Bamboo floors make their way into our homes, presenting themselves as a sustainable alternative to traditional wood. This material is relatively new in Europe but has already been a widely used option in countries such as China and Japan. It presents improvements with respect to traditional floors such as its durability and resistance, and is more stable and elastic than oak, for example.
A sustainable alternative
Bamboo also helps self-regulate temperature, keeping you warm in the winter and cool in the summer. Its hardness is similar to that of oak, the wood most used in flooring, thanks to the high density of the structure, which makes it rigid and stable. There are different types of bamboo flooring, which differ in the structure of the slats. The vertical and horizontal types are the result of sticking the bamboo slats together vertically or horizontally, which gives a different finish but a hardness similar to that of oak in both cases.
As for the finishes, far from being limited to oriental or colonial-inspired environments, bamboo floors are available in multiple styles, suitable for all types of rooms. The boards resulting from the processing of sanded and brushed bamboo strips can be left in their natural light colour or subjected to various heat treatments that give them a tan or even chocolate brown colour. This, combined with the placement of the slats vertically or horizontally, or pressed, gives rise to surfaces with more or fewer knots and veins depending on the desired effect.
The variety of bamboo used to make parquet flooring is the so-called giant bamboo or 'Moso' bamboo, which grows in tropical regions. The largest reserve in the world is in China and every year up to a third of the plantations are cut down, which is equivalent to their natural reforestation.
The mother plant of the bamboo generates new shoots every year that, in a few months, reach maturity and a length of up to 20 meters. In this way, reforestation is not necessary, as is the case with traditional forests that require the felling of trees. If we add to this that bamboo absorbs, on average, 30% more CO2 than trees, the environmental advantages of this product become clear.
Advantages of bamboo flooring
In addition to the purely functional advantages (hardness, temperature, aesthetics), bamboo floors are an environmentally friendly alternative: a forest of traditional woods takes between 30 and 60 years to grow back. Oak is one of the most used woods in floors and it takes 70 years to regenerate. Bamboo regenerates much faster in artificial plantations or virgin forests and only takes 5-6 years to fully mature; compared to the 70 years of an oak –the wood most used in floors– or the 100 of ipé (a tropical species).
Keeping bamboo floors in good condition does not require special care; it is enough to maintain a humidity level between 50 and 65% in the environment, also ideal for the well-being of people, which is equivalent to a temperature of around 20ºC.
As for cleaning, it is recommended to do it dry, with a vacuum cleaner and mop, although in case of stains, the ideal is to scrub with a little water and a neutral soap. As with other wooden floors, abrasive products are not recommended.
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