Q and A: EcoTimber CEO Says Woven Bamboo Has Better Environmental Footprint

By Lisa Iannucci, Green Building Correspondent EcoTimber, a supplier of wood products from environmentally sound sources in San Rafael, Calif., created a new, patented woven bamboo flooring product. This is a new form of bamboo flooring from sustainably-harvested, rapidly-renewable, Timber Bamboo. Grown without pesticides, herbicides or chemical fertilizers, this woven bamboo can be sanded and refinished just like hardwood.EcoTimber CEO, Lewis Buchner, talks to MHN about the company’s new product and what can be expected in the future.MHN: What is “woven bamboo”?Buchner: Woven bamboo is made from long strands of bamboo about the size of a chopstick, mixed with a non-formaldehyde resin, and pressed under tremendous pressure. The result is a flooring plank that looks more like hardwood than bamboo, and is almost three times as hard.MHN: How should woven bamboo flooring be used? Buchner: Woven bamboo is suitable for new construction or for remodeling. Since it looks more like hardwood, it would blend well into an older home. Because of its extreme durability, woven bamboo is also suitable for homes with children and dogs and for retail and commercial applications.MHN: What are the biggest misconceptions homeowners have about bamboo flooring?Buchner: Regular bamboo (not woven bamboo) is a good flooring product, but it is not as durable as many people assume. In addition, although bamboo grows very fast and is an alternative to wood for flooring, we believe that using a wood product that comes from an FSC-certified forest actually has a better environmental footprint than bamboo.  MHN: You developed a new bamboo flooring product. What other changes can we expect when it comes to bamboo being used as a flooring product?Buchner: There is a lot of experimentation going on right now with woven bamboo laminated to a regular bamboo core to make a floating floor product, woven bamboo on a wood core, different methods to color woven bamboo, end grain bamboo, etc. A lot of these products look very interesting, but do not pass our test lab when it comes to their durability or their ability to perform in some of the dryer climates that we have in the U.S. (Colorado, New Mexico, etc).