Bamboo: what use in construction? Advantages and disadvantages

Bamboo has been a material used for millennia 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 more and more attractive. Convenient for erecting fences, walls, frames, floors and partitions, it can be used in 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 builders 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 or even 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 at very high speed, 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 era. It is used for construction, but also for measurements and for the manufacture of many everyday objects. It can even be eaten. More than 80% of dwellings and buildings in general on this continent are made of bamboo, including most bridges. As for bamboo scaffolding, they can rise up to 400 meters in height to allow the erection of huge towers.

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

While it is very useful for the structure of buildings, it also serves as a floor covering. In fact, bamboo floors are twice as resistant as oak ones. Fences, frames, walls, beams… bamboo can make an entire house, including for its layout 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 solid material

Bamboo is an ideal solid material in the construction industry. Indeed, it is more resistant than other types of wood, but also lighter than concrete or steel. It is also easier to work, 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 items, whether houses or bridges and public buildings.

Both beautiful and neutral, it blends in with all atmospheres and goes with all styles.

An ecological material

Bamboo is an extremely fast growing plant. Its use therefore has no impact on the environment. In addition, growing 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 to remove toxins from the soil and restore impoverished soils.

It is a plant known to further reduce the amount of carbon dioxide in the air than other essences and also to diffuse 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 a year, without fertilizers or pesticides. After three years, it matures and can be harvested after four years.

A recyclable material

Bamboo also has the advantage of being fully recyclable. Its waste can in fact be used for growing new plants and for creating fertilizer.

What are the disadvantages of bamboo?

Despite its many advantages, bamboo has one major drawback: the other side of the coin when it comes to ecological matters. 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 which are disappearing. Its cultivation therefore has a direct impact on the surrounding ecosystems. Some bamboo species 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 chemicals, it is not the case for its transformation, which uses soda and hydrogen sulfide.

Finally, bamboo species dedicated to construction have not yet been 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 cultivation of bamboo has given rise to drifts. Small producers sell at a loss to wealthy traders and make a difficult living from their work. Moreover, to produce more and process bamboo, it is not uncommon for it to be cut too early, which leads to the production of poor quality products, the fiber not having reached its maturity.

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