Please note all carriers are experiencing delays due to COVID-19 and delivery times are approximate only.

Innovating With Natural Materials – 4 Women To Watch

Natural materials have been around for centuries. Hemp was found in French ruins dating back to the 6th century, bamboo has been used as a building material in China for 7,000 years while thatch has been used on roofs since as early as 5000 BC.

Today, faced with the limits of the linear economy (take, make, waste) and alarming facts about the amount of waste the construction industry produces (40% of all global waste), Architects and Designers are going back to natural materials in an effort to switch to a circular economy (take, make, reuse).

Four women are breaking the mold and crafting mind blowing creations with some of the oldest materials in the world: bamboo and rattan.

Elora Hardy – Bali

Bamboo is a family passion in the Hardy family. John Hardy is the creator of The Green Village and the Green School in Bali and his children Elora and Orin have each built on their father’s passion and created their own businesses: Ibuku for Elora and Bamboo U for Orin.

Ibuku’s mission is to innovate with natural materials to connect people with nature. The extraordinary buildings they craft almost exclusively out of bamboo are designed to wonder. With her team of Architects and Designers, Elora keeps exploring groundbreaking ways to use bamboo as a building material for houses, bridges, auditoriums, schools, hotels and more.

“Bamboo might not be for everyone, but there’s enough bamboo for everyone”.

Yasmeen Lari – Pakistan

Yasmeen Lari was the first Pakistani female architect. She rose to fame in the 80s with a series of prestigious state commissions before distancing herself from the industry in the early 2000 to focus on writing. But in 2005, a devastating earthquake killed 80,000 Pakistanis and displaced 400,000 families. Determined to help, she tirelessly taught locals how to rebuild their homes using mud, stone and wood, convinced that giving them something to do would also help them recover from the trauma.

She then started developing low cost, low waste, earthquake resistant structures using cross-braced bamboo frameworks and teaching local communities how to build them. Her prototypes were tested at the University of Karachi and found to be capable of withstanding an earthquake more than six times the strength of the 1995 Kobe disaster. She was awarded the prestigious Jane Drew Prize in 2020 as recognition of her trailblazing humanitarian work.

‘It’s not only the right of the elite to have good design”

Aurelie Hoegy – France & Mexico

Aurelie Hoegy is fascinated with movement and sustainable materials. Working from her Parisian atelier, she travels between Bali and Mexico to learn from rattan masters and collaborate on projects. Her latest project, Wild Fibres, is a range of meticulously crafted and sculptural furniture that celebrates the fluidity of rattan.

“Rattan is probably one of the most amazing materials I’ve worked with so far. It’s exceptionally flexible, soft, and extremely rigid when attached to each other. Rattan is definitely alive.”

Jennifer Snyders – Australia

Jennifer’s father, Mark, started importing bamboo products to Australia in 1972. After studying architecture, Jennifer realised bamboo’s untapped potential was a game changer for the building industry. She joined the business and developed it into the trailblazing brand it is today. 

As CEO, she continues to push the boundaries of what bamboo can do, cementing House of Bamboo® as the key player in the industry. She champions the principles of a circular economy and campaigns to make bamboo the new timber. She is passionate about creating an agricultural and manufacturing bamboo industry in Australia and founded The Bamboo Choice, an agronomy and product consulting business to further this aim.

“By choosing bamboo, you are helping support sustainable construction practices, preserve our environment and improve biodiversity. In a time where our decisions and actions matter more than ever, House of Bamboo®’s mission is to facilitate this choice by providing elegant and sustainable design solutions.” 

At a time where the impact of our design decisions matters more than ever, female architects and designers around the world are leading the way in using natural materials in unusual and innovative ways. All we need for this shift to have the impact it deserves, is for the industry to embrace natural materials as legitimate building solutions.

To find out how to incorporate more natural materials in your designs, get in touch with House of Bamboo® Design Consultants here

How To Transform An Old Timber Fence

Timber fences are a convenient fencing solution but they tend to deteriorate with age. Instead of replacing the fence which is costly and labour intensive, why not cover it? This allows you to retain its structural ability and apply any finish you like to hide its tired look. Whether you prefer an organic or contemporary finish, there are several natural materials you can consider to cover an old tired fence, starting with bamboo rod screens and slatted bamboo timber screens.

Organic Look

BEFORE: The old timber fence that needed raising & cladding. 

Client’s problem

For this project, the owner had spent a lot on their new pool but the existing timber fence was too low to meet the requirements for pool boundary fence certification and its old tired look contrasted with the modern finish of the pool.

They did not want to replace the fence but just to increase its height and refresh its look.

House of Bamboo solution

The black rod bamboo fencing was a perfect, relatively inexpensive solution whereby the customer could use the existing fence yet clad it so it complimented the beautiful surrounds and also meet the requirements for pool fencing certification.

AFTER: The same fence clad in our natural, sustainable black bamboo 

How to install bamboo rod screens

Bamboo screens are easy to install by fixing batons to your existing fence and screwing our black bamboo rod screens to those. They come as a 1200 mm roll with either 1800 or 2400 mm height and are joined with quality stainless steel wire making them suitable for coastal properties exposed to salt water.

See our video for more detailed installation help, or call us on 1300 665 703 for a quote to install yours.

Contemporary Look

Organic black bamboo fencing contrasts beautifully with light coloured pavers but if you prefer a more contemporary look, slatted bamboo timber fencing could be the perfect solution to upgrade a basic timber fence.

BEFORE: Basic timber fence which did not meet the requirements for pool boundary fence certification
AFTER: Slatted Bamboo Timber Fencing – Pool Certification Granted

To view more contemporary fence transformations, click here and see how engineered bamboo fencing can help you refresh an ugly timber fence and improve the look of your outdoor space.

6 Privacy Screens Solutions To Keep Your Home Hidden From Your Neighbours

Australia’s real estate is a booming industry. And while properties tend to go bigger and higher while plot sizes decrease in size, there is also a huge tendency for your privacy to be compromised. 

According to lawsociety.com.au, in NSW, “there is no legal right to public privacy so, if a neighbour can see into your backyard, they’re allowed to look at or listen to what’s going on.  Besides asking your neighbour to stop, one thing you can do is to try to block their view by building a higher fence”.  

Of the two options, the one that will put you in better control of your privacy is building a higher fence. However, there are council restrictions around boundary fencing height that might limit what you can do. On the other hand, the installation of a privacy screen is also a suitable alternative to block your neighbours. To help you decide what is the best privacy solution that can keep you away from the prying eyes of your neighbours, we’ve put together a list of natural materials that can be used as privacy screens. 

1. Bamboo Rod Privacy Screen

Black Bamboo Screen Behind Deckchair

For privacy screen solutions that don’t block the view, bamboo rod privacy screen is your best choice. It provides the privacy you need while allowing light to filter through and can easily be removed when needed. It can also be used to add more height to your existing fence and the concealed stainless steel binding at its core makes it a suitable option for coastal properties exposed to the elements.

Usesproperty fence, pool fence, or privacy screen

2. Slatted Screens

Outdoor Area With Natureed and Laminated Bamboo Slats

A great alternative to bamboo rod screens, slatted bamboo timber screens will give a clean and contemporary look to your fencing. Elegant and eco-friendly, these screens can be used for a range of purposes including pool certification, privacy screens or to hide unsightly elements such as garbage bins and air conditioning units.      

Usesstandalone screening, horizontal or vertical installation, fencing and pool certification

3. Bamboo Poles

Contemporary Bathroom Featuring Architectural Bamboo Poles

Bamboo poles are available in a variety of diameters and lengths, making them a versatile privacy screen solution.  

Usestemporary or permanent screening for events, interior design, and landscaping

4. Outdoor Bamboo Blinds

Bamboo blinds are a very popular interior design feature but they can also be used outside as a versatile privacy screening solution. This is a functional and stylish solution that does not block the light or air flow and comes with the convenience of being adjustable at any time. 

Usesindoor and outdoor use, fits traditional and contemporary homes

5. Natureed®

Natureed Cladding and Bamboo Decking

Our trademarked product Natureed® has been used for decades by landscape designers such as Jamie Durie and Brendan Moar. Crafted from the finest quality water reeds, Natureed® contains up to 50% more reeds than similar products on the market. It is a natural water reed with a reddish hue, similar to merbau and bound with stainless steel. Extremely durable, it’s naturally resistant to water and termites. Fit for any use, whether indoors or outdoors and extremely lightweight, Natureed® can easily be attached to existing structures making it an ideal material to achieve pool certification quickly.

Usesboundary fence, pool certification, shading or privacy screen

6. Decorative Screens

Round Square and Through Bamboo Planters

Add privacy right into your home without sacrificing design and aesthetics. If what you need is a beautiful addition to your property, you can take advantage of decorative screens that also work as shading solutions.    

Usesoutdoor screening, gardens, pools, landscaping.

Whether you have found the right solution to your privacy needs or are still unsure what option would be best suited to your space, call us on 1300 665 703 or fill this form to discuss your project and our Design Consultants will help you pick the ideal solution to make your home feel more private.

  

Thinking Outside The Box – Privacy Screens

You once had a wonderfully private property. Until…

  • Trees were cut down
  • Your neighbours renovated or built a new home
  • A new development just popped up
  • You don’t really get along with your neighbours and would prefer to not see them…

Most people think that adding a privacy screen would increase the height of the existing fence for a quick fix but the problem is twofold…

  1. The screen would need to be so large that it would require major construction to withstand wind.
  2. Council regulations restrict heights and widths.

State legislation and local planning laws

You should always check with your local council before making changes to your property but the below rules are generally enforced throughout Australia

  • A front fence has restrictions in height as do boundary fences. As a guide, boundary fences usually have a restriction of 1.8m. In NSW for example, boundary fences are covered by the Dividing Fences Act of 1991. You can read more from NSW Government, Planning & Environment here 
  • Privacy screens can often only be 2.5m in height from ground level and be set to a minimum of 900mm from your boundary fence. They must also be a maximum length of 5 metres wide and between 1.7m – 2.2m in height if attached to a balcony, deck, patio terrace or verandah.

Case Study

A client came to us wanting screening to hide the building next door and also be pool boundary fence compliant for the new pool they built. 

Site Challenges: The size of the building next door meant the privacy screen needed to be at least 3.2m in height. The site was extremely difficult to work with because of the difficult access and narrow space, plus obstructive piping meant there was not much room for footings. 

Solution: Cottesloe bamboo timber screens were redesigned to meet pool compliance for boundary fencing yet keep the louvred aesthetic that client liked. New posts were erected to cater for 3.2m height and the modular screening was attached to the posts.  Privacy was achieved from the large block of flats that looked into the property and pool compliance was achieved. The slatted design meant air flow could still circulate assisting with the wind load creating a lovely backdrop to the pool.

3m tall laminated bamboo pool fence

The textured finish and teak oil finish of the slatted screen also works as a stylish background for the barbecue area that perfectly compliments the modern look of the space.

Click here to find out more about our wide range of fencing and screening options or here if you need pool certification fast and get in touch with our Design Consultants to discuss your project.

  

Everything You Need To Know About Timber Screens

You’ve finished landscaping your garden and installing a barbecue pit in your yard. When you step back and look at your property, however, you can’t help feeling that it’s still missing the finishing touches to make your property private, stylish, and welcoming all at once. 

How about putting up some stylish timber screens? 

Timber is a classic screening material, and for good reason. Versatile timber screen designs can range from rustic to elegant to modern. Here’s everything you need to know about timber screens.

Popular Varieties of timber: one of the first steps to installing a timber screen is choosing the type of wood that best fits your tastes. You might initially be overwhelmed by all the varieties available. What’s the difference between a hardwood and a softwood? Should you choose merbau over jarrah, or vice versa? And what are your options if you want a timber screen that’s specifically coffee-coloured? 

To help you, here’s a brief comparison between hardwoods and softwoods.

Hardwoods

Generally more dense than softwoods, hardwoods are fire-resistant and understandably a bit more costly than softwoods. Here are some hardwood types often used for timber screens:

  • Merbau. Also known as kwila and ipil, this hardwood is often sourced from Southeast Asia, island nations in the Pacific, and northern Queensland. You’ll find this timber in warm red-brown tones. Don’t be surprised to find golden flecks in merbau, as these flecks are part of the timber’s charm!
  • Kempas. Thanks to dense and interlocked grain, kempas timber can be incredibly strong, as well as somewhat heavy. It also boasts of resistance to fungi and wood borers. As for colours, kempas commonly comes in orange-red or yellow-brown hues. This timber accepts stains and finishes well. Tanins are common so be careful when installing as they tend to stain.
  • Jarrah. Australian in origin, jarrah is prized for its durability and versatility. It often comes in rich brown to dark red colours, but it also accepts most finishes well. Moreover, it can also be highly polished for an elegant-looking timber screen.
  • Spotted Gum. This popular hardwood also grows in Australia! Spotted gum is hard enough to be used in numerous applications, from docks to polo sticks to screens in your backyard. Its colours range from light coffee brown to dark chocolate with a tinge of red.
  • Acacia. You might also know this timber as “blackwood.” Acacia timber is easy to work with and can be polished to a shine, making it suitable for indoor timber screens. The heartwood of the acacia tree is a rich, golden brown colour, with growth rings adding reddish streaks.
  • Teak. This Asian timber is highly prized for its natural oil content, which makes it water resistant. It also has a waxy or greasy texture as a result. Teak colours can range from yellowish white to golden brown.
  • Iroko. Sourced from Africa, iroko timber started out as an alternative to teak. It is now a popular timber screening option in its own right, however! Iroko comes in light brown, golden orange, and dark brown.

Softwoods

Despite their name, softwoods are just as suitable for timber screens as hardwoods. However, these timbers are generally lighter and cheaper compared to hardwoods.

  • Pine. Whether it’s sourced from California, New Zealand, or Australia, this cost-effective softwood can be treated to resist both pests and the elements. It is naturally yellowish or whitish in colour. However, it’ll also look lovely with a proper stain.
  • Douglas Fir. Also known as Oregon, Douglas fir can be harvested from either North America or New Zealand. You’ll often see Douglas fir timber in light maple tones, although some specimens can range in colour from yellow brown to pale reddish brown.
  • Red Cedar. It’s versatile, lightweight and durable. Red cedar timber ranges from pale brown to dark reddish brown, though its heartwood, in particular, can have a pink tone at first. As it ages, cedar begins to take on a beautiful grayish tone. It can give off a pleasing aroma if left unsealed for an indoor screen.

Bamboo Timber

Bamboo might not technically be a timber since it is a type of grass but its natural characteristics coupled with modern engineering makes it a very sustainable alternative to timber. Bamboo produces 35% more oxygen than trees and is ready to harvest in as little as 5 years, as opposed to 80 years for Tasmanian oak for example. This flash growth means it can store up to 4 times more carbon dioxide than trees making it a material of choice for specifiers committed to achieving net zero goals. And last but not least, its complex root system binds the earth together, restoring soil health and fighting against soil erosion.

Bamboo not only provides a similar finish to timber, it is also much lighter than hardwoods and harder than softwoods, making it easier to install and extremely durable. Our engineered bamboo received the highest certifications from Global GreenTag guaranteeing sustainable manufacturing practices and non-toxicity.

Common Types of Timber Screens

Once you’ve decided on the type of wood you want for your timber screen, you’ll need to choose a design. Would you prefer horizontal slatsvertical slats, or playful lattice? Read more about your timber screen design options below.

  • Horizontal Slat

Strips of timber laid horizontally can add modern flair to your property. This kind of timber screen can also make your garden look more spacious. They’ll also fit nicely into a feature wall or a unique contemporary facade.

  • Vertical Slat

A timber screen made of tall vertical slats is a stylish way to secure pool certification, as little swimmers will find them impossible to climb! You can also combine vertical and horizontal slats for a one-of-a-kind parquet screen. 

  • Lattice or Trellis 

Lattice timber screens are both classy and easy to install. In some cases, they just need to be framed up or fixed to existing posts. These timber screens are also perfect for older properties, thanks to their timeless charm. You can grow vines on them if you install them outdoors, too.

Timber Screen Finishing Options

Even the loveliest timber screen will neither last nor look its best without a proper finish! You can use any of these five finishing options on your screen as the final step.

1. Oil

Installing a timber screen made of rich teak, kempas, or merbau? Let the natural colours and grains of your timber screen shine through with an oil finish. Oils penetrate into the timber, sealing and protecting it without changing its look too much. It can also enhance the material’s natural colour.

2. Stain

Want to play with the colour of your timber screen? Go for a stain, which will be more pigmented than a decking oil. The pigment in stains can grant protection against UV rays, keeping your timber screen from greying easily. Just remember to add a coat of varnish on top.

3. Varnish

Varnishes are your best bet for clear or natural finishes. More often than not, they create a hard and shiny surface when they dry. Outdoor screens will benefit from the waterproofing effect of long oil varnish, while indoor screens are a perfect match for medium or short oil formulas.

4. Paint

Paint won’t just give your timber screen a vibrant colour, but it can provide a great deal of sun protection, too! Both water-based and oil-based paints will look great on timber, as long as it’s first coated with primer.

5. Wax

A classic timber finish that has been used for centuries, wax is easy to apply and leaves a rich, natural look. It can waterproof your timber screen and keep it from greying, too. Interestingly, you can apply wax over any other finish, let it dry, and buff with a soft cloth for extra shine.

How to Maintain Timber Screens

Once you’ve oiled or stained your screen, it will age and usually grey off unless you maintain it. Here are some tips you’ll want to keep in mind.

  • Refinish Timber Screens Regularly. Dirt, grime, and moss are just some of the gunk that can accumulate on the surface of your timber screen over time. The timber may also gradually turn grey. To revive an aged timber screen, first, give it a good pressure cleaning with a 25-degree tip. Then, add a fresh layer of finish.
  • Repair Damage Quickly. Does your timber screen now feature a crack or a broken section? You’ll want to fix that as soon as you can to keep the damage from worsening. Feel free to ask for professional help to ensure that the job is done right.
  • Trim Nearby Plants. Bushes and branches easily retain moisture, which can eventually pose a problem for your timber screen. They might also block the view of the screen itself. Aside from that, an unkempt garden itself can be a stressful sight.
  • Prevent Termite Infestations. Inspect your screen for termite droppings and mud tubes, which can be early signs of a termite problem. It also helps if the timber screen is regularly subjected to sunlight. There are also certain plants, like catnip or velvet grass, which are being studied for their termite-repellent properties.

3 Advantages of Timber Screens

1. Versatility

You’ll be amazed at the number of creative ways you can use timber screens. Position it in your front yard, use it to round a pool, install it on a balcony, or let it hang over a porch for some interesting shading. You can also divide spaces using timber screens while maintaining an open feeling and letting sunlight through. 

2. Privacy 

A slatted timber screen with closely spaced pieces can serve as a classy privacy screen. You can also choose to make the slats overlap for complete seclusion. A lattice timber screen with lush climbing vines will do the trick just as well.

3. Aesthetics 

The right timber screens can enhance the look of your property. Think of timeless facades paired with contemporary slatted screens. No wonder countless architects and engineers have brought timber screens into their designs.

3 Stunning Bamboo Timber Screen Ideas to Inspire You

Bamboo timber screens can be used for a wide range of applications, from fencing and screening to shading and cladding. Here we look at how you can use slatted bamboo timber screens to secure your pool certification, get some privacy or subtly separate rooms.

Pool Fencing (Suitable for Pool Certification)

Engineered Bamboo Pool Fence - Meets Boundary Pool Fence Requirements

With their stylish timber slat look, slatted engineered bamboo screens are perfect for contemporary designs. Available in raw, teak or black and in five different widths and batten profiles, they allow you to completely transform an old paling fence while getting your pool certified.

Privacy Screen

Elanora Heights - Bamboo Privacy Screen

Hide your neighbours or surrounding unsightly views without blocking light or air flow with slatted bamboo timber screens. Our SeaChange Series® is available in five different batten designs named after Australia’s iconic beaches (Cottesloe, Torquay, Noosa, Sapphire and Sorrento) and all our screens have received the highest certifications from Global GreenTag: a GreenRate Level A and a Platinum Health Rating, guaranteeing sustainable manufacturing practices and non-toxicity.

Sliding Doors and Room Partitions

If you want versatility, bamboo timber screens can be used as sliding room partitions allowing you to alternate between open plan living and distinct rooms. For this project, the owner wanted to separate the gym from the outdoor living space and have the flexibility to hide the space when not in use. The screens needed to be suitable for external use which our Torquay slatted screens achieved perfectly.

For more inspiration, browse our Portfolio here or visit our showrooms in Sydney and Brisbane.

Pool Certification – Bamboo Cladding for Pool Safety

Many of our clients come to us to get their pool certified as all of our natural fencing options can be used to match the required standards for pool boundary fencing. Whether you are after an organic or contemporary look, we can help you obtain your pool certification quickly.

Here are all the options you can choose from to get your pool boundary fence certified with House of Bamboo.

Pool Compliant Fencing Options For Boundary Fence

Bamboo Screens

For an exotic Bali-inspired look, choose bamboo screens to clad an existing ugly fence. Bamboo screens are extremely sturdy, weather resistant, easy to maintain and will add a touch of natural elegance to your pool area. We have various heights and colours to choose from and they can easily be attached to an existing structure. They are the quickest way to achieve your pool boundary fence certification with minimum cost and labour.

You can retain your existing fence and use its structure to attach our bamboo rod screens. This will save you money on not having to rebuild a new fence.

Pictured: Black Bamboo Rod Screens

Boundary Pool Fence - Natural Materials That Meet Requirements

Natureed®

Our trademarked product Natureed® has been used for decades by landscape designers such as Jamie Durie and Brendan Moar. Crafted from the finest quality water reeds, Natureed® contains up to 50% more reeds than similar products on the market. It is a natural water reed with a reddish hue, similar to merbau. Extremely durable, it’s naturally resistant to water and termites. Fit for any use, whether indoors or outdoors and extremely lightweight, Natureed® can easily be attached to existing structures making it an ideal material to achieve pool boundary fence certification quickly.

Pictured: Compliant pool boundary fence composed of Natureed® panels and engineered bamboo screens.

Pool Compliant Fencing

Slatted Bamboo Timber Screens – SeaChange Series®

With their stylish timber slat look, slatted engineered bamboo screens are perfect for contemporary designs. Available in raw, teak or black and in four different profiles, they allow you to completely transform an old paling fence while getting your pool certified.

After spending a considerable amount on a new pool the boundary fence is the finishing touch to really complete the project and give it a wow factor.

Pictured: Black Torquay Boundary Fence by LivingLot.

Pool Fencing - Landscape

Slatted Bamboo Timber Cladding – Symphony Series

If you want full coverage, our solid bamboo timber cladding might be the solution for you. Made from sustainably sourced bamboo, our Symphony Series received the highest certifications from Global GreenTag: a GreenRate Level A and a Platinum Health Rating guaranteeing sustainable manufacture and non-toxicity. Available in several design options with varying slat widths, it compliments beautifully any pool area.

Pictured: Cello 1 Pool Boundary Fence Cladding

For more inspiration, browse our Fencing & Screening solutions here or visit our showrooms in Sydney and Brisbane.

How To Cover Your Colourbond Fence

Colourbond fences are a convenient fencing solution but their industrial look is not for everyone. Whether you prefer an organic or contemporary finish, there are several natural materials you can consider to cover your Colourbond fence, starting with bamboo rod screens and slatted bamboo timber screens.

Organic Look

One of our clients had a few issues with his Colorbond fence and needed to find a solution that addressed all of them.

BEFORE: The Colorbond fence which needed raising & cladding. 

Client’s problem

For this project, the owner had spent a lot on building a new pool and then tiling the surrounds with travertine.

As the project developed, the unattractive Colorbond fence started to become more and more of an eyesore.

They did not want to replace the fence.
They also had to raise it slightly due to the tiling.
The fence then did not meet pool certification regarding height.

House of Bamboo solution

The black rod bamboo fencing was a perfect, relatively inexpensive solution whereby the customer could use the existing fence yet clad it so it complimented the beautiful surrounds and also meet pool requirements.

AFTER: The same fence clad in our natural, sustainable black bamboo 

How to install bamboo rod fencing

It’s so easy to install by fixing batons to your existing Colorbond fence and screwing our black bamboo rod screens to those! They come as a 1200 mm roll with either 1800 or 2400 mm height and are joined with quality stainless steel wire.

See our video for more detailed installation help, or call us on 1300 665 703 for a quote to install yours.

Contemporary Look

Organic black bamboo fencing contrasts beautifully with light coloured pavers but if you prefer a more contemporary look, slatted bamboo timber fencing could be the perfect solution to get your pool certified while giving a modern finish to your pool area.

BEFORE: Dark grey Colourbond fence – Non Certified Pool
AFTER: Modern Slatted Bamboo Fencing – Pool Certification Granted

To view more contemporary fence transformations, click here and see how engineered bamboo fencing can help you improve the look of your outdoor space while getting your pool certified.

Bamboo Flooring: A Look at the Pros and Cons of this Natural Flooring Solution

More and more homeowners now think about sustainability when renovating or building a home resulting into the increased popularity of bamboo as one of the most viable flooring options. In a short time, the shift in customer behaviour has catapulted bamboo to the top of the list of wood flooring solutions. Similar to the traditional materials used in homes – granite, marble and hardwood – bamboo is a natural product. Although it shares many similarities with hardwood, it is a type of grass that can outperform its wood competitors . The more you understand the many properties of bamboo, the more informed you will be when deciding whether a bamboo flooring will work with your lifestyle. So, to get you started, here are the pros and cons of bamboo flooring.

How is Bamboo Flooring Made?

All bamboo flooring is engineered. After harvesting, bamboo shoots are cut, sliced and shredded into long thin strips before they are pressed back together using adhesives and pressure. The end result is a long-lasting wood flooring that is visually similar to hardwood. There are three common types of bamboo flooring.

Vertical bamboo is distinguished by its uniform and textured look, with more seams and edges visible.  
Horizontal bamboo, on the other hand, resembles a typical hardwood only it has distinct knuckles that will tell it is bamboo.
Strand woven are fibres that are compressed through the compression process and bound with a resin.

5 Factors That Affect The Quality Of Bamboo Flooring

Although bamboo floors may appear to be identical, there are actually several differences that set each other apart – and as a provider of sustainable bamboo materials since 1972, we believe that the overall quality of bamboo start with the harvesting, followed by other important factors.

Harvesting:  While bamboo reaches full height in as little as 3 to 4 months, it still takes at least 5 years to achieve its peak density and hardness. Thus, when harvested prematurely, the result is a weaker bamboo flooring.
Drying: Since bamboo largely thrive in sub-tropical environments, it needs to be artificially dried to help it achieve the appropriate moisture content. This process aids in preventing shrinkage of the finished product.
Adhesive: The glue used in high-quality bamboo flooring is a phenolic resin which has low toxicity and meets world health requirements. In cheaper bamboo flooring, a phenol or urea-based adhesive is used as it is lower in cost and contains some amount of formaldehyde.
FSC-Certification: An FSC-certification indicates the bamboo flooring manufacturer values sustainability. It gives you the assurance that you are purchasing FSC-certified material that used bamboo harvested from sustainably managed forests.
Possible Green-Washing: Sadly, greenwashing is widely prevalent even in the bamboo flooring industry due to bamboo’s emerging market potential. Aside from the potentially misleading information, this increase in popularity also brings about a market competition that provides varying floor prices.

Advantages of Bamboo Flooring

Eco-Friendly Bamboo is a highly renewable resource that can reach full maturity in as little as five to seven years. It means that bamboo can be harvested more often than any hardwood tree that can take up to 20 years before it matures – and since bamboo is a grass, it continues to grow without the need for replanting.

Natural Material As homeowners become more eco-conscious, the demand for construction products that reflect their values have reached an all-time high – and bamboo consistently proves to be a better and natural flooring alternative that offers distinct results unfitting for the cookie cutter world.

Easy to Maintain Bamboo flooring is relatively low maintenance – with regular sweeping and mopping, you can keep it clean and looking great for years. All you need is a mild soap or a vinegar-water solution to mop the floor with or if you want to level things up, you can also use a specific bamboo floor cleanser.

Durable Some certain types of bamboo can be remarkably strong and durable. In particular, when properly harvested and processed, natural and un-carbonized bamboo can last as long as hardwood floors, while strand-woven bamboo can be far harder than that.

Stylish Although similar to hardwood in appearance and feel, bamboo flooring still has an exceptional flair – not to mention, a sleek finish – that fits well to a clean and modern aesthetic. Its contemporary appeal has the ability to elevate any space almost instantly.

Variety Another benefit of bamboo flooring is that it comes in a wide range of styles and colours. A natural bamboo is light yellow in colour, but when carbonized, it lends a darker colour to the floor. Stained bamboo, on the other hand, can be made to create abstract streaks in different shades.

Refinishing Potential Over time, bamboo floors can become discoloured, dented and scratched, creating bumps and crevices. But, it’s comforting to know that the surface can be refinished whenever needed, providing a new and even look to the flooring again.

Pest Resistant Bamboo  is naturally immune to insects thus, bamboo floors generally don’t require pesticides to keep the residence free of ten

NOTE: Bamboo is resistant to water due to the polycarbonate coating applied otherwise it will respond the same as any timber floor.

Price The sustainability of bamboo allows the material to be priced considerably lower than traditional hardwood floors, making it a cheaper option for budget-wise re-modelers. It is typically priced at $60 – $80sqm  per square foot. However, you have to take note that cheaper isn’t always better, so it best to do your research first.

Bamboo Floors in Living Room

Disadvantages of Bamboo Flooring

Prone to Scratches 
Although durable, any type of bamboo flooring is susceptible to dents and scratches. Sharp objects such as heeled shoes, furniture legs and pet nails can scratch the floor, as can the dust that accumulate in the floor. But, as mentioned earlier, the damage can be remedied by refinishing the surface.

Water Damage Potential When under normal conditions, bamboo is as water-resistant as traditional hardwood flooring. But, it still is a natural material and prolonged exposure to moisture can result to warping, discolouration and mould growth.

Sensitivity to Humidity In the same manner, bamboo floors can be vulnerable to environments that are too dry or too humid. Dry air can result to shrinking of the bamboo planks while humid air can plump them up. Either way, the planks will likely crack and split.

Potential Lack of Hardness If bamboo isn’t allowed to fully mature before it is harvested, the flooring will be soft and non-durable. Likewise, darker bamboo planks are typically softer, as the carbonization process they have gone through can weaken them structurally.

Style Limitations Although the contemporary look of bamboo is the factor that makes it an ideal option for most homeowners, it is the same trendy vibe that may reduce its versatility in interior designing. Its aesthetic appeal may only be suitable to modern aesthetics.

Possible Toxins Emission Low quality bamboo floors may potentially contain high levels of toxic chemicals. In most cases, the adhesive used in the manufacturing process can release VOCs or volatile organic chemicals, which over time can contribute to air pollution in the surrounding.

TIP: To ensure the safety of your family, purchase from a manufacturer that sells low-VOC products.

Lack of Grading System Most of the natural building materials available come with a grading system that rates the quality of the product. However, there is not an established grading system to rate bamboo floors yet, so there’s a higher chance that you mistakenly purchase poor quality planks. To avoid this, it is crucial to do your research on the brands you consider.

Is Bamboo For You?

Both the list of the advantages and disadvantages of bamboo flooring can go on. However, you can reduce the risk that often comes with opting for this type of flooring by responsibly selecting high-quality bamboo for your floors and maintaining them properly. At a time where the construction industry produces 40% of all global waste, natural materials are the most sustainable way to build and decorate your home.

If you’d like to discuss your residential or commercial projects with House of Bamboo Design Consultants, call 1300 665 703 or chat with us online at houseofbamboo.com.au 

Everything you envision in timber, can be made with bamboo.

Despite its tubular shape, bamboo can now be engineered into Glubam (or glued laminated bamboo) to provide the exact same finish as timber.

The timber shortage is currently impacting projects worldwide but bamboo being one of the world’s most sustainable resources it is not only plentiful but good for the environment.

With their timber-like finish, Glubam cladding and slats perfectly suit a modern aesthetic.

Scroll down for stylish timber interiors and exteriors and find out how you can replicate these contemporary designs with bamboo.

Find out more about this sustainable timber alternative here or call House of Bamboo® Design Consultants on 1300 665 703 to discuss your projects. 

(Pictured above: Casa Fly by Beef Architekti. Recreate this look with our Symphony collection of slatted cladding)

Hayman Spa by KYDesign – Custom Louvres.
A Long House – ADX Architects. Recreate this look with our Silhouette range of room partitions.
Wooden House on a Meadow – Ultra Architects. Take your ceiling to new heights with our SeaChange Collection of battens and screens.
House F – Elphick Proome Architects. Recreate this look with our Cognac Decking and SeaChange Collection of battens.
Three Malvin Triplexes – Estudio Cabrera. Recreate this design with battens and slat from our SeaChange collection.
Paris Triplex – Bertina Minel Architecture. Recreate this look with our Symphony Collection of slatted cladding.
Tianjian Vision Hill Plaza – Origin Architects. Create modular designs with our SeaChange collection of battens and slats.

For more inspiration, browse our Engineered/Contemporary collection of natural materials here.

[]