Bamboo, known for its hardness and durability, is also one of the greenest options around. Rapidly growing and highly sustainable, bamboo is an ideal material for countertops and other food preparation surfaces. Teragren is the manufacturer of these bamboo countertops, as well as other work surfaces, flooring and panels. All their products are made of Moso bamboo, which is harvested at maturity every 5-6 years. (They don’t do it any earlier because immature bamboo is still too pliable, or “green” if you will, and can warp.)
They go above and beyond to make sure their product is absolutely green. Adhesives and laminates are formaldehyde free and countertops and butcher blocks are rubbed with mineral oil and beeswax so you know the surface is food-safe. Regular re-coating after use is necessary to maintain the seal and make sure the surface doesn’t become contaminated.
Two Kinds of Bamboo Countertops
Countertops are available in either traditional bamboo or strand bamboo. Both are vertical grained, come in either natural or caramelized tone with a contrasting color core and are available in two sizes: 30″ x 96″ x 1 ½” or 36″ x 72″ x 1 ½” thick slab.
Traditional bamboo is 25% harder than red oak, which is pretty damn hard and probably more than sufficient to accommodate most food preparation situations. If though, you feel the need to chop, dice and/or smash away at something requiring a super heavy-duty surface (maybe you want to butcher a deer in the kitchen?), go for the strand bamboo countertop. At 125% harder than red oak, you should be in the clear.
Bamboo Countertops Also Come in Parquet
For those of you who want to mix it up a bit, the parquet butcher block is an ideal option for a tabletop, counter or island. The natural variation in bamboo’s color is beautiful, but like any organic product, can be affected by sunlight – just a little something to keep in mind when you install your countertops. Translation: Don’t call the manufacturer and launch into a hissy-fit if you notice some changes in color. It’s perfectly normal and not an indicator of a faulty product.
You can find a slew of teragrenproducts on Amazon or, if you’re not sure which bamboo is right for you, locate a bamboo countertop dealer near you to visit a showroom. Teragren, originally discovered via “This Old House,” will also send sample chips for under a dollar, on request.