The word “bamboo” refers to many types of flowering, perennial evergreen plants in the grass family. In fact, there are over 1,400 different species of bamboo. They grow in such diverse areas as East Asia, Northern Australia, and mid-Atlantic United States.
There are many benefits of using bamboo as a building material. We’ve put together a list of five of the biggest benefits.
When cultivated, harvested, prepared, and stored correctly, bamboo is as strong as many hardwoods. The strongest part of a bamboo stalk is its nodes, which is where branching occurs. According to Discover Magazine, ”Ounce for ounce, bamboo is stronger than wood, brick, and concrete...A short, straight column of bamboo with a top surface area of 10 square centimeters could support an 11,000-pound elephant.”
Especially compared to hardwoods, bamboo is extremely light. Heavy machinery like cranes are seldom needed when working with bamboo, and it is much easier to transport bamboo than heavier building materials.
While bamboo is naturally round, it can be trained to grow in different shapes. If a growing stalk is compressed within a square form, the resulting bamboo will be square in shape. Its great capacity for shock absorption makes it an incredibly useful building material in areas that are prone to earthquakes.
Worldwide, bamboos are some of the fastest-growing plants. Growth rates depend on species, local soil, and climate condition. During the growing season, a typical growth rate for many commonly grown bamboos in temperate climates is approximately 1.2–3.9 inches per day. Some species can grow 35 inches in a 24 hour period, and there has actually been reported growth of 98 inches in a 24 hour period. This fast growth rate contributes to bamboo being considered sustainable and renewable. Bamboo forests can generally be harvested every 3-6 years. Compared to 8 years for Poplar trees and 25 years for fir trees, it is much easier to replace bamboo growth than most hardwoods.
Building with bamboo can be very beneficial as well as give you a unique look.