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history of bamboo

Bamboo is a member of the true grass family, the very same family that includes many grains commonly grown for food. There are roughly 1,000 species grown in the world, including Mao bamboo, the type most often used for floors, and giant species that can grow up to a hundred feet tall! Bamboo holds great economic and cultural significance in East and South East Asian culture, so it's no surprise that much of the world's supply is sourced from that area.

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Bamboo – The Sustainable Resource

One of the great draws of bamboo and bamboo flooring throughout history is its sustainability. It is fully mature and ready to harvest after only five to seven years of growth. The growing cycle is fairly consistent. In spring, the root of the bamboo, known as the culm, begins growing, developing branches and increasing in height. Within 5–8 weeks, most varieties have reached their mature height, or close to it – a growing period so fast that you can almost see it grow right before your eyes. From there, bamboo simply needs to mature internally before it's suitable to harvest for use in flooring.

Bamboo is very easy to cultivate. The only real difficulty in growing it is that it must be restrained so it doesn't spread too far. The two varieties of bamboo, known as "running" and "clumping", can easily overtake the area they inhabit if they're not held back. The ease of growing and harvesting bamboo makes it one of the most renewable natural resources you'll find in the flooring industry.

Bamboo Floors Today

Although bamboo flooring has been used throughout history (since China's Ming Dynasty in fact), it only recently came into heavy use in the United States in the late nineties, after an initial stage of resistance. Early consumers assumed that American bamboo was the source of bamboo flooring, which was incorrect. The most common variety of floor uses Mao bamboo, a stronger, harder variety native to Asia. In fact, bamboo floors have a hardness rating higher than many types of wood used for hardwood flooring, including white oak and hard maple.

Bamboo floors has seen a recent surge in popularity due to their sustainability, as a bamboo floor is one of the most environmentally friendly elements you can add to your home. The high quality means that making a decision to purchase isn't only good for the environment, it's good for your home. With eco–consciousness on the minds of many, the popularity of bamboo flooring will likely continue to grow in the years to come.

Image of Bamboo Temple and Garden