Is bamboo a type of artificial grass? - Our Daily Green

Wednesday, July 16, 2014

Is bamboo a type of artificial grass?

"Bamboo Feb09".
Licensed under 
GFDL 1.2 via Wikimedia Commons
Bamboo isn't a type of artificial grass, but it's a grass that looks and behaves very much like hardwood after it's been processed. Indeed, bamboo is harder than some hardwoods.

One of the selling points of bamboo is that it grows quickly, like most grasses, but some species can grow to 100 feet tall within a few years. After it's harvested, it can be reharvested after about five or six years. Contrast this to the decades it takes for a hardwood tree like an oak or maple to be ready for harvesting.

Most types of bamboo that are used for flooring come from China and Vietnam.

For flooring, bamboo can be strandwoven, end grain, flat grain or vertical grain. End grain and strand woven bamboo are tougher and denser, but flat and vertical grain bamboo planks are less expensive. Like hardwood, bamboo can be solid or engineered. Solid means that the floor planks are bamboo all the way through, while engineered planks are made of layers, sometimes of plywood, that have been pressed together under great pressure and heat. The top layer is made out of quality bamboo.

One caveat about bamboo is that it's become so popular that bamboo plantations are replacing the native flora in some places. Also, the way some bamboo is processed might require chemicals that make it not as eco-friendly as it appears, and the energy that it takes to transport bamboo planks from Asia to the mainland United States makes its carbon footprint larger than it might otherwise be. Customers should check with the manufacturer to make sure that their bamboo flooring has been prepared as naturally as possible.

Bamboo flooring
By Pbroks13 (Own work)  via Wikimedia Commons
The natural color of a bamboo floor is light brown or tan, but it can be treated to make it darker. Bamboo is attractive because the pattern of the grain shows the nodes of the grass stalks, especially if the planks have been constructed horizontally. Like hardwood, bamboo needs to be finished and sanded, but it shouldn't be sanded across the grain or diagonally to the grain. Like wood floors, bamboo can be floated, glued or nailed.

Bamboo floor care is also easy. Like wood, bamboo should never be cleaned with a soaking wet mop. It should be damped mopped and broom swept, and any spills should be wiped up right away. Pads should be placed under the feet of especially heavy furniture, and the floor shouldn't be walked upon with high heels to prevent dings and dents.

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