Bamboo flooring is making its way into our homes, thanks to a series of properties that make it unique among wooden floors: hardness, stability, sustainable growth of bamboo plantations. This material is relatively new but is widely used in other Far Eastern countries, such as China and Japan.
One of the most significant advantages of bamboo, also known as steel grass, is its fantastic ability to regenerate rapidly, and its extreme strand is woven bamboo’s extreme toughness. It is also environmentally friendly since it is grass and not hardwood. The bamboo plant can regenerate in only five years. Compared to hardwood trees that can take more than 30 years to grow before being harvested, bamboo is simply one of the best floor coverings. It’s a logical choice for homeowners who want the warmth and beauty of hardwood but do not want to contribute to the destruction of the world’s tropical rainforests.
In addition to being environmentally friendly, bamboo flooring has several other advantages over other flooring materials. Let’s check them out!
Elegant and Multifunctional
When choosing a floor, one of the most important things to consider is how it will fit into your décor. Bamboo floors are available in a wide range of colors and styles, including hand-scraped and crafted by engineers, all with the gorgeous marbling effect typical of woven bamboo floors.
Aesthetically, bamboo is a very versatile material as it comes in a multitude of shades and grains. This advantage is twofold: Whatever the furnishings and decor of your room, you are bound to find a shade of bamboo that will complement it beautifully. Secondly, since there is an extensive selection of bamboo planks, you can install them throughout your home and achieve different looks.
Besides the purely functional advantages (hardness, temperature, aesthetics), bamboo flooring is an environmentally friendly alternative: a traditional wood forest takes 30 to 60 years to grow back. Oak is one of the most widely used woods in flooring and brings 70 years to regenerate. Bamboo regenerates much faster in human-made plantations or virgin forests and only needs 5-6 years to fully mature; compared to 70 years for oak – the most commonly used wood in soils – or 100 years for ipé wood (a tropical species).
Before the green movement really took off, it was often challenging to find environmentally friendly building materials. But all that has changed, and bamboo is now widely available in big-box stores and on the Internet.
Bamboo also helps to self-regulate temperature, maintaining warmth in winter and freshness in summer. Its hardness is similar to that of oak, the most widely used wood in flooring, thanks to the high density of the structure, which makes it rigid and stable.
Types of Bamboo Floors
There are different types of bamboo floors, differing in the structure of the slats. The vertical and horizontal types result from gluing the bamboo slats together (either vertically or horizontally). This gives a different finish but a hardness similar to that of oak in both cases. As for the finishes, far from being limited to oriental or colonial-inspired settings, bamboo floors are available in multiple styles, suitable for all types of rooms.
The boards resulting from processing the sanded and brushed bamboo strips can be left with their natural light color or undergo different heat treatments that give them a toasted or even chocolate brown color. This, combined with the slats’ placement vertically or horizontally, or pressed, results in surfaces with more or fewer knots and veins depending on the effect sought.
The variety of bamboo used to make parquet floors is the so-called giant bamboo or « Moso » bamboo, which grows in tropical regions. The world’s largest reserve is in China, and up to a third of the plantations are cut down each year, equivalent to natural reforestation. The mother plant of bamboo generates new shoots every year that, in a few months, reach maturity and a length of up to 20 meters. In this way, replanting is unnecessary, as is the case with traditional woods that require the felling of trees. If we add that bamboo absorbs, on average, 30% more CO2 than trees, this product’s environmental advantages are clear.
Preserving a bamboo floor in good conditions does not require special care; it is enough to maintain a humidity level of between 50 and 65% in the environment, which is also ideal for people’s well-being, which is equivalent to a temperature of about 20ºC. As for the cleaning, it is recommended to dry, with a vacuum cleaner and a mop, although in case of stains, scrubbing with a little water and a neutral soap is ideal. As with other wooden floors, abrasive products are not recommended.