Outdoor bamboo decking is one of those things that has eluded us for years. Sure, bamboo can make for some nice furniture and even beautiful indoor flooring. But, it has never been feasible as a material for a lasting deck in place of traditional timber decking. What if things had changed? What if things were different? What if outdoor bamboo decking was a reality rather than a fantasy? Read on and find out.
Why Bamboo Decking?
We have used traditional hardwood and softwood timber decking for years, and they have done alright. Why do we suddenly need to switch over to bamboo decking for the outdoors? Well, it is not necessarily that we need to—yet. However, we should, and there are a number of reasons why.
Traditional Timber Decking and Its Effect on the Environment
It should come as no surprise that deforestation is a real-world issue that we deal with on a daily if not hourly basis. Deforestation destroys the habitats of millions of species. Some seventy per cent of land-dwelling animal and plant species can be found in forests, according to National Geographic. If we destroy the forests that these species live in, they will never be seen again. This is a lesson in biodiversity, which some may find unimportant, but imagine an undiscovered plant that contains within its genetic code the cure to fight off a certain strand of cancer or other diseases. We may have already lost it, or it may already be gone.
Deforestation is also responsible for dramatic climate change. The soil of forests is moist, allowing water vapor to be returned to the atmosphere to perpetuate a cycle of precipitation. The reason the soils are moist, however, is a direct response to being protected by the canopy of trees. When deforestation takes over, that once lush forest can easily turn into a barren desert. By removing trees through deforestation, we are also eliminating an important factor in absorbing and mitigating damage done by greenhouse gases, which deteriorate our atmosphere. It is estimated that our rain forests could be completely wiped out within the next century due to deforestation.
According to the United Nations Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO), we have seen the rate of deforestation decrease over the past decade. Still an area roughly equivalent to Costa Rica—or roughly about 51100 square kilometres—is decimated by these somewhat controlled deforestation efforts. To see more on how the deforestation of our planet is estimated, check out this awesome Google Layer by David Tryse.
Why all this Talk about Deforestation? I thought this was About Outdoor Bamboo Decking.
We are definitely still talking about outdoor bamboo decking, but to understand the solution, you sometimes need to understand the problem a bit better. Consider that one of the efforts that have been made to limit the damage by deforestation is to plant new trees in an effort to replace those that have been cut down. Traditional hardwood timber decking comes from trees that must grow for between 50 and 75 years. So, if you keep cutting down trees to make furniture, and timber decking, and building frames, you are not going to be able to actually replace those trees for another half a century or more! Think about this as well, a five year old tree does not have as much ability to protect the earth below it or scrub the air for greenhouse gases as the hundred plus year old tree that it was planted to replace.
Outdoor bamboo decking, when done properly, comes from a different source. While we are comparing multiple timber species, comparing bamboo with other timber is akin to comparing apples and oranges. It is a very different thing.
When you consider 100 million acres of hardwood timber trees are cut down on a weekly basis, how does this change with bamboo decking?
First, bamboo matures within five to seven years. In fact, it is not much good to us for long after it hits that seven-year mark. It is a resource that was seemingly designed to be replenished regularly. The fast-growing nature of bamboo makes outdoor bamboo decking a highly sustainable product. Beyond that, bamboo has been rated to release up to 35% more oxygen back into the atmosphere than comparative hardwood timber supplying trees.
Outdoor Bamboo Decking is Highly Sustainable
Okay, it is great that bamboo is a sustainable product, but what does that mean for me, right? Well, it means several things. As we’ve already discussed, it makes for an environmentally friendly product. It is better for the environment because it grows faster and it produces more oxygen. This means more clean air and we do not need to cut down as many slowly aging, traditional hardwood timber trees.
There are some things you might not think about when dealing with an environmentally sound product like outdoor bamboo decking. First, of course, you are doing something for the planet now, but also for your children, grandchildren, great-grandchildren. Next, because you are using a more environmentally friendly product, others are going to see and want to join in. The great thing about this is: unlike many new sustainable, “green” products, the price does not skyrocket just because it is what it is. Instead, as outdoor bamboo decking becomes more popular, we are going to see more of it being produced. This is going to have a few effects. One, you’ll be seeing more bamboo planted, which is going to incrementally make a marked improvement on the oxygen provided by the trees. Two, you are going to see more production, so there is a better chance that the product will go down or stay the same in price rather than going up.
The price of outdoor bamboo decking is already going to be a bit less, because while the bamboo suppliers are under strict regulations by the Chinese government in how to manage their crops, they are not under the stringent rule of other ecological watchdogs, because they are not performing anything that even resembles deforestation.
Outdoor Bamboo Decking: Be Careful
One of the biggest problems with having outdoor bamboo decking—particularly in the harsh climates of Australia—is that most bamboo is what they call stranded or strand-woven. This manufacturing technique can lead to several issues, and it is exactly why it does not work well for outdoor bamboo decking. The process that strand woven bamboo undergoes does not weatherproof it or even properly seal it from standard water damage. When you have a spill on strand woven bamboo indoor flooring, you are instructed to thoroughly wipe it up, clean the area, and dry it as quickly as possible. This is because the moisture could easily get into the strand woven bamboo fibres or the sugars and other chemicals could react with the adhesives used to create the strand woven bamboo.
Now, if the bamboo used to create that gorgeous indoor flooring can’t really withstand the test of time when a cup of water is dropped on it, is it something you want outside, standing up to wind, rain, snow, and more? Of course not! You are going to want to make sure you have something that is more thoroughly tested and proven against the various climates and weather conditions Australia has to offer.
Until recently, there really has not been a product on a market that could do this. But now, there is a single product out there specifically designed for outdoor bamboo decking. Why?
Because it is…
- Stronger than traditional hardwood timber decking
- Strictly regulated and harvested to guarantee the best quality
- Highly sustainable and environmentally friendly
Deck-Max Outdoor Bamboo Decking
Deck-Max, the leader in Australian timber decking has been hard at work for the past several years in developing a solution that would fit our customers’ and the environment’s needs. Their new line of bamboo decking offers this solution for tradesmen and DIYers. The natural beauty of bamboo—outside.
It is the world’s first outdoor bamboo decking that has the patented groove and end-match system as developed by Deck-Max. This is the same timber decking solution system that has made major waves in the Australian and international timber decking markets for the past few years. Their innovation does not stop with one great product. Instead, they are always looking onward to see how they can do it better.
Efficiency, speed, ease, and cost—these are the core tenants of the Deck-Max philosophy. They work hard developing decking materials and decking solutions that will fit any budget, any place. Whether it is a commercial project of several thousand square metres or a small patio in your own backyard, Deck-Max timber decking and bamboo decking will fit the style and look you are looking for. The brilliant “no nails” solution will help your decking to last longer, be more appealing, and provides a safer solution all around.
As a leader in timber decking solutions, Deck-max has worked to educate the professional and layman consumer. They will continue to do so. Because, the better educated our customer is, the more likely they are to make the right choice when building their deck and the more likely they are in sharing information with the company. What makes a better deck? What makes their job easier?
The outdoor bamboo decking solution provided by Deck-Max has proven to last longer and be stronger than other solutions. It has cut down the time and cost on projects due to its unique manufacturing process and design. This includes being pre-laminated and coated, so the decking installer does not need to waste time or money on sealing and re-sealing the bamboo decking.
Laminated bamboo decking has also been tested to be about as strong as soft steel. Because of the pattern of its grain, the chance for breaking and cracking is negligible, especially when compared to traditional hardwood decking. It has a unique fibre-like quality that allows play unlike other traditional hardwood decking as well, so it can withstand more pressure in any direction including strong winds that might tear or shear other forms of timber decking.
Other Uses for Outdoor Bamboo Decking
Just because the bamboo decking from Deck-Max is specifically situated as a product to be used outside does not mean that is all it is good for. It also works well for indoor projects. Remember, earlier we talked about spillage on traditional strand woven bamboo? While it still needs to be cleaned, the risk of damage from a spill on the bamboo decking by Deck-Max is greatly reduced. The sharp, natural colouring makes for an excellent product for indoor design and renovation as well.
The highly specialised processes that the outdoor bamboo decking undergoes can also be taken with other products that will look great around your home, office, and deck. So, tables, chairs, and storage boxes can all be made from the same great bamboo. It is going to work better and be better than traditional strand woven bamboo.