Bamboo : what use in construction ? Pros and cons

Bamboo is a material that has been used for thousands of years in Asia in many fields. This fast-growing plant is indeed used for furniture, textiles, construction and even food. This amazing plant is extremely light and above all strong and resistant, which makes it increasingly attractive. Practical for erecting fences, walls, frames, floors and partitions, it can be used for the construction of an entire house or public buildings. Discover the different uses of bamboo in construction as well as its advantages and disadvantages.

How to use bamboo in construction?

If more and more manufacturers are using bamboo, it is not without reason. This material at a very attractive cost is ecological and above all extremely solid and resistant. For many years, it has been used in Asia and around the world to build scaffolding, houses, villas, public buildings, universities, etc.

Useful for building partitions and floors, it is appreciated for its many qualities. In addition, it is profitable since bamboo is a plant that grows very quickly, up to one meter per day! The wood of its stems is very hard and extremely strong, but also able to adapt to all climates, which allows it to be harvested and used on almost all continents.

In Asia, the use of bamboo is cultural and has been practiced since the Neolithic period. It is used for construction, but also for measuring and manufacturing many everyday objects. It can even be eaten. More than 80% of homes and buildings in general on this continent are made of bamboo, including most bridges. As for the bamboo scaffolding, they can rise up to 400 meters in height to allow the erection of immense towers.

Bamboo is a suitable material for construction because it is very light and incredibly strong. Indeed, bamboo fiber resists a maximum pressure of 40 kg/mm, against 5 kg/mm ​​for wood.

If it is very useful for the structure of constructions, it is also used as a floor covering. In fact, bamboo floors are twice as resistant as oak floors. Fences, frames, walls, beams… bamboo makes it possible to build an entire house, including for its fittings insofar as it is used in furniture and textiles.

What are the benefits of bamboo?

Bamboo is a material that has many advantages in construction.

A strong material

Bamboo is an ideal solid material in the field of construction. Indeed, it is more resistant than other types of wood, but also lighter than concrete or steel. It is also easier to work with, more resistant to bad weather and climatic variations, but also more solid in the event of an earthquake.

An aesthetic material

Bamboo is a beautiful looking material. While it does not look as noble as European woods, it is ideal for interior decoration and for the construction of many elements, whether houses or bridges and public buildings.

Both beautiful and neutral, it blends into any atmosphere and matches any style.

An ecological material

Bamboo is an extremely fast growing plant. Its use therefore has no impact on the environment. In addition, the cultivation of bamboo is ideal for preventing soil erosion, as it promotes water infiltration thanks to its dense roots to a depth of 60 cm and its small, narrow leaves. It helps remove toxins from the soil and restore depleted soils.

It is a plant known to reduce the amount of carbon dioxide in the air more than other species and also to release more oxygen into the atmosphere. Indeed, it fixes up to 12 tons of CO2 per hectare and per year, compared to 3 tonnes for hardwoods.

Bamboo grows in just one year, without fertilizers or pesticides. After three years, it matures and it can be used after four years.

A recyclable material

Bamboo also has the advantage of being fully recyclable. Its waste can indeed be used for the cultivation of new plants and to create fertilizer.

What are the disadvantages of bamboo?

Despite its many advantages, bamboo has a major drawback: the other side of the environmental coin. Indeed, the growing demand for bamboo for construction leads to overproduction and intensive exploitation of a plant established in an environment that is not its own, to the detriment of other species and plant species that are disappearing. Its cultivation therefore has a direct impact on the surrounding ecosystems. Some species of bamboo are also particularly invasive and colonize phenomenal areas in a very short time.

But that’s not all ! If its culture does not require any chemical product, this is not the case for its transformation, which uses soda and hydrogen sulphide.

Finally, bamboo species dedicated to construction are not yet produced in Europe or North America. They are therefore imported from Asia and Latin America, a transport that has an impact on the environment.

In addition, it should be noted that the growing culture of bamboo has given rise to abuses. Small producers sell at a loss to wealthy traders and make a difficult living from their work. Moreover, to produce more and transform bamboo, it is not uncommon for it to be cut too early, which leads to the manufacture of poor quality products, the fiber having not reached maturity.

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