Q: I'd like to put in hardwood floors and I'm considering bamboo. What do I need to consider? I don't want faux wood, and I read that some bamboo is treated with formaldehyde.
— Asked by Murkey, Alexandria, VA
A: Although Google provides comparative pricing, product descriptions and basic specifications, most websites don’t tell us what is best for our specific needs. We always have to sort out one product from another and make the best choice we can with the information we’ve found. That assumes we know the right questions to ask. This article is all about the right questions to ask.
This article explores questions frequently asked about underlayment and provides links to the underlayment products we recommend.
Q: We are refinishing our white oak floors and want to use the safest
and most durable materials. Street Shoe? Bonakemi? Rubio monocoat?
We have boys and a dog and have not found anyone in our area who uses Osmo.
—Asked by Shmuel, Takoma Park, MD
A: To my knowledge, there is no cross testing that shows which product is safest or most durable. However, I have used two of the three plus AFM Safecoat Polyureseal BP, AFM Naturals Oil Wax and Bioshield Aqua Resin Floor Finish and can provide some insight based on my experience.
In our house, our Labrador lived outside, so I can’t say how well these finishes would hold up to dogs, but we entertain 30-40 people each month in our home and had a normal teenage son. We do remove our shoes when we enter the house which helps immensely to keep out dirt and avoid scratching.
Q: Is Decorative Flooring, LLC (Decor Flooring)'s engineered wood
products a low VOC product. What is the E0 grade of
GB/T9846.1-9846.8.2004? Decor Flooring claims that all their Santos
Mahogany engineered wood flooring is E0 rated as per the standard
mentioned above. However, what does that really mean? Is this a low
VOC product? —Asked by Noble R. Abdullah, Spring, TX
A: This is a good question regarding the toxicity of an engineered wood product. Every manufacturer loves to show that their product has been approved by a rating agency. Nowadays, there are more than 200 labeling organizations offering green certifications. And most want money for their labels. When you research the criteria for how each label is awarded to see if the label is worth its salt, it reads like a long legal description on a tract of real estate.
Q: Is bamboo flooring safer than hardwood for a desert environment? Dry and hot. I want something very durable.—Asked by Rche, Sahuarita, AZ
A: You have asked two important questions about durability and safety in bamboo vs. hardwood.