In recent year bamboo flooring has become a popular option among many home builders. It holds a beautiful finish, and adds a unique element to any room. Many people who are attempting to reduce their carbon footprint have also taken a shine to bamboo flooring as it is easily biodegradable. However bamboo flooring may not be the right choice for many homes. The following will detain some of the pros and cons of choosing bamboo flooring for your home.
One upside of using bamboo flooring is the renew-ability of bamboo as a resource. It is comparable to many hard woods, such as maple, but grows in a fraction of a time. It could take over 100 years for a hard wood tree to mature to the point where it can be used as flooring. Over time this can take a huge toll on forests around the wood. Bamboo, being a grass, readily regrows and matures in roughly 4 years.
The down side of this is that most bamboo is produced in china, where questionable business practices are often in place. Only two bamboo dealership companies have complied with ethical worker treatment agreements. Because of the recent rise in demand for bamboo flooring many natural areas are being stripped in order to grow enough bamboo to meet the current demand.
One of the biggest attractions of bamboo flooring in this eco-conscious age is the biodegradability. Between its rapid growth, and the fact that it break down easily after being replaced, it is often seen as a better alternative to destroying trees that take hundred years to grow. Unfortunately most bamboo is imported from Asia, and the carbon emissions of the freight liners and other transports can offset the eco-friendliness of bamboo.
While bamboo flooring can add a touch of class to any home, it is a softer wood, and heavy furniture may scuff or damage it. Even something as simple as a high heeled shoe can leave scrapes, and mars on softer bamboo flooring. While the actual softness of the flooring will be determined by the way in which the wood has been processed it will never have the same durability as a hard wood, such as oak, and bamboo can be harder to take care of than a traditional hard wood floor. A good way to test the durability of a specific type of bamboo floor is to press a penny, or fingernail into the wood, and see how easily it dents or scratches.
There are two major kinds of bamboo flooring on the market. Engineered bamboo, and stranded bamboo. Engineered bamboo is is not one hundred percent bamboo, but it much more durable that true bamboo. It also offers better moisture resistance that true bamboo, which will prevent it from warping and buckling even in very damp climates.
Stranded bamboo is made with fibers of bamboo which have been shredded. The shredded fibers are then mixed with an adhesive, and pressure is applied to make the bamboo flooring sheets. This type of bamboo flooring is the most durable, however, because of the high density of the wood it is very difficult to instal correctly.
One notable problem with many bamboo floors, is the tendency of the color to bleach out when it is exposed to long periods of sustained sunlight. This can damage the effect the flooring gives the room, and can be a major headache for homeowners.
A large majority of imported bamboo has been heavily treated with formaldehyde as an adhesive, which may turn some people off when they go shopping for wood floor. Like many other toxic adhesives this can cause illness in a very small amount of the population.