If you want to install bamboo decking on your property, you’re headed in the right direction. Bamboo is a wonderful material that makes stunning decking solutions with a great return on investment.
Easy to install, long-lasting, and durable, you’ll be happy you chose a bamboo deck for your home.
Bamboo Decking Costs
In general, bamboo decking costs a few dollars less than a hardwood deck per square foot. The price can vary depending on many factors.
A typical range for installing 400 square feet of bamboo decking is anywhere from $6,840 to $15,200. This includes all labor, which equals an average of around $11,000. The cost can vary depending on special features and shapes.
You can estimate the cost of installing a new deck by using our Decking Cost Calculator.
Decking Material Prices
The decking boards for a 400-square-foot deck cost from $3 to $10 per square foot. The overall cost is around $2,470.
The table below shows a break down of bamboo deck pricing.
|Cost Factor||Price Per Square Foot (Price for 400-Foot Decking)|
|Material||$3 to $10 ($1,200-$4,000)|
|Installation||$13 to $27 ($5,200-$10,800)|
|Style||$17+ (from $6,800)|
|Building Permit||Up to $500|
Decking Installation Cost
The labor for installing your bamboo deck is mainly priced at $13 to $27 per square foot, resulting in an average of around $8,000.
Most deck builders will charge by deck size, while others use an hourly rate. It can take anywhere from 15 to 100 hours to complete a deck, which could cost from $450 to $3,000 with a $30 hourly rate. Rates will vary in different parts of the country.
Bamboo Deck Cost by Style
For ground-level bamboo decks, you can expect to pay from $17 per square foot and upward. The average cost for a 400-square-foot surface would be around $6,800.
Here you save on the price thanks to lower preparation time and the absence of rails and stakes. For higher decks, on average, you’ll pay $38 per square foot, which equals around $15,200 for the same deck surface. The costs can be higher for decks on hilly or rocky terrain.
Deck Cost by Square Foot
On average, Americans pay from $17 to $38 per square foot, or $6,800 to $15,200 for 400 square feet of materials and labor.
Two main factors make the bamboo decking price go up or down: deck size and type of terrain. Other factors, such as design, sealing, features, and building permits, can also affect the final price.
Non-standard shapes naturally increase the price of the project. You can expect to pay up to 70% more for multilevel decks or other unique construction.
It’s best to ask contractors whether the staining and sealing treatment are included in the price. Otherwise, the cost can increase $520 to $1,250 for sealing and waterproofing and $520 to $950 for staining.
As far as features are concerned, adding an awning, roof, or stairs can all increase the price $800 to more than $10,000 over a standard bamboo deck build.
Pro Tip: Building permits can cost up to $500, and they’re necessary for building new decks in most states. The only exception is freestanding ground-level decks, as they don’t compromise the existing structure on the property.
Advantages of Bamboo Decking
There are many advantages of bamboo decking, from its beautiful appearance to ease of installation. Here are some of the most important benefits every homeowner will want to know about.
Bamboo decking’s main advantage is its long lifespan. Natural bamboo construction is similar to that of high-quality hardwood.
The guarantee for most bamboo decks is at least 25 years, and the construction itself can last much longer if installed and maintained with care.
Homeowners who are after a natural look for their garden or backyard will love bamboo decking. The bamboo wood emits tranquility, ambiance, and a sense of peace.
The appearance is timeless and welcoming. Its natural appeal is one of the main reasons to choose bamboo decking.
Bamboo is known for its durable and long-lasting stability compared to most other wood types. For example, pine, spruce, and similar softwood decking boards can expand more than 10% in moist surroundings, causing warping and buckling.
Hardwood is the only type of wood that can compare to bamboo in terms of stability. This characteristic allows the bamboo decking to remain fresh and beautiful for a longer time.
A Bamboo deck can be installed in clean patterns. And thanks to the end-match system, bamboo boards can be installed next to each other with no gaps, for added decking appeal.
Bamboo trees are some of the fastest-growing plants out there. They can grow up to 65 feet in height, and it only takes around five years before they can first be harvested.
Hardwood, on the other hand, takes up to 100 years to harvest, leading to higher deforestation risk.
Bamboo stores plenty of carbon dioxide, it’s virtually inexhaustible, and makes a great eco-friendly alternative to plastic and composite decking materials.
Most bamboo boards today are extremely stable and come with edge grooves for straightforward installation using fasteners. The smaller size of the boards (6 feet vs. 12 feet for hardwood) makes them easy to transfer compared to other wooden solutions.
Fastening Isn’t Visible
The natural stability of the construction means very little or no space is required between two decking boards. The boards can be attached using special fasteners so the construction isn’t visible.
Disadvantages of Bamboo Decking
Although fabulous, bamboo decking does come with a few limitations. Consider these carefully, as they can be the make-or-break point of your decision.
On the Pricy Side
It’s not news that quality comes at a price, and bamboo decking is no exception. Compared to some hardwood and most softwoods, bamboo certainly isn’t cheap.
Bamboo decking is also more expensive than synthetic and composite decking solutions.
If you’re trying to decide between bamboo and high-quality hardwood decking, the price range is almost the same. These two decking types are considered exceptional.
Another consideration is that bamboo decks have up to 15 years longer lifespan compared to some softwoods.
Only Available in One Color
At the present time, bamboo decking only comes in its natural color. The boards do change their tint from dark brown to gray after installation due to UV radiation.
This usually happens in the first few months after setup. The best way to treat bamboo decking and preserve its color is to apply a protective oil to the surface every three to six months.
You can find this exterior wood oil for sale in most hardware stores or online, and some come with a natural tint to slightly change your bamboo deck color.
Wooden and bamboo decks require more maintenance than synthetic ones. Owners are advised to clean and oil their decks once or twice per year so the structure preserves its original look and doesn’t suffer from as much wear and tear, UV, and debris damage.
Most bamboo decking boards are about six feet long. Hardwood decking boards are usually around 16 feet long. Compared to hardwood, the dimensions and weight of bamboo aren’t a downside.
If we were to compare bamboo decking with plastic or wood, it’s safe to say these boards are easier to handle.
Did you know? Bamboo decking is extremely resistant to decay and insects. It can absorb more than four times the carbon dioxide as compared to hardwood.
Bamboo Decking Features
-High density and pressure resistance
-Easy to install
-Durable and strong
-Safe for outdoor use
Types of Bamboo Decking
There are two main types of bamboo decking primarily used outdoors.
Solid Bamboo Decking
A Solid bamboo deck is the most popular option for outdoor decks. Its boards are constructed from long lengths of the tree and are glued together under pressure during the lamination process.
In general, solid bamboo is more stable and won’t break apart or split.
Strand-woven bamboo is made from small chips of bamboo, similar to the process used for particle board, and isn’t meant to withstand cold, moisture, or extreme heat.
If you’re looking for a robust deck bamboo, the strand-woven one may not be your best option.
Recently, the market has started seeing composite bamboo decking options. This is a variation on the traditional composite decking, in which bamboo is used to replace domestic hardwood mixed with polyethylene plastic.
Did you know? Bamboo is the fastest-growing plant on Earth and can grow up to 35 inches daily. That is 1.5 inches every hour!
What Is Composite Bamboo Decking?
If you’re up for a twist on traditional decking methods and bamboo, composite bamboo decking may be worth your attention.
The latest incarnation of bamboo with a mixture of plastic is now a reality and is made by Cali Bamboo Decking.
Their Bam Deck Pro 360 is a four-sided, capped bamboo decking solution made from 60% recycled bamboo and 40% recycled high-density polyethylene (HDPE). As a result, the board is stiffer and denser compared to wood composite solutions.
Other models, such as Bam Deck 3G or Pro 360, come with hollow cores in extrusions for reduced weight and added temperature regulation.
Other manufacturers, like Inno Deck, create non-capped composite bamboo solutions with the combination of bamboo fiber and recycled HDPE.
This mixture allows for achieving a solid color with a realistic grain throughout the construction. The opposite side comes with a tightly grooved surface, so users can choose which side to show.
The extrusion composite style is a bit lighter than the solid one and allows lighting wires to be installed if needed.
Bamboo Decking vs. Pressure-Treated Wood
Pressure-treated wood is similar to bamboo decking in terms of pricing and some features. The average cost for a square foot of pressure-treated decking wood is $13 to $19.
This wood type repels insects and is rot-resistant, since the chemicals used in creating the pressure-treated material also serve as an insecticide.
Pressure-treated wood is known to support more weight than other wood types, so you can certainly rely on its strength.
Much like the bamboo solutions, PT decking comes with a long-term warranty covering termite infestation and fungal decay.
Pressure-treated wood is more harmful to the environment due to its chemical structure. The construction is prone to changing its color to gray when exposed to the sun for a prolonged period, so it requires more maintenance.
PT wood decks should be taken care of by applying water-based sealant yearly, staining every two years, and pressure washing two times per year.
It costs around $220 and takes about 20 hours to maintain a pressure-treated deck each year.
Bamboo Decking vs. Redwood Decking
Redwood decking options were a go-to solution for Americans in the 1970s and ’80s due to their decay-resistant features and beautiful reddish tones.
Redwood also contains natural oils that repel termites. Much like any other wood type, including bamboo, redwood starts to change its color with time and turns to medium brown.
This decking solution also requires yearly maintenance to keep it in top-notch shape.
The main downside of using redwood today is its price and environmental concerns. The material comes from sequoia trees, which are considered a protected species.
This has made the price skyrocket. Also, redwood has a shorter lifespan, on average, compared to bamboo decking.
Given the ease of installation, long service, eco-friendly benefits, and stability of bamboo decking, the redwood certainly isn’t a more viable option.
Bamboo Decking vs. PVC Decking
PVC decking is another popular option for homeowners across the country due to its durability, UV protection, and a multitude of design solutions.
Did you know? PVC deck boards are often regarded as composite, but have no organic materials inside. They are either recycled plastic, plastic, or a combination of both.
PVC decking comes in capped or uncapped boards, with the latter being more affordable. The overall design comes with an aggressive wood grain pattern that may seem synthetic in appearance.
Various textures, patterns, and multi-tonal streaks are available, making PVC decking more customizable than bamboo.
PVC is also quite durable, and outlasts wood in most environments. It requires less maintenance, and keeps its original color for longer.
The average lifespan can be longer than that of bamboo decking, but it greatly depends on the material used and the installation type. Some manufacturers will even give a lifetime structural warranty on PVC decking.
Overall, bamboo decking provides a more natural feel, but PVC is more durable and has slightly better heat resistance.
How to Maintain Bamboo Decking
Much like any other natural material, bamboo decking needs regular maintenance to prolong its lifespan, keep its beautiful appeal, and prevent it from changing color too fast.
Bamboo is prone to fading with time, so it’s necessary to take steps to preserve its original appearance.
Spring is an excellent time for bamboo maintenance checks, but you can do so whenever the climate in your area is favorable.
Below are four quick tips for maintaining a bamboo deck so it lasts a lifetime.
1. Make sure the installation runs smoothly
Installation is where it all begins for your bamboo decking. Check with the service provider whether the surface of the decking can be strengthened with additional protective layers for sun and water resistance starting from day 1.
2. Keep debris away
An important part of keeping your bamboo decking healthy and beautiful is not letting too much debris, dirt, and leaves build up on it.
Dirt can affect natural materials like bamboo, especially if it remains damp for too long. Leaves and dirt particles can cause the decking to become slippery.
A simple sweep every once in a while should prevent these problems.
3. Stay away from pressure washers
Pressure washers are the last tool you want to use on your bamboo decking. The jet can be too hard on the surface and force the fibers to loosen from the board.
This will damage the structure of the decking and make it prone to damage. It’s best to rinse the surface with your garden hose instead.
If algae adhere to the construction during humid months, you can use special decking cleaners and a silicon carbide broom.
4. Use decking oil
It’s highly recommended to treat your decking with some water-based oil after cleaning it from debris and dirt. Oiling will return the initial brown color, protect the material, and make it less dirty.
Bamboo-specific decking oil may be a bit more pricy than regular wood oil, but it will deliver fantastic results. You’ll get added levels of transparency, pretty good UV protection, and very little color change.
Pro Tip: Make sure your bamboo decking is thoroughly dry before applying any oil. Depending on the climate, it can take up to two or three days for the boards to dry completely after rinsing.
Use soap and water to clean your deck when necessary. The space between the boards should be cleaned from debris and leaves.
You can also apply bamboo decking oil every year. No need for an expensive pressure washer—your garden hose will work just fine.
How Long Does a Bamboo Deck Last?
One can compare the lifespan of bamboo decking to high-quality hardwood. When treated with care, bamboo decks can last more than 25 years.
Is Bamboo a Good Decking Material?
Absolutely! Bamboo is a great decking material. It has a long service life, it’s durable, dense, and has a beautiful natural appeal.
Is Bamboo Decking Durable?
Bamboo has incredible durability. With proper maintenance, bamboo decking can last for decades, showing very little signs of wear and tear regardless of the climate.
Is A Bamboo Deck Worth It?
Bamboo decking is an excellent outdoor solution that keeps growing in popularity. This incredible building material comes with plenty of benefits.
Modern-day installers can come up with customized solutions for your specific property and recommend the best type of installation.
The initial slightly higher cost compared to other wood solutions will certainly pay off in terms of maintenance, durability, longevity, and visual appeal.
Remember to properly maintain your new investment for an even greater return in the long run!