Bamboo Wood Flooring
Bamboo is a grass, rather than wood, and because it grows primarily in tropical environments, no bamboo flooring is harvested and made in the U.S. For use in the States bamboo is imported from China, Indonesia, Korea, the Phillipines and Vietnam – most of it coming from China.
There has been much discussion and controversy about the use of bamboo as a “green” building material due to concerns about harvesting, the chemicals used to make bamboo products, and transporting it across long distances. In order to address these concerns, manufacturers and suppliers have been working to better manage their materials sources and work with environmentally friendly chemicals to offer better “green” bamboo products.
Residential Architect posted an article in August 2012 entitled: Rapidly Renewable – One of green building’s “poster-child” products – bamboo, has come a long way from its roots. It describes how the bamboo industry has changed over the years and some important things to consider when looking at bamboo as a material.
Interior wood materials, in particular wood flooring, can be a major source of indoor air quality issues. Because of the concern about the reduction or elimination of any Volatile Air Compounds (VOC’s), it is critical that we review all of the components used to assemble interior materials, and how they perform based upon Third-Party testing results. (To avoid “Greenwashing” – useless or bogus sales terms).
The goal is to specify low VOC emitting building materials and furnishings. VOC emissions vs.VOC Content is an important distinction. This is a particular challenge when it comes to flooring systems due to the adhesives and finishes used. Thankfully bamboo flooring manufacturers and suppliers are, due to consumer demand, now up to the green challenge, and have been working with the harvesting, manufacturing, transporting, and installation processes, to make their products “more green” and providing designers and consumers with the proper information they need to make them comfortable about their choice of materials.
From the U.S. Green Building Council’s GREEN HOME GUIDE: “I’d like to put in hardwood floors and I’m considering bamboo. What do I need to consider?”
Bamboo Floor Manufacturers and their websites:
They offer some very low-VOC emitting (“Certified”) bamboo flooring products. Their bamboo Q&A Page is a helpful starting point: http://www.teragren.com/products_why.html
Plyboo bamboo flooring is manufactured by the Smith & Fong Company, which is from San Francisco. They have products that use soy-based adhesives and formaldehyde-free materials
Their website is very informative with some good images of products.
Their bamboo flooring products are sold by Ecotimber