Bamboo is a grass, a flowering evergreen plant primarily native to tropical and warm climates worldwide. It is an amazingly fast growing plant, some species growing up to an inch every 40 minutes. Its use in South Asia ranges from food source to building material. It is as a building material that we see how truly versatile it is. Bamboo has a higher specific compressive strength than wood, brick, or concrete and in some cases matches steel for strength. Bamboo is used in framing, walls, and a host of other ways in its natural form. We outside of Asia, see Bamboo in a more engineered variety. In what ways is bamboo moving from the jungle into our everyday lives?
Due to its hard nature bamboo makes an exceptionally good, ecologically friendly flooring material. Certain types of bamboo floors can be harder than red oak, strand woven bamboo flooring is extremely hard and easy to maintain. Bamboo is a stylish, elegant option for designers to consider due to its unique qualities and colors. The easily recognizable layout of bamboo strands can add visual impact even as it is neutral in color. Bamboo flooring is also very affordable for such a custom material. Installing bamboo flooring can be done for a very reasonable amount.
Bamboo furniture has been around for years and years as a material for furniture. Used in all parts of the manufacture of pieces, from tables and chairs to couches and more, bamboo is flexible and highly bendable. The material holds its shape as it is bent and dries, without losing its strength. When well maintained, bamboo furniture can last for many years. Bamboo is also being made into pressed lumber to be used in the place of standard wood, opening up a wide array of applications.
Trim and accent
Bamboo can be used as casing or decorative material as well. It is tough to mold or cut in its compressed form, as the glues used to form it are hard on tooling, but the dimensional stock can be used as case or base around doors and windows.
Bamboo is also very visually attractive, the culms that make up the body of the plant provide considerable visual interest. Bamboo is used in fountains and a variety of arrangements to add texture and a unique oriental style to a room.
Skateboards and bicycles
Because of its unique properties and strengths, bamboo is finding a niche in other more engineering focused markets. Laminated bamboo is being used in the production of skateboards due to its high resistance to breaking and flexibility. Bicycle manufacturers have been experimenting with bamboo as a material for frame construction because of its high torsional strength. Look for bamboo to be used in some areas in the future.