Bamboo – the new eco-flooring
A beautiful wooden floor is an object of desire for most stylish homeowners. But if you’re conscious of your impact on the planet and want a floor that’s environmentally responsible, hardwood floors are not the answer. Hardwood is a difficult product to justify if sustainability is high on your list of priorities. Slow growing and often quite rare, hardwoods are a fundamental part of some of the world’s most endangered eco-systems.
But there is an option that is fully sustainable, even more so than softwoods like pine. Wooden flooring experts are now starting to look to the Far East and one of the world’s most important products – bamboo.
Bamboo isn’t a tree at all – it’s actually classified as a grass. It’s also the fastest growing plant on the planet and some types of bamboo grow an astonishing four feet a day. Where it can take a tree up to 30 years to mature enough to be used for flooring, the same amount of bamboo can be grown in just three to five years. Another difference between bamboo and wood is that once a tree has been cut down, it cannot regenerate or grow another tree from the stump. A new tree has to be planted to replace it. Bamboo regenerates itself using its root system, so no matter how often you cut bamboo down, new plants grow up without the need for replanting. This makes bamboo one of the most sustainable crops in the world.
But is it any good for flooring?
Think of bamboo and you automatically think of poles you might use in your garden for your sweet peas to climb up – not exactly flooring material! However, bamboo has been used for thousands of years in the Far East as a building material, and it is still used as a highly effective alternative to metal scaffolding in the construction industry today. It is as durable as any hardwood and is immensely strong. Its tensile strength actually rivals that of steel.
So it’s certainly strong enough to make a good flooring material. But where it really comes into its own is as a ‘floated’ floor. Overlaying a bamboo floor on top of an existing floor is a quick and easy way to completely transform the look of your floor. Bamboo also provides excellent soundproofing and cushioning, so it is a good choice for bedroom flooring, preventing any noise from being transferred throughout the rest of the house.
Bamboo comes in a wide range of colour options, but if you’re looking for a scratch-resistant floor that will be able to withstand high traffic then choose the lighter shades. The colours are achieved through heating and pressure, which changes the hardness of the bamboo. Lighter coloured options have been subjected to less heat and pressure, and are therefore more resilient.
The next ‘big thing’…
Bamboo is booming in popularity, as people look for more sustainable materials to use in everyday life. This member of the grass family is remarkably useful, and is now being used in everything from interior design and clothing to toilet paper! Because of its minimal impact on the environment and the ease with which it can be grown and harvested, bamboo is set to become the next ‘big thing’ in environmentally friendly products. A bamboo floor is an exceptionally green option for those who want to minimise their impact on the planet, but who still want the beauty and functionality of a wooden floor. For more information on bamboo floors, talk to your floor sanding specialists.