Flooring – It’s About The Bamboo

hardwoods01312009It took us about 2 seconds to decide that we wanted to use bamboo flooring in the non-bathroom parts of the house.   While we had beautiful 50 year old oak floors in the old house, there wasn’t enough of it to use in the new house other than to cover the floors of the 700 square foot studio space above the garage (we’ll sell the rest). 

Bamboo is the new “it flooring” for those looking for a Green product.  It probably goes without saying (but I’ll say it anyway) that bamboo is very sustainable (it can grow up to a foot a day), is durable and is just about at the same price point as a nice oak or maple flooring.  So what are the downsides?

We’ve heard horror stories about bamboo harvested too young (I wouldn’t use anything younger than 5 years old) that sprouted when gotten wet.  And I even had an architect rant to me about how the floors she installed were too soft and got totally marked up just by walking on them.  And the bamboo is typically shipped from China  – which, by the way, isn’t known for it’s great human rights and workers’ rights history.

Here are two articles on Treehugger.com that I’ll refer you to.  They’re a bit dated (from 2004 and 2005) but they provide good background.  The first one outlines the case for and against bamboo (they come out For with a few caveats).  The second one provides a profile of one manufacturer of bamboo flooring, Teragren (which they misspell as “Teragen”), which is the flooring that we chose.  I have to admit that we chose Teragren before I read this article.  Good thing we did the right thing even without reading it!  Be sure to check out the “Environmentally smart” tab at the top of the Teragren home page – lots of good information there.

By the way, the bamboo floors were installed this week – see the photo above!

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