Trend spotters predict that the “green” movement will continue through 2008 and beyond. This means we’ll be seeing even more natural, organic, and recycled materials in our homes.
I’m hearing that the enthusiasm for bamboo flooring may be waning, however, despite the fact that it is an eco-friendly source that is sustainable and renewable, producing about 25 times the yield of hardwoods. Homeowners are complaining that it is so soft that it doesn’t hold up well enough–getting warped, dented, and scratched. I’ve heard that it may even delaminate.
Experts say that the problem is with lower quality manufacturers who are harvesting bamboo before it is fully mature. Flooring made from bamboo poles less than four years old will wear out sooner. If you’re willing to take the chance on bamboo, be sure to buy from a high-quality manufacturer who offers a good warranty.
Beyond the quality issues, however, are lurking environmental ones that you may not be aware of. The lower-quality bamboo floors are produced with substandard glues that contain higher levels of formaldehyde, and inferior finishes contain higher levels of VOC’s.
Another thing to consider: most bamboo flooring comes from the Asia Pacific region–especially China and Vietnam–which means that it takes a lot of fuel to transport it here to the U.S.
On the bright side, when bamboo flooring is done right, it is more durable than many hardwoods and can last 30 to 50 years. Once removed it will biodegrade in landfills.