Bamboo Flooring - Ecologically Sustainable Building Material
Sustainability is a concept that has suddenly started finding favor with a lot of builders as they have started the use of sustainable materials, especially those which have no or very minimal impact on the environment. Even though such materials were used in very early times, they had suddenly gone out of use for the past century as more and more artificial and man made construction materials started flooding the industry. Hardwood is often a very important component as far as flooring is concerned, bamboo floors not only give the much needed environmental boost, but also are quite stylish and look elegant.
Bamboo is a member of the grass family that - matures in three years, regenerates without need for replanting, and requires minimal fertilization or pesticides. The bamboo is harvested, sliced into strips, boiled in water with a preservative, and pressed flat. It is then laminated vertically or in three horizontal layers, and kiln-dried. Floors manufactured using the horizontal orientation may be prone to cupping, but this problem is eliminated when the center layer is oriented perpendicular to the top and bottom layers. Some manufacturers also offer an engineered floor that utilizes a thin bamboo layer laminated over a non-bamboo material. One manufacturer now offers tongue-and-groove flooring made from bamboo-oriented strand board (OSB). This product is made using the post-industrial waste bamboo from floor manufacturing. Bamboo flooring products are manufactured in varying dimensional tongue-and-groove strip sizes and lengths. These products are available either pre-finished or unfinished, and they are usually offered as either natural or amber colored. Costs range from $4 to $8 per square foot for higher quality products.
Bamboo flooring can be used in most residential and commercial applications where carpet, wood, tile, or resilient flooring is used. Some applications may be inappropriate - a high moisture area, for example, so consumers should confirm with the supplier to make sure the application is appropriate.
Depending upon the product, installation may be glue-down or nail-down. In engineered products, bamboo may be floated, and it can be used with concrete or wood subfloors. Manufacturers report that bamboo floors are maintained in the same manner as wood floors and can be refinished.
Durable materials require less frequent replacement, generate less waste, and may also realize lower long-term costs. According to manufacturers, bamboo flooring should last a lifetime (30 to 50 years). The one-time costs of installing bamboo flooring should be less than the costs for multiple installations of less durable flooring options. Therefore, over the long-term, the consumer should save money. Replacing the flooring generates waste, so reducing the rate of replacement also reduces waste generation.