When it comes to decking, strand-woven bamboo is regarded by many as the only sustainable hardwood these days.
With a fantastic reputation in terms of its environmental impact, bamboo decking offers us a lot more than just a clear conscience. Bamboo produces a very attractive deck board – with its naturally rich and dark colouration, it also carries a beautiful grain on the face of the board which is created through the carbonisation of natural sugars in the bamboo during manufacturing. Often when clients are shown a range of hardwood samples, they will choose the bamboo board on aesthetics alone.
Bamboo is also now very competitive in price, costing similar to Balau (Meranti), which is currently the most popular lumber for hardwood decking. Bamboo is actually a perennial grass, not a wood, therefore is doesn’t suffer from many of the character defects of hardwoods. There is no wood worm, its colouration is more stable and it’s tolerant to water. Fully submerged bamboo will swell, but when it dries it will return to its original shape – hardwood deck boards would be left warped and useless. A South African hotel bamboo floor was completely flooded and submerged for some time; the bamboo boards moved and expanded but once dried, over 90% of the boards could be reused during the repair process.
Strand-woven bamboo boards are also lovely to work with. The material is dense and hard, and there is little or no splitting on the cuts, allowing accurate beautiful details on the finish of the carpentry and joinery. The boards sand down easily and, although attractive in their natural state, they can also be coloured in a wide range of different shades to match with existing floors.
It is essential to use bamboo from a reputable supplier like Brightfields Natural Trading Company; this guarantees the quality and provenance of the product.
Using bamboo also avoids all of the problems associated with hardwoods at the moment. Certain woods are now being termed ‘blood woods’, such as Meranti, which is harvested in Indonesia where Orangutans are slaughtered during the harvesting of the timber. It is then shipped to an accredited supplier in Malaysia where it is stamped ‘Made in Malaysia’. thereby ‘laundering’ the wood. There are also problems with Balau/Meranti, stemming from a current shortage. This means that lumber is being used from parts of the tree that would previously be discarded resulting in an inferior, less durable product, that still looks and costs the same.
On the downside, an increase in demand for bamboo creates potential for unsustainable harvesting methods that may end up killing this resource that has so much potential. The United Nations warns that about half of the 1200 species of bamboo in the world are extinct or in danger of being eradicated. So it’s imperative to buy bamboo products that are sourced from sustainable harvesting operations.
Source: Simply Green (Jeremy Elson’s Eco-Product Choices for Modern Home Design) Edited
Water Rhapsody Water Conservation Systems and Yes Solar Mpumalanga offer eco-friendly rainwater collection systems, rainwater tanks, grey water recycling, swimming pool backwash recycling, water-saving toilet flush mechanisms and high quality Solsquare solar water geysers.
Contact us for a FREE QUOTE on a solar water heater, rainwater harvesting system (see rainwater FAQ), gray water recycling system or water tank (we are authorized South African JoJo Water Tanks dealers and supply the full range of JoJo water tanks and JoJo tank stands). Our water tank prices are hard to beat in the Mpumalanga & Limpopo Lowveld.
Water conservation and renewable energy such as solar energy are two issues that affect the global community; make a difference and start conserving water and switch to renewable energy today. Another way of reducing your carbon footprint is to switch to green insurance, now available in South Africa. Consider building and decorating with eco-friendly bamboo products.