All About Exterior Bamboo Decking
Not all exterior bamboo decking is the same and can be really grouped into three distinct technologies.
Treated Bamboo Decking
Treated bamboo uses the same chemical treatment as treated lumber. The bamboo strands are vertically arranged, laminated together with glue and then topically treated with ACQ (Alkaline Copper Quaternary), or CCA (Chromated Copper Arsenate) chemicals. Since these chemicals are only impregnated and dried without changing its chemical structures, they are loosely attached to the natural fiber. Once wetted, the chemicals are easy to dissolve in water. Most of the chemicals used to treat the bamboo planks are toxic because of heavy metal content and potentially harmful to the environment.
Although this is the cheapest technology for producing exterior bamboo over time the toxic chemical treatment leaches out and splitting and cracks can occur along the bamboo strands within the planks. The chemical treatment could only prevent bacteria and organism attack, it does not do any good in preventing natural cracks and checks in bamboo. Fungus and mold can also occur once the active chemical ingredients have leached out because the natural nutrients are not removed from the bamboo strands.
Bamboo Plastic Composites / WPC Decking
Bamboo plastic composites are made up of bamboo dust and plastics, like WPC (Wood plastic composites). The amount of bamboo dust versus plastic varies depending on the manufacturer. Some manufacturers add recycled plastics to reduce material cost as well. The dust is really used as filler to keep the overall material costs down.
Since these composites use plastics they are susceptible to heat, and some may even sag under hot temperatures. They are also hot under foot and can become slippery when wet. Composites cannot be stained or refinished. Its colors can also fade under direct sunlight and the planks can become brittle over time.
Some WPC manufacturers try to claim their composites are GREEN because they apply a tiny amount of bamboo dust to the planks “GREEN-WASHING” plastics composites.
Fused Bamboo Decking
Fused Bamboo was developed in the 2006 by the dasso Group in China and has become the World’s leading technology for exterior bamboo decking. The proprietary bamboo fusion process used to make dassoXTR incorporates two stages of high heat combined, first to thermalize the bamboo strands, removing all the starches and sugars, and then further strengthening the bamboo by fusing phenolic resin into the bamboo cells – the same resins used to make bowling balls. The result is a dense, beautiful, long lasting, and rapidly renewable natural alternative to chemically treated and exotic rainforest hardwoods.
dasso Fused Bamboo Decking is only manufactured by dasso, who owns the proprietary patent rights.
To learn more see: Fused-Bamboo-Principles-Technology.aspx