One reason that hardwood flooring is attractive to the conscientious homeowner is that it is durable. A hardwood floor that is installed properly and maintained correctly enhances the beauty of the room for many years. In addition to durability, however, there are many homeowners who seek “green” options when choosing hardwood flooring. Sustainability is a key factor for these homeowners. Two hardwood options that offer both durability and are sustainably harvested are bamboo and hevea.
Bamboo is one of the fastest growing hardwood species that is used for flooring. In fact, bamboo can almost be considered to be a weed. The moso bamboo is the variety that is most commonly harvested for use. It spreads rapidly through a network of underground rhizomes, and can grow 12″ per day in a favorable environment. It ultimately reaches a height of 40 to 50 feet. As a flooring material, bamboo is extremely versatile. It comes in a range of shades and grains, and can better withstand temperature and humidity variations than many of the more traditional hardwoods. In addition, bamboo can be laid over many different subflooring options. This reduces the cost of installation and allows this flooring material to be used in many different applications.
Rubberwood, or Hevea brasiliensis, is an environmentally farmed timber that tests indicate to be stronger than red oak. Hevea trees are grown in Malaysia and tapped for their latex sap, which is converted into rubber. Once a tree has reached 30 years of age, it is then cut and the wood used for flooring or furniture. The wood is kiln dried, making it less prone to shrinkage. It is extremely stable when used as a construction material. Hevea is normally a blonde to medium tan color, but can be stained to meet a homeowner’s requirements. Hevea flooring that is installed in a humid environment, such as a laundry room or bathroom, may require special cleaning periodically as it can become coated with fungus or algae. This won’t cause decay, but it will darken the wood.
Most manufacturers and distributors of bamboo and hevea flooring offer 25 to 30 year guarantees on their flooring. This solid backing along with the sustainable nature of these hardwoods make both ideal choices for almost any flooring project.