various types of hardwood and bamboo plywood sheets stacked on top of each other

Bamboo plywood is being recognized as a green alternative material to hardwood for furniture. But as people consider the transition from hardwood to bamboo plywood, they wonder what the material’s benefits and drawbacks are. 

So, should you consider bamboo plywood sheets?

This article will evaluate the benefits and drawbacks of using bamboo plywood sheets to make furniture and infrastructure. 

So let’s get started!

Should You Consider Bamboo Plywood Sheets? 

Bamboo plywood sheets are worth consideration because they’re strong, durable, pest resistant, environmentally friendly, and versatile. However, there are some limitations you should be aware of, too; bamboo plywood sheets are scratch-prone, moisture sensitive, and may expose you to toxic fumes.

Now let’s dig deeperer into these benefits and drawbacks.

Pros of Bamboo Plywood Sheets

The utility and aesthetics combined with the environmental friendliness of bamboo plywood sheets are the properties that make them increasingly popular among people as raw materials for household furniture and general infrastructure. 

Closeup on a subdued grain bamboo door

So let’s take a closer look at the appeal of bamboo plywood. 

Strength and Durability

Robustness is a significant reason why bamboo plywood sheets are rising to fame compared to hardwood sheets. Bamboo not only hits the mark regarding material strength but also outperforms most hardwood materials like pines, white oaks, maples, and more.

And this isn’t just a marginal difference in strength we’re talking about here; bamboo plywood is about twice as hard as most hardwoods. 

Perhaps what’s more shocking is that bamboo is known to have a tensile strength that exceeds that of steel! This quality really puts the material’s strength into perspective.

This high strength also translates into high durability, meaning anything made through bamboo plywood is built to last long‚yet another property that makes bamboo an excellent material choice for building furniture and infrastructure.

If you want to learn more about bamboo’s strength, durability, and other properties, we found a fascinating TED Talk on YouTube. It shows just how much bamboo can potentially benefit our world.

Screenshot of a Ted Talk on the benefits of bamboo
Courtesy of Tedx Talks

Bamboo Is Naturally Pest-Resistant

Another spectacular quality of bamboo plywood sheets is that anything you make from them will automatically be a critter deterrent because bamboo is pest-resistant (even as a growing plant). Bamboo plywood sheets, especially those used for floorboards, are processed with chemicals that make them uninhabitable for pests like termites and dust mites. 

This property makes a good case for why bamboo should be used as an alternative to hardwoods because one of the biggest concerns about getting walls, floorboards, and furniture made of hardwood is that hardwood is prone to termites. 

Therefore it requires a lot of supervision and regular maintenance, which is not the case with bamboo. 

Environmental Sustainability

The world loses around ten million hectares of forests annually, and a lot of this deforestation has to do with us getting wood to build our infrastructure and furniture. This figure gives us a sense of how detrimental and unsustainable hardwood consumption is for our environment.

Thankfully, bamboo comes to the rescue here and offers itself as a green and highly sustainable alternative to hardwood.

There are several ways bamboo does this:

  • Firstly, you need to know that bamboo isn’t a tree, it’s a type of grass. So if you cut bamboo, it’ll grow back up (unless you pluck it out from the roots). Therefore, using bamboo to make furniture is sustainable because there’s not a lot of re-plantation involved here.
  • What adds to this renewability is the fact that bamboo (depending on its type) will grow to maturity in just three years and that, under the right conditions, it can even grow up to over three feet (one meter) in a day!
  • Moreover, bamboo isn’t a high-maintenance plant at all; it can be grown in perfect health with minimal supervision. These qualities, combined with the fact that bamboo makes for excellent furniture material, are why it is gaining recognition as a green alternative to hardwood. 

Bamboo Plywood Sheets Are Versatile and DIY-Friendly

Another great thing about bamboo plywood sheets is that they’re super DIY-friendly and versatile. 

This versatility means you can make just about any furniture item out of them, including: 

  • Kitchen countertops
  • Table tops
  • Cabinets
  • Chairs
  • And so much more! 

You can even make wall panels and floorboards out of bamboo plywood, as its excellent strength makes it suitable for these types of things.

Bamboo 'wood' flooring

If you’re into DIY crafts, you can get your hands on some bamboo plywood sheets and make toys, house models, or almost anything you want with them. We recommend you get these Aolite Mini Bamboo Plywood Planks. They’ll be perfect for your DIY project.

And, if you’re looking for some inspiration, here’s a super-fun YouTube video we found of a carpenter making different things using bamboo plywood. It’ll really open your mind to the potential of this material.

Screenshot from a video of a carpenter making different things using bamboo plywood
Courtesy of HomeMade Modern

Cons of Bamboo Plywood Sheets

All of what we’ve discussed above sounds great, but before joining team bamboo plywood, you should be aware of some of its drawbacks. We’ve listed some of the major ones below.

Bamboo Plywood Sheets Are Prone to Scratches

Bamboo plywood is durable. However, durability doesn’t always translate into scratch resistance. Like other hardwoods, bamboo surfaces are highly prone to scratches. And over time, these scratches can become noticeable and ruin the beauty of your furniture. 

Moisture Sensitivity

Earlier in this article, we told you that bamboo is grass, and because of this, it grows back quickly after it’s been cut. However, one drawback of bamboo being grass is that humidity damages and deteriorates it more rapidly than hardwood

This characteristic also means that any furniture made of bamboo plywood is considerably impacted by humidity. For the most part, though, this wouldn’t be a problem for you; it’s why bamboo is so popular as a material to construct entire houses.

However, your bamboo plywood sheets may swell up if you live in highly humid conditions with constant rainfall. 

Low-Quality Bamboo Plywood Sheets Can Be Toxic

While it’s largely safe to use bamboo plywood sheets to make furniture and building infrastructure, if you get cheap or low-quality sheets, you risk exposure to fumes of toxic chemicals like urea-formaldehyde used to process bamboo plywood sheets. 

For this reason, it’s crucial to get your bamboo plywood from places with high manufacturing and consumer safety standards. Such manufacturers ensure that the fumes are minimized to a safe level. 

Even if you get cheap bamboo plywood, you should know that the toxic fumes only tend to impact sensitive people more—average individuals will not be affected by them.

Propagation Difficulty

Another limitation of using bamboo plywood for furniture is that it is difficult to propagate. The plant only blooms flowers every 60-120 years! For this reason, it’s hard to set up bamboo farms and even more so to grow them in size once they’re set up.

Several bamboo plants growing in a bamboo forest

Summary of the Pros & Cons of Bamboo Plywood Sheets

ProsLimitations
Strength and durability
Environmentally friendliness and sustainability
Uninhabitable for pests Versatile and DIY-friendly
Prone to scratches
Moisture sensitivity
Low-quality sheets can expose you to toxic fumes
Difficult to propagate

Final Thoughts

To sum it up, bamboo plywood sheets appear to be an excellent alternative to other hardwoods. 

This is not only because bamboo plywood sheets are strong, durable, pest-resistant, and versatile but also because bamboo is environmentally friendly and sustainable. 

Of course, the material doesn’t come without its flaws; the most notable of which is that bamboo is difficult to propagate, and that bamboo plywood sheets are prone to scratches, moisture sensitive, and potentially toxic (if they’re low-quality). 

Still, all things considered, bamboo plywood sheets seem to be our best bet for sustainable wood consumption, so it’s something to consider.

Sources

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