falling apart.