Monday, October 10, 2011

Bamboo Flooring - Durability and Beauty Underfoot

Bamboo flooring might bring to mind a 'shoots and stalks' image of mats and soft flooring, but in reality, bamboo flooring is comparable and even superior to its hardwood counterparts. Used in the Pacific Rim for years, bamboo flooring is rapidly gaining popularity in the Western world not only for its durability but also for its beauty.

There are many advantages of choosing bamboo flooring including:

* Environmentally friendly - Bamboo is a highly renewable and sustainable resource in a world of rapidly depleting resources. Bamboo can be harvested every 3 - 5 years as compared to the 20 - 30 years it takes for hardwood forests to replenish. Bamboo grows easily without the use of pesticides or fertilizers so there is little pollution run-off to affect the groundwater.

* Strength & Resiliency - In Japan, bamboo is used for industrial scaffolding so it's definitely strong enough for your family's flooring needs. It has a high weight to strength ratio and can carry countless times its own weight. Bamboo flooring is as hard as maple and is 50% more stable & harder than Red Oak. According to the USDA, bamboo flooring also tops the list of common wood species in dimensional stability.

* Durability - Especially good for the high-traffic areas of your home or business, bamboo is much more scratch resistant than hardwoods flooring so it needs refinished less frequently. Eventually it will gain a nice patina and will start to warm and meld into a variety of tones and hues. After time, your flooring becomes a gallery of mottled tones that are unique and beautiful.

* Chemical-free - Make sure to ask about the manufacturing process of the bamboo flooring you are purchasing. Most bamboo flooring can be produced without the use of VOCs (Volatile Organic Compounds) as opposed to the chemical-laden process of producing traditional hardwood flooring VOCs are chemical compounds that are carbon based and are in the form of vapor at room temperature. In this case, organic does not mean naturally occurring rather a by-products of man-made substances.

The disadvantages of bamboo flooring are mostly related to good consumerism. One should always take a look at the manufacturing process. There are varying qualities of materials and you should always go for the best you can afford. Always keep in mind that hardness is dependent upon manufacturer and the maturity of the bamboo, and that any bamboo of less than 5 years old growth will be likely not to be hard enough for a long-lasting floor. Experts recommend you avoid the lower priced imported product, under 3$/square foot is usually pretty hit and miss.

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