Bamboo as a construction material

Bamboo is one of those construction materials which are very light weight but still possess good quality of compressive strength. People who live in places where Bamboo is abundant, are also found using it as support for concrete. It is easily used in various construction processes like bridge, scaffolding as well as house constructions. It has a rhizome-dependent system which makes it grow really fast, as much as three times faster than other plant species. South America and South East Asia use bamboo majorly as the climate is suitable for growth. There are places where bamboo is also used to hold up suspension bridges.

Working Methods

Splitting: The canes are split in sections using particular types of knifes and they are divided using a wedge. One culm makes about eight segments and later can be used in many applications. People also use the culms to peel and make strings and these last up to a year and a half.

Shaping: A bamboo leaves its natural round shape and takes whichever shape we desire. If a square shape is necessary, then it is grown in a square shaped box.

Bending: Bamboos are not very difficult to bend once they are heated to a temperature which is above 150 degree Celsius. This formed shape gets still retained after it has cooled down or become dry.

Preservation: Bamboo treatment should necessarily be used to protect the plant against insect attacks or rot. Borax and Boric acid can be easily used to clean and treat it.

As a building material

Timber frame design and Bamboo structural frame design are based on somewhat the same principle. Flooring, Roofing and walls are all connected and dependent on each other for stability of the structure. There has been evident transformation in rural areas due to the use of bamboo.

Foundations: Most people avoid bamboo usage in foundation work because it comes in direct contact with moisture which would in turn cause really fast decay. Proper treatment can be done using the required chemicals though, which reduces such decay substantially. However, Bamboo can be used as piles, Composite bamboo columns and also fixed to rock to form an isolated footing.


Walls: Bamboo is commonly used when it comes to design and construction of partition walls as well as external walls. It is used majorly for posts and beams which provide the framework for the walls to come up. They can be interwoven, placed vertically as halves and also in wattle and daub technique.

Roofing: There is enough sturdiness in bamboo for it to be used as a roofing material and purlins, rafters or truss work can easily be done using it. It is lightweight but serves the purpose, which can only be good.

Advantages and Disadvantages

It has really high tensile strength, good fire resistance and higher elasticity value. It is not hard on the pocket and has no health hazards.

Bamboo requires good amount of preservation. It shrinks and also isn’t durable.