Bamboo flooring has been heralded as a miracle flooring material because it has such a high density level and is strong, along with the fact that the plant is fast growing and eco-friendly. There are some details regarding the material that are not as commonly referred to and these details should be taken into account when getting bamboo floors. These mentioned details are associated with chemicals included in the bamboo and with fair trade practices.
Basically all of the bamboo used for construction purposes originates in Asia. India is the world’s largest producer of bamboo, but the most bamboo that is used for flooring comes from China and Vietnam. The fact is that a large amount of the overseas farms and factories producing bamboo flooring products do not have guidelines for production or fair labor practices. Specifically in China, the largest bamboo flooring producer, there are no government standards set in place for bamboo production or for air quality standards. In the United States there are currently no regulations as to where the bamboo products originate and because of this the overseas countries are not held to a high production standard. For these reasons, it is possible that the production of bamboo results in toxic byproducts and expends unnecessarily large amounts of energy.
Fortunately, because of the popularity and rise in use of the product flooring distributors in the United States have started to establish more strict guidelines for the bamboo products they sell. Some of the guidelines established would include water-based finishes and a manufacturing process that is free of formaldehyde. Quality bamboo distributors will include information regarding the country of origin and indicate whether the bamboo was harvested from a plantation. Based off of where the product originated from you can gather more information regarding its manufacturing process.
Because the majority of bamboo used for flooring purposes comes from Asia, shipping cannot be avoided. Following suit with green building practices, finding local products that limit the energy used for shipping is encouraged. Unfortunately the fact that the product must be shipped to America diminishes some of the eco-friendly appeal that bamboo has associated with it. Luckily there are some flooring distributors that attempt to off-set shipping energy loss by donating to carbon offsetting companies.
If you are interested in bamboo flooring, there are steps that you can take to ensure that you are purchasing a high quality and eco-friendly product. Always check where the product originates from and whether the distributor has established guidelines, like formaldehyde-free processes and water-based finishes. Another resource to use is the Forest Stewardship Council, which maintains a database of companies that manufacture well-made and responsibly-produced bamboo flooring products.
Be diligent in your quest for high quality bamboo floors. Research the product and confirm that the manufacturing is done responsibly. If you have any further questions regarding bamboo floors, please don’t hesitate to get in contact with Metro Atl. Floors.