With the increased popularity in "going green" consumers are looking for better options in flooring as well as other building materials. It occurred to me that many of us are unfamiliar with some of the flooring options available. My next several posts will try to explain some of the options out there and the pros and cons associated with them.
I would like to start with Bamboo flooring.
Technically bamboo is in the grass family but is often called a wood because of how hard and durable it is. Bamboo is the fastest growing plant on Earth. Some species have actually been measured to grow over 4 feet in 24 hours. A pole of bamboo can regenerate to its full mass in just six months! Bamboo can be continuously re-harvested every 3 years, without causing damage to the plant system and surrounding environment. During the time it takes to regenerate, the bamboo plant's root system stays intact so erosion is prevented. Continuous harvesting every 3-7 years, actually improves the overall health of the plant.
Most of the bamboo used today comes from China,although India is the largest grower of bamboo in the world.
To make the flooring, the hallow shoots are sliced into thin strips and boiled to remove the starch. They are then dried and boiled in a solution to remove the natural sugars in the plant. It is then dried and laminated into boards that are milled into floorboards with tongue and groove on all sides for easy installation.
Bamboo flooring is extremely durable, almost as hard as oak and because of it's density, refinishing is not required as often a your traditional wood floor. Bamboo is a preferred "green" choice over hardwood flooring, because it takes from three to six years to reach maturity compared with more than 50 years for oak or maple. Pricing is comparable to other wood flooring products, so the only drawback I can see really is that the design is very specific. It shows the "knot" or the "knuckle" that is so specific to bamboo (note in the picture below) If this doesn't bother you, then this may be an appropriate flooring choice for your home.