Question by femsidhe: Bamboo to line indoor shower?
I’m trying to make my home more eco friendly and remodel on a budget. I have clumping bamboo growing in my yard so have an unlimited supply and I heard somewhere that bamboo is naturally water proof. Can I split the poles and use them to line my shower instead of tile? I know I would have to use some kind of caulking in between them and I was also thinking of filling them with newspaper insulation too.
Answer by MsBrandon
We have helped in designing and installing one custom bamboo-lined shower. That installation was made from 1.5″ diameter half-rounds of Tonkin bamboo. It took the owner 13 months to get the building inspectors to approve the installation. Not being in the code, it spooks the inspectors.
There is the risk of losing a seal and having moisture and mold getting behind the bamboo and into the hollow space behind. If you want to do this I would recommend that you have us split the bamboo into half rounds and fill it with closed cell architectural foam and trim the foam flat. You may wish to do the ripping and foam injection yourself. Then the half rounds can be installed against cement board (since showers are a wet space) rather than drywall. The half rounds will have to be installed with a latex rather than petroleum base adhesive. The foam will be dissolved by petroleum based adhesives. Latex industrial adhesives are available in Home Depot and Lowes etc.
The seams between the half rounds should them be caulked with the finest quality and smallest bead that the installer can manage. The bamboo has a natural wax on the skin and will not take paint or varnishes. I recommend that it be rewaxed with a good standard natural clear wax from time to time. This should keep it free from mildew or at least easy to wipe clean.This is a new application and we do not have much experience with it.
Proceed at your own risk.
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