Bamboo Flooring: Stronger, Easier to Maintain, Lower Environmental Impact
Bamboo flooring is strong, stylish and one of the most sustainable floor surfaces available – no wonder it’s increasing in popularity. But is right for you?
Here’s a comprehensive coverage of what you need to know about bamboo flooring.
Though bamboo is still relatively new in construction markets of the Western Hemisphere, is one of the oldest building materials known to man. Bamboo is widely used around East Asia and the South Pacific to build everything from fences, houses, and furniture, to scaffolding – it has even been known to hold up suspension bridges.
Bamboo: The Ideal Green Material
While bamboo may look like wood, it is actually a tree-like grass that grows extremely fast, making it among the fastest-growing plants in the world. In fact, The Bamboo Site says the plant grows so fast that it matures to reach market in about four years. With the exception of quick-yield trees, hardwood species take about 60 or 70 years to reach harvesting age.
Its quick growth is only one of the reasons bamboo became one of the darlings of green building community. According to the Environmental Bamboo Foundation, a hectare of bamboo removes more carbon dioxide from the atmosphere and produces 35% more oxygen in a year than a forest of hardwood trees of the same size. The plant also requires no pesticides or herbicides, and apart from natural rainfall, bamboo only needs a little amount of irrigation to help it grow.
If you’re buying bamboo floors because of environmental reasons, there are several things you need to take into consideration:
Where was the bamboo planted?
While bamboo is a natural material that is made from a highly renewable resource, there are also some concerns that forests are being cut down and replaced with bamboo fields for commercial purposes. Haku Wood gets its bamboo from bamboo forests carefully managed by local farmers and from bamboos planted on reclaimed barren fields.
How was the bamboo processed?
Some bamboo flooring manufacturers have been criticised for the amount of carbon emission they produce. Indeed, long transport distances can mean increased carbon emission, and if the factory uses coal to fuel the heat press in the process, that translates to even more emission. This is why Haku Wood’s designing, manufacturing, and finishing processes are all completed near where the bamboo is grown. The company does not use coal as fuel. Instead, it uses wastes from the mill.
Flooring Built to Last
On the Janka hardness scale–which measures the hardness of different types of wood–natural and carbonised bamboo come in at the middle of the scale, with ratings of 1380 and 1180, respectively. In other words, they’re similar in strength to oak and ash. Strand-woven bamboo floors–like the ones produced by Haku Wood–sits towards the top of the scale with a rating of 3000.
Strand-woven floors are made from shredded bamboo fibres that are fused together with an adhesive and compressed using heat and pressure. These blocks are then cut down into hard solid planks and sanded so that a colour treatment and/or finish can be applied. Strand-woven bamboo floors feature an organic, flowing grain pattern similar to that of wood. So similar in fact, that most people mistake them for traditional timber flooring.
Due to its construction, bamboo flooring is more stable than traditional timber floors, which means it won’t shrink, swell and warp as much as hardwood when exposed to heat, moisture or humidity. It’s also resistant to staining.
Bamboo is relatively easy to maintain. You just have to sweep or vacuum it regularly to remove small particle debris. You can also occasional damp mop it, or clean it with a non wax, non-alkaline, hardwood or bamboo floor cleanser.
That said, it is nearly impossible to keep it perfect if it is used regularly. There are a wide variety of things that can cause nasty scratches in the surface of a bamboo floor. High heels, pet claws, and furniture legs can all damage the surface. Small grit and tiny particles of sand or dirt will also cause scratches in the bamboo over time. This is why Haku Wood uses 10 coats of UV inhibitor paint. Not only will it protect the flooring from physical damage like scratches, it will also ensure the colors last longer even under the sun.
Versatile and Stylish Flooring
Bamboo flooring has the appearance and feel that is similar to hardwood and yet, is still distinct and different. It is available in a variety of styles and colors. Bamboo flooring is hypo-allergenic, boasts non-slip and anti-static properties, and is resistant to insects. From boardrooms to bedrooms, from dining rooms to cafés , the application is limited only to your imagination.