Another environmentally sound choice for flooring is bamboo. Bamboo is manufactured from processed strips of cane and compressed to be as hard and durable as a regular hardwood floor. Some bamboo is supplied in North America if the environmental impact of transportation is a concern.
- Bamboo floors that are less expensive may not have the highest quality UV protective finish as other floors.
- Radiant flooring can be used under bamboo flooring.
- Bamboo is technically a grass and not a hardwood tree. Don’t let this discourage you from purchasing because the manufacturing techniques make bamboo a strong, hard, durable and dimensionally stable surface.
- To give you an idea of the strength of bamboo, it has been rated to be almost as hard as red oak to slightly harder than red oak. The darker bamboo floors are reported to be softer than the lighter shades because of the heating process that darkens the color.
- The dimensional change with moisture content is also significantly less than that for most common hardwoods.
- Nearly all bamboo flooring sold in North America is produced in the southern Chinese province of Hunan, in an area known as “the bamboo sea” for its extensive bamboo forests.
- If possible to obtain the information, find out if the manufacturer of the bamboo flooring you are interested in allows the bamboo to reach full maturity. According to buildinggreen.com the shoots reach full size in one to two years, but it takes a third year for them to mature to the point where they are no longer feeding the plant. If the shoots are cut before that time, the plant suffers, while after the third year the shoot becomes “dead weight,” and the plant benefits from its removal.
- Contrary to the concerns of some, the harvesting in these forests is not a threat to Pandas, as they live at much higher elevations and eat a different species of bamboo.
Good for the environment:
- Bamboo matures in three years
- It regenerates without need for replanting
- It also requires minimal fertilization or pesticides
- There currently is no FSC certified bamboo so it is important to see what you can confirm about the bamboo you are interested in purchasing.