A Renewable Resource That Revives Floors
When preparing to sell a house there are a handful of upgrades often recommended and that make a good impression on potential buyers. Flooring is at the top of the list along with kitchen and bathroom improvements. Whether you are looking to improve the flooring in your home for resale purposes or simply to modify your floors with a greener alternative, replacing carpet or other flooring with eco-friendly bamboo planks can be a worthwhile change.
The leading reason that bamboo is considered a green flooring choice is because it is a renewable resource. LEED criteria includes it as a recognized material and in an article from Building Green, bamboo's renewability is nicely described as "a wood substitute that matures in three years, regenerates without need for replanting, and requires minimal fertilization or pesticides." Though it takes at least five years for bamboo to reach its strongest state, it is the quick growing and low maintenance characteristics that make bamboo widely regarded as a legitimate green material, though there are others who suggest it could be greener.
Bamboo is grown primarily in China and Vietnam and the energy consumed in harvesting, treating, and shipping bamboo to far-reaching destinations certainly hints at a counteractive environmental impact of bamboo flooring. There are also chemicals involved in enhancing the durability that challenge its status as an eco-friendly material.
The level of "greenness" in bamboo flooring can also be affected by the color chosen and the installation process used. Natural bamboo has a light color to it but can be manipulated with pressure-steaming and dyes to achieve different colors, so for the greenest choice, opt for the natural color. The two most common installation methods are with resins and adhesives or click-together processes, but because adhesives can emit volatile organic compounds which are unhealthy elements to inhale, the click-together option is the better choice.
Because bamboo's natural state is round and cane-like it must be processed into wooden planks in order to provide an even walking surface once installed. Similar to traditional wood flooring options, bamboo is sturdy but also vulnerable to scratches and does not hold up as well to the pressure of high-heeled shoes. Bamboo flooring requires the same care and treatment as other wood floorings with regular cleanings, quick attention to any spills so as to avoid discoloration, and will last longer with rugs placed in high traffic areas.
The fact that bamboo is such a highly renewable resource makes it an attractive alternative to traditional wood flooring but it offers a few health benefits as well. They are naturally hypoallergenic and resist common household allergens such as dust mites, pet dander, and pollen. Well-maintained bamboo flooring boasts a significant life span, but can then be recycled into new flooring or other products when salvaged properly.