With green construction practices and building materials sweeping the home improvement industry, bamboo has risen in stature to become one of the most beautiful, widely used, and eco-friendly hardwoods on the planet. From gorgeous hardwood flooring to easy-to-install outdoor fences, bamboo products are available to fit just about any homeowner’s fancy or remodeling needs.
Bamboo Products: What You Need to Know
While bamboo is generally referred to as a hardwood because of its beauty, density, and durability, it actually comes from the grass family. It’s not just any grass or any plant — it’s the fastest growing plant known to man. Some bamboo shoots have been seen to grow up to four feet in a 24-hour period. If you cut down an oak tree, that’s all she wrote. Cutting bamboo, on the other hand, is necessary just to keep things tidy on a bamboo farm.
When harvested at the right time while sugar levels are at their lowest, the resulting material is stronger than some hardwoods. Indeed, as the popularity of bamboo products have accelerated, manufacturers have struggled to keep up with demand — resulting in stories of discoloration and pest infestation. These inferior bamboo products have also created a belief that bamboo is cheaper than hardwood. In truth, all of these facts are true. Hastily harvested bamboo is likely to be cheaper than hardwood products, while solid harvesting practices can yield a product superior to many hardwood products. Look for the most trusted manufacturers, ask your local home improvement contractors which company they recommend, and don’t get sucked in by steep discounts.
The Top 5 Bamboo Products
So with reliable and eco-friendly bamboo, what are the home improvement possibilities? The answer is just about anything or, more accurately, any place where you might use hardwood, you can use bamboo instead. Here’s a list of five of the most common bamboo home improvement products just to get you thinking about the possibilities.
- Bamboo Flooring: With varieties rumored to be 100 percent stronger than red oak, and a stunning appearance that stops people in their tracks, bamboo is quickly becoming one of the most sought after hardwood flooring materials on the market.
- Bamboo Fences and Decks: Tired of chain link, but not sold on a cedar privacy fence either? Think about bamboo fencing. You can easily attach it to a pre-existing fence, or have a more formal, traditional wood frame built to fit your bamboo into. Just like fencing panels, bamboo is a charming material for deck planks.
- Bamboo Veneer: Bamboo veneer is taking bamboo to places never thought possible just a few years past. From kitchen cabinetry to wall paneling, bamboo veneer allows you to outfit just about any area of your home with the rich, warm feel of this eco-friendly wood.
- Butcher Block Bamboo Countertops: If you’re installing bamboo cabinetry, why not a butcher block bamboo countertop as well? Constructed in parquet style, bamboo butcher block is beautiful for use as countertops and tabletops alike. And since bamboo is denser than almost any other hardwood, it’s perfect for use in kitchens and dining rooms where spills and messes are commonplace.
- Bamboo Furniture: Move over oak furniture, say hello to bamboo. We’re not talking ’70s era rustic bamboo pole furniture either. From dining sets to coffee tables and nightstands, bamboo furniture is every bit as beautiful as oak, maple, and cherry, and much better for mother earth.
Why Not Bamboo?
In this time of environmental uncertainty, it’s our responsibility to be good stewards of the earth. That starts and stops with how responsibly we use the natural resources at our disposal, and when it comes to wood building products, bamboo has no equal. Whether you’re thinking about a new dinette set or a total kitchen remodel, bamboo is a beautifully green solution.