Buying Bamboo Flooring

By Ellen Swandiak / September 10, 2011

How truly environmentally-friendly is the flooring?

Environmental friendliness is a big draw for many consumers-but not all bamboo is truly kind to the environment. Bamboo should not only be sustainably harvested (and manufactured in an ISO-9001 and 14001 certified factory) but also feature components such as water-based, solvent-free, low VOC finishes and a manufacturing adhesive that meets or surpasses stringent European (E0) standards for off-gassing formaldehyde. Teragren’s proprietary manufacturing adhesive emits less formaldehyde than allowed by U.S. OSHA, European E0, CARB Phase 1 and Phase 2, and Japanese JIS/JAS emissions standards Only a true manufacturer can provide this documentation. Teragren’s products also originate from factories with Chain of Custody (COC) certification from the Forest Stewardship Council.

Is the bamboo flooring coming from a reputable manufacturer, or from an importer or trading house purchasing from any factory or multiple factories based primarily on the lowest price?

Much of the bamboo sold in North America is grown in China. However, quality control standards in China, where most bamboo flooring is also produced, are inconsistent. There is little industry oversight, and neither China nor the U.S. has created an independent grading system. Consumers should ask retailers or other suppliers if the manufacturer uses a system of quality control and grading standards.

Will the product offer lasting value?

Bamboo products that are properly harvested and manufactured can add a beautiful new dimension to green home furnishings. However, it’s important for consumers to consider a products’ long-term value before making a purchase. While some bamboo flooring may be less expensive, it’s also more likely to have been harvested prematurely, making it susceptible to denting or warping. A shorter product life-span negates the eco-friendly aspects-and results in higher costs in the long run.

Ellen Swandiak
Ellen Swandiak

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