Recently, people have been noticing the advantages of making things out of bamboo. If a person has ever seen a stand of bamboo, they know that bamboo is the world’s fastest-growing plant. This rapid growth pattern is the first big advantage of using bamboo. It grows so fast it’s a totally sustainable product.
Unlike trees that go so slowly that it takes around 20 years before hardwood can be harvested, bamboo can be harvested in three to 5 years.
Scientists have measured the growth rate of bamboo. It seems too hard to believe, but Chinese bamboo can grow 1 and a half inches in an hour when conditions are right. Timber bamboo can grow two or three feet in a day.
Plus, humans don’t have to worry about replacing bamboo that is harvested. It grows out of rhizomes under the earth. When the stalk is cut down, more stalks grow up out of the ground a few feet away.
The most popular bamboo building products these days are flooring products. Bamboo makes a beautiful floor for any room in the house. Most people think of bamboo flooring as just another type of hardwood.
Bamboo is a truly eco-friendly product. Not only is it easily sustainable, but it also can be recycled. It is totally biodegradable, just like any other plant.
Bamboo is naturally fire-resistant and can stand temperatures up to an astonishing 7000 degrees Fahrenheit.
Similarities and Differences
Although bamboo floors look like wood, it is not wood. It’s actually grass. It commonly grows in tropical areas with lots of rain like the Caribbean, but it can also be found all along the United States eastern seaboard and as far west as Texas. It has a different cellular structure than hardwoods since it is not wood.
Similar to hardwoods, bamboo that has not been sealed will be damaged by water. Bamboo is actually harder than most oak flooring. Another difference is that all the different hardwoods have a very different look when made into flooring. On the other hand, bamboo flooring mostly looks the same. Bamboo is usually available in vertically grained pieces and typically has a honey-colored tint to it.
Other Building Products
Bamboo can be used in place of many plastic building products. In many instances, it is cheaper than a plastic product, and it is just as durable.
Bamboo can be laminated into planks or into sheets by cutting the long fibers into thin strips. Then the strips are pressed out flat and dried. The long strips are glued together and pressed into planks or sheets.
Bamboo can be used to make cabinets and other furniture. It is also very popular for wall coverings.
The only drawbacks of bamboo are that it has to be kept perfectly dry to keep it from rotting. Also, it needs to be treated before use because it can suffer from insect damage. Many people think bamboo is stronger than steel, but scientific studies show that it is less strong than steel.