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Why Choose Bamboo Flooring?

June 21st, 2011

What do you know about bamboo flooring? In fact, what do you know about bamboo? Were you aware that is actually a grass as opposed to a tree? If you ponder this plant as a type of grass, then it becomes easier to understand why bamboo is such a very eco-friendly flooring choice.

In fact bamboo flooring is probably the most sustainable type of hardwood flooring we are able to acquire for our homes and offices. This is because like common grass, it grows extremely fast – around a third faster than the fastest growing tree, taking only four years to grow before it is possible to harvest usable wood. Normal hardwood trees take decades to grow before the wood can be harvested and harvesting kills the tree. However like our lawns, the bamboo grass continues to grow rather than dying when rigorously cut, meaning it can constantly be re-harvested.

It also provides an extremely efficient carbon sink for our planet and even purifies the soil it grows from. Just one note for modern and environmentally conscious buyers – most bamboo is imported from Asia which creates a massive carbon footprint. So, if the purchase of an environmentally sustainable product is highest on your home decorating agenda, see if you can find a company that uses bamboo from a home grown source.

Harder than most ‘hardwoods,’ the tensile strength of bamboo beats that of steel. It tends towards bending rather than cracking, making it more durable than typical hardwood flooring. This makes bamboo a great flooring choice for those high traffic areas – up the stairs of in the entrance lobby for example.

However, as a grass, the bamboo ‘trunk’ rarely exceeds the diameter of a clenched fist. So planks are not simply sliced off this trunk. Instead, small strips are compressed under immense pressure to produce floor boards. Due to this manufacturing process all such flooring goes through, it is important for the environmentally conscious buyer to discern the chemicals used throughout this procedure. Some are toxic and/or harmful to the environment, negating many of the more sustainable elements of the use of bamboo flooring.

Bamboo has a versatile appearance. Untreated, it is a warm and attractive wood and the unfinished flooring is a natural honey blonde! However, if you prefer, the wood can be stained to accomplish a wide variety of appearances. It is worth remembering that the small matter of the cut of the wood can make a big difference to the overall effect. Decide first if you want the homely, rugged and grainy look or if you would prefer to create a clean and elegant impression. The grain of the bamboo is enhanced by a horizontal cut so make sure your wood is vertical cut if you’re aiming for a more sophisticated style.

Finally, whilst it is always easier to let the professionals do the hard work for you, if you are taking this flooring material to its ‘greenest’ lengths then bamboo flooring comes in a great DIY option. This known as ‘click lock’ construction. This can be easily assembled by the least experienced of DIYers as it works much like a jigsaw puzzle. Best of all, it is what is referred to as a floating floor and floating floors do not even require gluing or nailing to the old floor surface below, instead simply ‘floating’ on top!

As a flooring alternative to the less sustainable hardwoods or less durable carpets, the use of bamboo wood really is an eco-friendly option for the thinking home improver.

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