The floor of any home or building is often taken for granted, but that does not make it any less important, since every building needs a good floor where furniture will sit and where people will walk and stand. And if a floor has serious problems such as dirty or torn carpeting, or scratched wood, people may soon start complaining, and warped wood that has low moisture-resistance can cause some serious property damage and it will be very unsightly to anyone who sees it. Flooring options are wide, but having wooden planks is a common route to take. Hardwood is the traditional route to take for American flooring work, and hardwoods have a long and proud history of American carpentry. But a competitor has arrived in the form of bamboo hardwood, and bamboo strength can often rival that of hardwood species. Bamboo is not the best of moisture-resistance materials, but it can offer a number of advantages over hardwood, and an interested homeowner or public building manager may invest in moisture-resistance floor treatment to help keep bamboo in shape longer. This may be done if the homeowner is not interested in more moisture-resistance capable materials like tile or linoleum.
The Flooring Industry Today
Flooring is a large industry in the United States today, and it may grow even further in the coming years, since all new buildings need floors put in, and older buildings may have newer flooring put down. A recent survey gathered data from many flooring industry professionals such as contractors and suppliers, and many of them agreed that the flooring industry may grow at least 3% in the coming years, and one in three respondents even said that they expected more growth, closer to 8%. Flooring may include tiles or linoleum for kitchens or bathrooms in the home, but floors often have more organic materials such as hardwood and bamboo, and bamboo flooring is growing as a popular alternative to hardwood floors today. Why is that?
Bamboo VS Wood Flooring
Ultimately, hardwood and bamboo floor planks are similar in shape and do the same job, but there are some distinctions to make between them. The origins of the materials is one factor to consider, and more and more Americans and others worldwide are concerned about where their materials come from. Hardwood trees grow abundantly in North America, but these trees may take up to 20 years to reach maturity for logging purposes, and what is more, some are concerned that deforestation is becoming a major issue as a result of increased lumber demand. For this reason, bamboo flooring, although boasting minimal moisture-resistance, can be a practical alternative in the right climates for a home. Bamboo plants, unlike hardwood trees, are highly renewable and grow famously fast. A planted bamboo plant may take three to five years to reach maturity so that its stalks can be harvested for lumber, and a trimmed-down bamboo plant will regrow its shoots even faster. Using bamboo in sufficient quantities can greatly ease the strain on hardwood forests and contribute to preserving the biosphere.
How are bamboo planks created? Once harvested, woody bamboo shoots are sliced up and then shredded into fibers, and these fibers can be compressed into usable planks through a combination of heat, pressure, and glues, and often, such bamboo planks are manufactured where bamboo is often found, such as China. These planks can compete with hardwood as a flooring material, and they offer similar strength as flooring. Bamboo can often compete with hardwood in terms of pricing, as well, a similar cost per square foot.
Bamboo comes in a more limited color range than hardwoods do, so some homeowners with specific tastes in flooring might find bamboo too limited, but others may enjoy bamboo’s clean, fresh look. Care for bamboo is essential; its moisture-resistance is somewhat low, and bamboo flooring may warp and twist in very humid environments or shrink and crack in very dry areas. More moderate climates are best for bamboo flooring, and owners can keep in mind that care for bamboo flooring is easy. It can be scratched like hardwood from dust or pet claws, but refinishing bamboo can be easily done to make it look like new, and cleaning it is often a matter of simple wet mopping.