In times of environmental awareness and frantic calls for ecological balance, bamboo floors are fast becoming the hot favorite among people who do not want to compromise on either style or their ‘green sense’. Designers, condo developers, corporate offices and homeowners are fast catching on to the benefits of this eco-friendly grass that is as strong, if not more, than traditional wood.
What makes Bamboo so eco-friendly? To begin with, bamboo is able to replenish itself rapidly. Since only the stalks are harvested and the root system is left intact, it is able to grow back pretty fast, usually between 4-6 months. Trees on the other hand need to be replanted and can take anywhere between 20-120 years to mature.
But, however eager you may be to jump onto the green bandwagon, you’ve got to be careful when exercising the so called eco-friendly choice. Since it is mass produced, there could be various hidden costs that could potentially knock several green points off its benefits.
For instance, did you know that there is a world of difference between bamboo that is six months old and one that has been allowed to mature for three to four years? For the best results, it’s advisable to use only fully grown bamboo since they are as tough as nails. Flooring from immature bamboo, on the other hand, can chip and dent easily and lack the stability of mature bamboo. So, while bamboo might reach its maximum height within a few months, what you need for long lasting floors are full grown bamboos.
Investigating where the bamboo was grown is yet another responsibility that environmentally-aware people cannot afford to ignore. It’s important to know whether the crop was grown in its natural habitat or if it displaced other forests and crops from theirs. If you really care to buy green, ensure that all your bamboo is sourced from sustainable plantations.
While you are looking at where bamboo is grown, you may also want to inquire how it is grown too. You don’t want to buy bamboo that has been grown using pesticide. We are too well aware of the harmful side effects of pesticides to let such a detail go unnoticed or unpardoned.
A final word of advice – do not spend your money on bamboo boards that are super smooth and shiny. They might look great in your living room and the glossy finish might win you several compliments, but chances are that they’ve been treated with aluminum oxide. If you want a truly green product, you’d do well to stay away from bamboo treated with chemicals to enhance its appearance.
At the end of the day, it is not enough to blindly follow the green tag without being mindful of your own responsibility. Ask the right questions; look for the appropriate answers; and investigate the affair thoroughly. Only then can you lay claim to having made a truly green choice.