Bamboo has been used as an alternative for flooring because of its physical similarities to true hardwoods.
A Bamboo flooring is typically made by slicing mature bamboo poles or culms into strips. These culms are crosscut to length and then sliced into strips depending on the width desired. The outer skin and nodes are removed. To remove starch and sugars the strips of bamboo are boiled in a solution of boric acid or lime. The bamboo is then dried and planed. Natural bamboo color is similar to beech wood. If a darker color similar to oak is desired, the bamboo goes through a carbonizing process of steaming under controlled pressure and heat. The carbonizing process can reduce the floor's final hardness significantly compared to non-carbonized bamboo.
Bamboo is an eco-friendly, highly renewable source of material.As a grass, bamboo grows much faster than wood. Moso Bamboo is the primary species used for the manufacturing of flooring and plywood. Moso bamboo can grow up to 119 cm in 24 hours and 24 m high in 40 to 50 days. It takes about 3–5 years for bamboo to reach full maturity. Traditional hard woods can take 20–120 years to mature.Bamboo reaches maturity in five years which is the optimal age to harvest. In a sustainably harvested forest only 20% of the forest is harvested annually allowing for 100% harvest in a five-year period. In its natural environment it will need no irrigation, no pesticides, and no fertilizer. Bamboo has few pests so pesticides are not required. Bamboo certified to the standards of the Forest Stewardship Council (FSC) meets criteria for environmental sustainability and social responsibility, and several flooring products are available with this option.Bamboo can sequester up to 70% more carbon per year than a hardwood forest. All these factors keep the carbon footprint low.
Bamboo Flooring Maintenance
Like most hardwood floors, bamboo floors should be treated carefully. When mopping, it is best to use a dust mop to remove the dust and grime. A stiff bristled broom can be used to remove more stubborn dirt from the crevices of the floor. Wet mops should be avoided on the bamboo flooring. When it is necessary to mop the floor, wring the mop out thoroughly to prevent any extra water from being released onto the floor. Cleaning detergents should be checked to make sure that they are safe for hard wood floors before they are added to the mop water. Many detergents contain a waxing agent which will dull the color of the flooring and leave behind a filmy glaze.Bamboo flooring has led to deforestation, as existing trees are cut down to be replaced with bamboo plantations; this results in soil erosion in the often hilly and mountainous areas occupied by forestland, along with a loss of biodiversity in the region as other flora and fauna are cleared for bamboo. Additionally, the use of pesticides, weed killers and fertilizers in bamboo production can have an effect on the environment.