Strand woven bamboo flooring is a type of sustainable flooring because it is made from the renewable resource. Reclaimed hardwood flooring is not made from a renewable resource, but instead from a ‘recycled’ resource. Reclaimed hardwood flooring is not made from recycled wood – namely wood that is pulped and compressed into blocks. Reclaimed hardwood flooring is made from hardwood that has been rescued from demolished buildings, refurbishing jobs, park waste, fences, abandoned outhouses, barns, mine shafts and even from the bottom of rivers and lakes.
One of the key advantages that reclaimed hardwood has is that it is a product with a very low carbon footprint. It can be sourced, made and sold locally to cut down on carbon costs connected to transport. And furthermore, to make reclaimed hardwood flooring is not a carbon intensive process – the reclaimed wood is kiln dried and then it is cut into flooring planks.
In contrast strand woven bamboo flooring has a much higher carbon footprint. It is made by an industrial process where it is cut into strips then boiled to remove sugars and finally compressed under heat with a low VOC adhesive. To add to the carbon footprint of strand woven bamboo flooring is then shipped to the main markets for flooring in Europe and America.
Although reclaimed hardwood flooring comes in a variety of forms (depending on the hardwood that has been reclaimed) it is often full of nail holes, dents and other marks. This is called the ‘rustic’ look. Some people find it breathtaking in its originality and charm, for others blemishes are deficiencies.
In terms of price, reclaimed hardwood flooring is normally more expensive than strand woven bamboo flooring. It is also more costly to install as most people pay for professional installation instead of going the DIY route. In contrast lots of people manage to install strand woven bamboo flooring themselves.
Both strand woven bamboo flooring and reclaimed hardwood flooring are anti allergenic because they provide no place for dust mites to breed. Bamboo flooring is also antimicrobial. This is a characteristic that no hardwood has.
While there is plenty of hardwood to reclaim, reclaimed hardwood is an excellent choice of sustainable flooring. The biggest problem for strand woven bamboo flooring is that it has a much larger carbon footprint. However, this is somewhat mitigated by the long lifetime of the flooring.