Cork & Bamboo Considerations

Cork & Bamboo Floor Characteristics

Bamboo Flooring: Bamboo is actually not a wood; it’s a fast-growing member of the grass family that can grow up to several inches a day. It has a fast growth cycle and does not have to be replanted after harvesting, making it a sustainable material. Naturally pale yellow in color, Bamboo Flooring has a tight, straight grain, sometimes interspaced with knuckles formed from joints on the stem.

It is offered in two styles – traditional Bamboo Flooring and Strand Woven. Traditional Bamboo is formed by gluing and pressing together strands of bamboo that are then formed into planks. This allows the natural knuckles to be visible in the finished product. Traditional Bamboo Flooring can range from 1180 to around 1380 on the Janka Hardness Scale.

Strand Woven Bamboo is formed by fusing small strands together using immense heat and pressure to create solid strand blocks. It is distinguished by a more compressed grain appearance and is harder than Traditional Bamboo. Strand Woven Bamboo Flooring can range from 2700 to 2900 on the Janka Hardness Scale*.

Cork Flooring: Cork is a rapidly renewable and sustainable Flooring material that is made from the bark of the cork tree. This bark can be harvested without harming the tree, making cork an eco-friendly, sustainable material. Cork Flooring has a distinct honeycomb structure and appearance that makes it softer underfoot and provides insulating properties as well. Cork Flooring can also help muffle sound, absorb impact, and resume its original shape - like the cork from a wine bottle. The Flooring is protected by an innovative, cured finish that creates a natural, low-gloss appearance.

Floor Appearance

Bamboo and Cork Flooring are beautiful for your home and the environment. Being green is a great choice, but you’ll also want to consider these options:

  • Plank Width: Bamboo Flooring is offered in various plank widths ranging from to 3 3/4” to 7 ½”.
  • Hand Scraped: Hand-scraped finishes can be seen on Bamboo Flooring. This means that the plank is slightly distressed to evoke traditional craftsmanship. It produces a distinctly casual look.
  • Smooth Finsih: Smooth finishes have a traditional appearance that is cleaner in look and style. Both Bamboo and Cork Flooring are available with a smooth finish.
  • Beveled Edges: Bamboo Flooring planks have a micro v-groove on two or all four sides of a plank. This provides a very characteristic appearance that is more informal.
  • Tile or Plank Cork Flooring: This Flooring is provided in tiles or planks, which are installed as a floating floor. Both maintain the characteristic appearance of Cork.

Flooring Underlayment

There are several benefits of having an underlayment installed beneath your Flooring. It can help smooth out minor subfloor imperfections while quieting impact sound and floor-to-ceiling noise. Not only does the underlayment dampen sound, it is environmentally friendly and manages acceptable levels of moisture.

Janka Scale

Species Janka Hardness (pounds-force)
Oak 1290
Maple 1450
Hickory 1820
Cherry 995
Exotic Wood 2350
Bamboo & Cork 2700 to 2900

The Janka Hardness Test measures how various type of woods resist denting and wear. The test measures the force necessary to embed a .444-inch steel ball into wood to half of the ball’s diameter. It is a flooring industry standard for evaluating how well various wood species can tolerate denting and normal wear.

USDA Janka Hardness Scale


Flooring Care & Maintenance Tips

  • Use felt pads to help protect your Bamboo or Cork Flooring from furniture wear.
  • Repair minor damage using color fill or color sealant.
  • Rearrange furniture and rugs to ensure even exposure to sunlight and to maintain consistent color across your Bamboo or Cork Flooring.
  • Place protective mats at doorways to help keep dirt and moisture off your floor.
  • Use a hard-surface rug underlayment to help reduce slips.

For more tips, visit our Hardwood Floor & Product Care area.

Offers for Baltimore/Washington, Northern VA, Eastern Shore (Change)

Get Started Now

Schedule Now

How Does Empire Determine Pricing?

Our convenient, FREE In-Home Estimate gives you comprehensive pricing with no hidden fees. We calculate everything from product cost, space prep, to material disposal. Each estimate is tailored to address your project's specific needs.

See Details

How pricing is determined


Our convenient, FREE In-Home Estimate gives you comprehensive pricing with no hidden fees.

Next Day





Compared to Retail Stores

  • The product price may be available at the store, but it may not include installation or other fees.
  • It may take weeks before your product can be installed.

See the full competitor comparison

What will the cost of my project be?

Each estimate is tailored to your specific needs. We take measurements in your home and discuss your product options. Your Sales Representative will account for all costs and measurements to provide an accurate price.

Low Price Guarantee

Schedule Now
Schedule Now

or call 800-588-2300 to schedule.

*CARPET & FLOORING: Next Day Installation on in-stock styles only. In select areas, Next Day Installation may not be available every day. Floor preparation may add to installation time. WINDOW TREATMENTS: Next Day Installation on select products and styles for orders received by 10 a.m. In select areas, Next Day Installation may not be available every day.