You’ve probably heard of bamboo furniture or other structures and the fact that this is an eco-friendly material, considerably superior to others based on this particular criteria. But is this actually true? Well, yes and no but mostly yes. Like with any other material, there are risks regarding the conditions and the environment in which it’s harvested, grown and processed. Still, with bamboo things are a bit brighter and that’s because bamboo grows faster than any other woody plant in the world. It also needs few pesticides and fertilizers and little irrigation.
The bamboo plant is technically a type of grass. It is, in fact, the largest member of the grass family and it grows in pretty much any type of climate, from cold mountain regions to hot tropical areas. There are more than 1,000 different species of bamboo and the larger types are tree-like in appearance. The stems of the bamboo plant can vary from a few cm to 40 meters in height. They are always jointed and have regular nodes.
Bamboo is a popular eco-friendly material thanks to its fast-growing rate and other characteristics. It’s a very strong and durable material which is surprising given its gentle and delicate nature. It’s in fact among the hardest woods and, in addition to that, it’s also resistant to insects and moisture. This makes a good candidate as a material for outdoor furniture and other elements. Bamboo is also more scratch-resistant than most hardwoods as well as resistant to swelling.
There are a lot of great uses for bamboo around the house. For instance, there are a lot of wonderful furniture pieces made of bamboo including chairs, beds, tables, nightstands or headboards and also a lot of accent pieces such as mirror frames, backsplashes, wallpaper and other things. Bamboo flooring is also quite popular, offering spaces a casual, warm and inviting look.
The natural color of bamboo is similar to that of beech wood. Darker shades can be obtained through staining. Because it’s both lightweight and durable, bamboo is a great material for blinds, shades and privacy screens. There’s also such a thing as bamboo textile which is obtained through a series of chemically-intensive production processes that transform the raw material into the cellulose fibers that make the end fabric.
As you can see, there are many different uses for bamboo in interior design and not only. In fact, CO2 Bambu created a prototype home in Nicaragua where almost everything is made of bamboo. This includes things like the doors, a lot of the furniture, walls, ceiling mats and even a garden where bamboo and other plants grow.
The cleaning and maintenance of bamboo is pretty simple. There are, however, a few things to keep in mind. For instance, in the case of outdoor furniture, it’s important to keep water exposure to a minimum. In the case of indoor furniture and other features, make sure you apply oil every one or two months to prevent cracks and to maintain the luster. When cleaning surfaces made of bamboo, use a soft cloth, a sponge and mild soapy water. Organic or natural soaps are preferred.
Keep in mind that bamboo can sag and warp more easily when it’s damp so don’t sit on a bamboo chair or other similar surface immediately after cleaning it to prevent damage. In case you find cracks, you can easily repair these by gently sanding the area with some fine grit sandpaper and then applying some paste wax over the damaged area. This will help recondition the color and the tone of the wood.