Apart from the occasional cane chairs one sees being sold along busy roads, I am hard-pressed to remember what other common uses I’ve come across for Bamboo here in Nigeria. I’m not sure I’ve ever heard a carpenter offer to use bamboo to make a piece of furniture. And YET! Bamboo grows in every country in Africa other than the Sahara Desert. Our landscapes are rich with this amazingly versatile plant! Bamboo is botanically classified as a grass and may be the most sustainable, maintaining ecological balance, natural resource the world has.
Hereare 5 reasons you should definitely think bamboo with your next building or remodeling project:
1- If you enjoy the look of hardwood flooring, but do not want to worry about the costly upkeep, bamboo flooring may be exactly what you are looking for. Bamboo flooring has recently started to become the new hardwood flooring. Manufacturers have developed a way to process this versatile material from the long hard stalks into a warm, rich flooring that has stability, durability and the feel of hardwood.
2 – One of the most efficient greener alternatives of concrete counter-tops is bamboo counter-top. Bamboo can serve as one of the best materials for counter-tops because of its durability and sustainability and it is renewable too. Various brands have come up with bamboo counter-tops sans formaldehyde adhesives hence making the counter-tops non-carcinogenic.
3 – Additionally, bamboo is self-sustaining. It only takes five years for bamboo to reach maturity as compared to decades for hardwoods such as maple and red oak. It is possibly the most environmentally friendly crop. Its water storage capabilities make it ideal for both drought and flood conditions. Its soil-grabbing roots to stabilize steep slopes and riverbanks, cutting erosion. Bamboo may even provide a sustainable solution to check deforestation!
4 – Bamboo is an exceptionally versatile material. It is used in a myriad of ways for building, such as for scaffolding, roofing, flooring, concrete reinforcement, walls and piping. It may be used structurally and as a decorative element.
5 – Bamboo is both strong and light. It is also extremely flexible making it one of the best building materials on the planet. Add the fact that it is so fast growing and therefore abundant it’s a wonder the material is not used more often in more locals.
Bamboo has a tensile strength of 18,000 pounds per square inch making it an easy rival to steel.
Granted bamboo does have its set-backs: of the over a thousand distinct species of bamboo only less than 15% are suitable for construction, it is prone to splitting and insect invasion when not treated properly and it does not lend itself to being painted because of its natural waxy coating… BUT its advantages make for a very persuasive argument that should compel us to find greater and more widespread use for this super-grass.