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The Best Bamboo Building Materials

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The Best Bamboo Building Materials

Bamboo, a type of giant, wood-like grass, is a commonly overlooked building material. People around the world have, for centuries, used bamboo in the creation of buildings, furniture, and other such structures. Despite this, the discovery and implementation of other materials, such as the varying types of hardwoods and metals, has led to bamboo being pushed aside in lieu of the use of these materials. But, with the modern need to find more suitable renewable resources for the ever-growing human population, backed by the need to "go green", bamboo is making a strong comeback.

Finding the right bamboo building materials, however, entails looking in the right place, as bamboo is often hastily harvested to save money and meet high demands, therefore, sacrificing quality. This is not always the case, but prospective buyers should know where to look and what to look for to ensure desired quality is met.

About Bamboo

Bamboo is a universal plant that can be used for a wide array of items, such as a building material, as well as other common household items, such as clothing and towels. As bamboo is found nearly anywhere in the world, barring regions with extremely cold climates, it has been a longtime choice of many people due to both the structural integrity and because it is such a quick-growing renewable resource. Typically, trees that are chopped down and used for wood take about 60 years to grow to full maturity, making trees more and more scarce. Bamboo, on the other hand, typically takes only a few years to grow before it is strong enough to be used for building purposes. The earliest recordings of the use of bamboo in the everyday lives of humans can be found in China, where bamboo was used for anything from paper to building materials to arrows and nearly anything in between.

In fact, modern research, as well as the demonstration of practical examples of its integrity, has proven that bamboo can be just as structurally sound as steel and concrete, but at only a fraction of the weight of either. One such demonstration of a practical example of bamboo's structural integrity in comparison to steel and concrete could be found as recently as 1991, when a 7.7 magnitude earthquake rocked Costa Rica. At the epicentre of the disaster, brick and concrete buildings were reduced to rubble. However, a set of about 20 bamboo structures that had been placed in the same area were virtually unaffected, as not a single one of them displayed even a crack. This, coupled with its lightweight in comparison to steel and concrete, can prove to be a revolutionary building material for those who live in areas that run a high risk of earthquakes. Even if a bamboo building collapses on people, while casualties may occur, a lower risk of this devastation is present as the bamboo structure may be less likely to crush its victims.

Bamboo Building Materials

Bamboo is one of the best building materials around in many ways. It is a quick-growing renewable resource, eco-friendly, and offers greater durability than wood and concrete, is structurally comparative to steel, and is lighter than all three. In addition, it is more resistant to pests and pathogens than wood, as it contains a natural bio-agent known as "bamboo kun". However, it does not mean that bamboo is without flaw, and there are some extreme exceptions in some cases.

Horror stories of pest-infested bamboo chutes, cheaply made bamboo building materials, and discolouration have turned some away from bamboo altogether. Because of this, choosing the best bamboo building materials means keeping a few important items in mind. Such items include the original location of the bamboo, as well as a company's willingness to disclose the source of their bamboo products. Other factors to consider are price and age.

Company Disclosure of Bamboo Origin

The first step in ensuring quality bamboo is being purchased is to know from where the bamboo is coming. Many companies who openly discuss with their customers where the bamboo came from are the most trustworthy, and offer regulations of their own when it comes to purchasing quality, non-toxic bamboo. This is important because of the shoddy labour practices commonly associated with certain foreign countries from where bamboo is commonly grown and exported.

Because there are no government standards for the production and treatment of bamboo, many companies may use harmful chemicals in the treatment of the wood, such as high amounts of urea formaldehyde. Another example of a bad practice often utilised is the premature harvesting of bamboo, which results in lower quality bamboo. Additionally, there are no regulations in many countries as to where the bamboo comes from, meaning many bamboo companies may opt to buy from those companies in certain countries that do not follow the best practices.

Price

As is the case with nearly anything else in the world, cheaper products are usually the result of cheaper production methods, which, in turn, means a sacrifice in quality. Buying more expensive bamboo materials means higher quality is achieved, whereas cheaper bamboo materials usually result in diminished quality. One way bamboo cultivators offer lower prices is by harvesting prematurely, which means more crop rotations. However, this means the bamboo has less time to develop, and means that these bamboo products are not as strong as their more mature counterparts.

Age

Bamboo is used for many different products. Such products include baskets, boards, and other such construction materials. In addition, bamboo can also be consumed as food. But the age of the bamboo determines the best functions of such products, as it retains different properties throughout the course of its life.

Age Range

Optimal Use

Less than 30 days

Food consumption

6 to 9 months

Baskets and similar products

2 to 3 years

Boards and lamination products

3 to 6 years

Construction materials

6 years and up

Construction, though gradually loses strength over time

 

As seen above, the optimal age range for bamboo boards is two to three years, whereas the optimal age for bamboo construction materials is three to six years. As mentioned before, prematurely harvested bamboo can sacrifice quality, so for those looking to use bamboo as a building material, it is important to purchase bamboo that has aged appropriately to suit the needs of the job that is to be done.

Buying Bamboo Materials on eBay

Buying the best bamboo materials on eBay may, at first, seem trickier than buying from a trusted retailer, although retailers with shops on eBay can prove to have the same answers as other online and in-shop businesses. The most important factors that determine if you receive high-quality bamboo are the appropriate age of the wood for the type of product, and that the bamboo is free from toxic chemicals.

To find bamboo building materials on eBay, simply search for the keyword "bamboo" in the search bar. Further refinement of the search can be achieved by either following the keyword search with a more specific term relating to the desired product, which commonly includes cabinetry, flooring, fencing, and decking, to name a few, or by browsing by category. It is also wise to search eBay Deals for more discounts on bamboo products.

Conclusion

For centuries, bamboo has been used as a durable building material. Since it's the fastest growing plant on the planet, as well as being one of the strongest, it's suitable for many different building purposes, whether it is for furniture, gardening structures, or buildings in general. It's a renewable resource that grows in a fraction of the time of most trees, and is much lighter than wood, concrete, and steel, while retaining the durability of the latter material, making it also much safer to use than other types of building materials. The only drawback to bamboo usage is that countries with no government regulations are the main exporters of bamboo, meaning it is imperative to find a company that fully discloses the source of origin, as they are often the companies that regulate which products go into the treatment of the bamboo that they buy and sell to their customers.

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