BAMBOO THE NATURAL CHOICE FOR 'GREEN' BUILDERS

Published : 9 September 2015

If you thought bamboo was simply an exotic fast-growing plant, ideal for creating privacy from the neighbours, you'd be wrong! Well, you'd be right about that as one of its uses - but it many other reasons to be loved these days.

Bamboo has been used for eons for many applications, from a food source to a building material. But with the age of modern materials, many people don’t understand the scope of uses for bamboo. The shoots can be picked early for eating, and the wood of older canes can be treated and used as anything from decoration to instruments. Thankfully, many manufacturers have seen all the products that can be made from this highly renewable resource and have begun to utilize bamboo in some fascinating ways.

A fabulous trend right now is bamboo fibres being used in fabrics and clothing. Bedding made of bamboo fibres is as soft as or softer than most cotton beddings, and drapes with the look of silk without the expense.

But one of the fastest growing trends is bamboo flooring, which is becoming an increasingly popular option in new homes and renovations.

Bamboo has many advantages

There are many advantages to bamboo including its environmental friendliness, durability, suitability, cost, variety of styles, warmth, and ease of maintenance. For many, these advantages make the choice to use bamboo an easy one.

Bamboo is an excellent choice for those who are interested in building a 'green' home or place of business. It is one of the most environmentally friendly options for flooring on the market. It is made from a type of grass, so it grows quickly in comparison to wood. It continues to grow without needing to be replanted, so it is highly renewable. For those who are worried about moisture and insects, the bamboo used for flooring is treated against them, and does not use harsh chemicals or pesticides in the process.

Bamboo flooring is made from the Moso species of bamboo, meaning it is completely different from what pandas and other animals eat. This protects food sources for wildlife.

The Janka Hardness Scale, used to determine the hardness and strength of particular species of wood, rates solid bamboo flooring as a 1762 and engineered bamboo flooring as 1690, making both choices harder than many other commonly used woods.

 

Hard as nails!

The Janka Hardness Scale rating is determined by how much force it takes to drive a .444-inch steel ball into a plank of wood .222 inches in diameter. The higher the rating on the scale, the harder and thus more durable the flooring is expected to be.

Bamboo flooring is a highly durable flooring choice for any location subjected to extensive usage and can stand up very well to the abrasion caused by children and pets. It is tough enough to resist the impact of falling objects in the kitchen, as well as in high traffic areas such as the living rooms and hallways.

Bamboo has a greater compressive strength than concrete and about the same strength-to-weight ratio as steel when subject to tension, yet it kinder to the body. When compared to standing on hardwood or concrete, the legs, feet, and knees do not experience as much strain and stress while standing on bamboo.

Compared to hardwood and other flooring options, bamboo has a high climatic suitability because it grows in the tropics. This makes it a suitable option for the kitchen and laundry rooms, areas where hardwood does not work so well. Bamboo also does well in both arid and humid climates because it does not swell and contract like hardwood.

When considering the durability of the flooring combined with the looks, and eco-friendly factor, bamboo flooring is one of the most cost effective options for a home because it is less likely to need repair in the long run.

The natural grain of bamboo provides a unique look, and there are three main options for colour: natural bamboo, which is light blonde; carbonised bamboo, which is darker in colour because the sugars in the plant caramelise due to longer boiling times, and stained bamboo, where it is coloured with a variety of stains available in light, medium, and dark shades.

Maintenance-wise, no special cleaning agents are needed - and should actually be avoided. Simply sweeping the floor is usually enough to clean it though sometimes, a damp mop can be used.