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Strand woven bamboo flooring is a strong, durable and beautiful alternative to traditional hardwood flooring made from hardwoods such as oak or teak. It is much cheaper than hardwoods and it is much more environmentally friendly.

The reasons why strand woven bamboo flooring is more environmentally friendly than traditional hardwood flooring can be separated into two categories:

  • The environmental benefits of using bamboo
  • The environmental benefits of strand woven bamboo

The Environmental Benefits of Bamboo

Bamboo is the fastest growing plant on the planet. It is strong, flexible and durable; and yet it is not a wood. It is a grass.

Bamboo reaches maturily in 4 to 6 years compared to a hardwood which takes 60 to 100 years to reach maturity. This makes bamboo a renewable resource compared to hardwoods.

Bamboo puts up new shoots which means it is self propagating. This saves labour in the cultivation of bamboo.

Bamboo can be grown organically because it contains a 'kun' substance that naturally fights pathogens and pests, negating the need for pesticides and biocides.

Because of the extensive root system of bamboo it holds the soil together. This prevents soil erosion and landslides during rainy seasons.

Bamboo adds nutrients to the soil rather than draining the soil. Not only that but bamboo is good at 'cleaning' soil. After the atomic bomb attack in Hiroshima the Japanese planted bamboo to clean the soil of radioactive elements.

Bamboo produces 35% more oxygen and absorbs 5 times as much carbon dioxide as an equivalent stand of trees.

Bamboo is incredibly versatile and useful to humans: its young shoots are a source of protein and considered a delicacy in Japan, Indonesia and China; it can pulped and made into paper; and it can be turned into a medicine for infertility and menstrual pains.

Bamboo because of its flexibility and strength can be woven into baskets or made into furniture. It is also often used as scaffolding, and in some instances as a replacement for iron in concrete columns.

The Environmental Benefits of Strand Woven Bamboo Flooring

Strand woven bamboo is made by cutting 'moso' bamboo into strands. These strandss are then heated to burn off the sugars in the bamboo which attract termites.

Next an adhesive is added to the strands and great pressure is applied. The result is a 'plank' of bamboo which is light in colour with a wood like grain. The plank is nearly twice as dense as normal bamboo.

There are two main environmental benefits to the process of making strand woven bamboo:

  • None of the bamboo is wasted. All of the plant is used. The stalks etc. are added at the compression stage.
  • Strand woven bamboo is much stronger than regular bamboo. This makes strand woven bamboo a more useful building material than regular veritical or horizontal bamboo.

The hardness of woods are measured using the Janka Hardness Scale. In this system of measurement the pressure which is required to push a 11.28mm steel ball into the wood so it makes an indentation which is 100mm in diameter. This pressure is measured in pounds force (lbf) or kilograms force (KF) or newtons force (NF). Normal bamboo has a Janka Hardness Rating of 1,380 lbf whereas strand woven bamboo has a rating between 2,000 and 2,500 lbf. For the sake of comparison oak has a Janka Hardness Rating of 1,360 lbf and maple 1,450 lbf.

This makes strand woven bamboo a harder floor material than many traditional hardwoods. The great news for the environment is that people caqn stop chopping down forests to make hardwood flooring for their houses. Instead strand woven bamboo flooring looks like wood, is harder than many woods and is cheaper than hardwoods. Because bamboo is so quick growing we can consider it a renewable resource. Making flooring from a hard and durable renewable resource makes massive ecological sense. This allows the hardwood trees to perform their far more important duty of being the backbone of the forest, providing habitats for wild animals and allowing vital eco-systems to continue to flourish.

This is crucially important when you consider that 1.5 acres of rainforest are lost every second. At the rate we are going all the rainforests will be lost in under 40 years.

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