Sustainable Surfaces: Bamboo

Bamboo has been used as an alternative flooring product, due to its physical similarities to hardwood, for over 5,000 years. The ancient Chinese had many uses for bamboo, from construction materials to medicine. Today’s bamboo flooring is considered an eco-friendly option for surfaces in commercial and residential spaces, due to its sustainability. However, there are some downsides to bamboo flooring that may deter some owners from choosing this material for their home or office.

 

 

PROS

  • Fast Growing: Bamboo plants reach full maturity within 7 years, compared to between 30 and 50 years for trees, and can be harvested without removing the root. This allows for more product to be obtained at a faster rate.
  • Aesthetic Appeal: Since bamboo looks similar to hardwood, many consumers enjoy the aesthetic without unnecessary deforestation.
  • Earth Benefits: Because bamboo is a grass rather than a tree, it is easy to care for and does not require excessive use of fertilizers, pesticides, or even water. Groves of bamboo release 35% more oxygen into the air than similar size stands of trees. The plants also help improve soil conditions and prevent erosion.

CONS

  • Durability Issues: While bamboo can be quite durable if manufactured correctly, it is highly susceptible to scratches and dings. Bamboo flooring should be installed in areas that are not highly trafficked, as this increases the risk of scratches.
  • Limited Shades: Darker options are available, but require carbonization, which significantly affects the final hardness of the product.
  • Damage Concerns: Floors made with bamboo should be treated similarly to hardwood floors. Wet mops should be avoided, due to excess moisture possibly causing warping and mold. Bamboo flooring should not be installed in wet areas, like the kitchens and bathrooms of residential and commercial spaces.

 

As awareness for eco-friendly alternatives to highly consumed products grows around the world, making simple changes to your home or office design, such as flooring, can make a huge impact on the sustainability of your structure. For more sustainable surface ideas, check out the next newsletter in October when we talk about cork floors!

 

This article was featured in the September 2019 Newsletter.