Choosing countertop materials can be daunting since so many different options exist. One such option is a bamboo countertop, which is a great choice for some applications but perhaps not the best choice for others. Bamboo is an environmentally friendly choice, since it is a renewable resource, and reasonably attractive. It is not, however, resistant to heat, which means it can be damaged from hot pots and pans in the kitchen. A bamboo countertop can also be fairly expensive, though it is usually on par with hardwoods in terms of price. A builder on a budget might want to consider a laminate countertop instead.
While a bamboo countertop is generally an economically friendly choice, this material may still be treated with chemicals during processing. It is best to look for bamboo countertop materials that have not been treated with chemicals, but have instead been left close to their natural states. Some oils are safe to use, and are in fact great to use to prolong the life of the bamboo. Mineral oil or tung oil, for example, will help prolong the life of the material without risking toxicity or danger to foods being placed on the countertop. Bamboo is naturally antibacterial, which makes it a great choice for use in the kitchen.
Cutting directly on the bamboo is also likely to damage the bamboo countertop. This material can score fairly easily, and while the scratches can often be sanded or buffed out, the strength of the bamboo may be compromised over time. If frequent cutting will be done directly on the countertop, bamboo may not be the best option. Instead, a maple countertop may be appropriate, as certain types of oak tend to be exceptionally hard and resistant to scratching and other damage due to cutting.
Remember, however, that bamboo may not be exceptionally durable when it comes to resisting heat damage, and the color or tone of the bamboo countertop may not give the kitchen the most modern look possible. Placing hot pots and pans on the countertop will scorch the material, adversely affecting its appearance, and the damage may be permanent. Bamboo in general tends to be fairly light in tone, though it can be pressure-heated to darken the material somewhat. This means hardwoods such as oak will give the countertop a more modern, deeper look, so if the homeowner is looking for a more dramatic tone, bamboo may not be the best choice.