The process of manufacturing bamboo flooring is comparable to any other flooring solution. Significant heat is required to kiln dry the bamboo during the process, as well the steaming of it, but most of this energy is derived from burning saw dust resulting from the bamboo cutting process itself.
Certain glues and lacquer finishes are required during the process, all of which meet World Health Organisation and European Union emission requirements. None of these contain any dangerous substances, preservatives or additives, nor do they contain any fungicides, pesticides or formaldehyde. Obviously not all of the bamboo plant (it is actually a grass) is usable in the production of flooring, but wastage is kept to a minimum, as much of the off-cuts are used for the manufacture of chopsticks, toothpicks, as well as in the textile industry (linen and clothing). Bamboo is very pervasive throughout China and is used to manufacture furniture as well as served on the dinner table. It is also used in the production of boarding used for kitchens, cupboards and counter tops, as well as in the scaffolding industry, in the place of steel.
The bamboo floor manufacturing process:
- Bamboo forests are natural and do not require any expensive maintenance. No pesticides or controlling products are required.
- When harvested, bamboo is cut off near the base so that it continues to grow. There is no deforestation during cultivation.
- Bamboo poles are split into 2cm-wide strips and rough sanded. The poles are then boiled for two hours to remove any fungi or bacteria that may be present.
- The raw bamboo strips are then kiln dried for up to two weeks. The drying time and temperature is dependent on where the product is going to be sent – too dry and it will crack in a very humid climate.
- The dried bamboo strips are stored to allow acclimatisation after which they are ‘boiled’ in glue tanks to saturate the product.
- The strips are then packed into a large sleeves and compressed into a u-shaped mould under extreme pressure. These moulds are baked in an oven for 24 hours to allow the glue to set.
- The beams are then cross cut to plank size depending on the thickness of the product they are intended for.
- The planks are then sanded and stored for two weeks to allow for stabilization before being put through a sanding and finishing process to produce a perfectly smooth and durable final product.
Source: Simply Green The Bamboo Diaries (Dean & Deal Gurney) Excerpts
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