Bamboo Flooring Pros and Cons: Is It Really Green?


| 7/30/2015 8:58:00 AM


Tags: wood flooring, bamboo, Chris Magwood, green homes,

Bamboo Flooring 

I’m considering installing bamboo flooring, but I’m finding conflicting claims about it. Is this type of flooring truly a sustainable selection?

Bamboo flooring is often sold as a “green” flooring option, but the truth of this claim depends on which criteria you consider.

Processing raw bamboo into flooring involves kiln drying, boiling (sometimes twice) and often steaming. All of these processes are energy-intensive. Reliable embodied energy data for bamboo flooring is lacking, making it difficult to accurately compare bamboo to alternatives. But given the need for two to four high-heat processes, the production of bamboo flooring likely uses more energy than that of wood floors. Shipping bamboo materials from Asia can add to bamboo’s total energy footprint, sometimes significantly.

Bamboo flooring is made from laminated strips of bamboo bonded with chemical glues. Surface finishes are also chemical composites. Depending on the type of binders and finishes used, some bamboo flooring can emit high levels of volatile organic compounds (VOCs) and other toxins.

Most bamboo flooring companies claim their flooring is much harder and therefore more durable than hardwood, such as oak. Some bamboo flooring does score high on the Janka hardness test. However, the Janka test protocol doesn’t necessarily predict actual wear and tear on a floor, and experience has shown that bamboo floors have real-life wear characteristics that are so similar to hardwood that bamboo can’t prove a true durability advantage.


john
9/30/2015 11:00:15 AM

When chosen, installed and cared for properly, bamboo flooring will provide great returns on investment – and that’s as cost-efficient as can be. http://www.woodfloorplanetnj.com/blog/


holler19
8/17/2015 9:03:22 AM

You say that reliable energy information is lacking. But then, in the absence of any such data, you draw the conclusion that bamboo flooring "likely" uses more energy to produce than wood floors. Not good science!!




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