The 10 Best Types of Bamboo for Construction: Why They Work

A collage of different types of bamboo with a cartoon person in the middle of the image shrugging with question marks either side. The words "The 10 Best Types of Bamboo for Construction: Why They Work" are written across the top.

Bamboo has been used as a sustainable construction material for centuries. Besides being an eco-friendly material, bamboo has an excellent tensile and compressive strength suitable for construction.

However, with more than 1,400 bamboo species, choosing the right one for your construction project can be overwhelming. That’s why it’s essential to know the best types of bamboo for construction and why they work.

It’s worth noting that although bamboo is touted as an excellent renewable construction material, not all species have the relevant qualities for this purpose.

Thus, before using any bamboo for construction, you must ensure it has sufficient tensile and compressive strength to withstand the forces exerted on any building. Otherwise, your house might not be structurally sound and could develop problems or even fail completely.

In this article, I’ll discuss the ten best types of bamboo for construction and why they work so well.

So, if you’re an eco-conscious builder, this will help you pick the best bamboo species for a durable house. Let’s get started!

The table below summarizes the ten best types of bamboo for construction:

Bamboo NameDimensionsProsCons
Guadua angustifoliaHeight: 100 ft
Diameter: 8 inch
High tensile strength
Highly renewable
Excellent compressive strength compared to concrete
Rot resistant
It’s limited to America
It requires drying
Dendrocalamus asperHeight: 60 ft
Diameter: 5 inch
Fast growth
Thicker culm walls
Highly aesthetic
Only abundant in Southeast Asia
Performs well when dry
Bambusa balcooaHeight: 72 ft
Diameter: 6 inch
Imposing size
Thick culm walls
Strong and sturdy
Thickened nodes that need shaping
Small hairs below the internodes
Bambusa bambosHeight: 65-100 ft
Diameter: 4-7 inch
Wider culms
Dense clumping in nature
Tall culms
Suitable for heavy construction
It’s cumbersome
Slightly swollen nodes
Phyllostachys edulisHeight: 70 ft
Diameter: 7 inch
Faster growth rate
Excellent strength-to-weight ratio
Stronger culms
Highly invasive due to its thin rhizomes 
Chusquea giganteaHeight: 20-40 ft
Diameter: 1-1.5 inch
Strong and sturdy culms
Faster growth
High fiber stress rating
Highly susceptible to natural elements like insects when wet
Phyllostachys bambusoidesHeight: 50 to 70 ft
Diameter: 6 inch
Best for roofs due to its upright posture
Thick-walled culms for sturdy construction
Faster growth that makes it highly renewable
It’s limited to a few countries like Japan and China
Gigantochloa apusHeight: 26-72 ft
Diameter: 1.57-5.12 inch
It produces quality timber resistant to borers
Solid culms
Greenish to yellowish-green appearance looks good
The long fibers require sufficient preservation to remain firm
Thyrsostachys siamensisHeight: 22.97-42.65 ft
Diameter: 0.79-2.36 inch
Solid culms
High tensile strength
Highly durable due to its silica content
It’s limited to only a few places in the world
Dendrocalamus brandisiiHeight: 63.34-108.27 ft
Diameter: 5.12-8.66 inch
Tough and strong enough for construction
Wider and sturdy culms
Quite long for projects that need longer poles
It’s expensive due to its limited availability

Table 1: The 10 best types of bamboo for construction

1. Guadua angustifolia

A photograph of the bamboo species Guadua angustifolia. I has green culms and prominent nodes.
Guadua angustifolia. Image courtesy of on Pinterest.

This neotropical bamboo species grows mainly in tropical and subtropical regions like Central and South America. It has some of the best qualities needed for construction.

Guadua angustifolia bamboo grows very fast, making it an excellent renewable material for construction. With a height of approximately 100 feet (30m), it’s one of the tallest bamboos providing plenty of material for any construction project.

It has an excellent tensile strength that almost matches that of steel. Moreover, its compressive ratio is almost twice that of some concrete. Therefore, it’s a bamboo species most likely to meet the International Building Code.

2. Dendrocalamus asper

A photograph of the bamboo species Dendrocalamus asper. It has a dark green culm and pale nodes.
Dendrocalamus asper. Image courtesy of Speedy Seeds.

Also known as Rough/Giant bamboo, this is a tropical and subtropical bamboo species native to Southeast Asia. It’s a dense clumping bamboo with thicker culm walls than most species.

This bamboo species grows up to 60 feet (18m) and is known for its large diameter that reaches a maximum of 5 inches (13cm).

Its high compressive and tensile strength is a factor that makes it suitable for construction. This means it can withstand shear forces, making it suitable for beams, poles, and other structures.

For instance, Ewe Jin Low, an architect, confirms that his house made from Dendrocalamus asper bamboo withstood the 5 August 2018 Lombok 6.9 scale earthquake without developing any defects.

In addition to its strength, Dendrocalamus asper is often chosen for its aesthetic appeal due to its grayish-green coloration. Therefore, it’s one of the best types of bamboo for construction.

3. Bambusa balcooa

A photograph of the Guadua Bamboo species.  The culms are pale green and there are shoots sprouting out of the nodes.
Guadua Bamboo. Image courtesy of Guadua Bamboo.

This is one of the clumping bamboo species. It grows to a height of approximately 72 feet (22 m) and a diameter of 6 inches (15 cm).

The main reason the Bambusa balcooa bamboo is on this list is its imposing size. The stalks of this bamboo species have thick culm walls that make them stronger and more resistant to the elements.

This bamboo is excellent for outdoor structures such as gazebos and fences due to its sturdy nature.

Moreover, it’s ideal for indoor projects because of its superior strength, which enables it to withstand heavy loads.

4. Bambusa bambos

A photograph of the Bambusa bambos species. It is growing in a densely-packed grove. The culms are dark green and the nodes are quite thin and almost blend in with the rest of the culm.
Bambusa bambos. Image courtesy of Southsidenaturals on Etsy.

Also known as Giant Thorny Bamboo or the Indian Thorny Bamboo, this species has thick culm walls that make it suitable for construction.

With a height of 65 to 100 feet (20 to 30 m), this bamboo species is ideal for roofing where longer poles are necessary.

Its dense clumping growth habit produces wider culms between 4 and 7 inches (10 to 18 cm) in diameter. This makes it an ideal material for construction since thicker poles are usually used in building foundations and columns.

This bamboo species is also used for thatching and weaving structures like huts and lodges, thanks to its tall culms.

With a fiber stress rating varying between 18.3-26.5 N/mm2, Bambusa bambos is one of the strongest bamboo species. It can withstand the different forces exerted on a building without affecting its structural integrity.

5. Phyllostachys edulis

A photograph of the bamboo species Phyllostachys edulis. It is growing in a grove and its culms vary in shades of green. The nodes are slightly lighter in color.
Phyllostachys edulis. Image courtesy of

Phyllostachys edulis is a running bamboo species that grows aggressively while spreading over long distances quickly.

This species grows to attain a height of 70 feet (21 m) and a 7-inch (18 cm) diameter structure. These features are essential for construction purposes.

The culms of this bamboo species are strong and durable, making them suitable for any building project. Moreover, its fast growth rate makes it an excellent choice for renewable building materials.

Phyllostachys edulis is also used to produce bamboo plywood, thanks to its remarkable strength-to-weight ratio. Its thin sheets are known for their stability and are used in making furniture, flooring, or cabinetry.

6. Chusquea gigantea

A photograph of the bamboo species Chusquea gigantea. It has bright green culms with darker green nodes.
Chusquea gigantea. Image courtesy of Heartwood Seeds.

This is a South American bamboo species with solid culms that make for an incredibly strong and sturdy building material.

These bamboos can grow between 20 and 40 feet tall (6 and 12 m) and 1 to 1.5 inches (3 to 4 cm) in diameter.

Like most clumping bamboo species, Chusquea gigantea establishes quickly. For instance, according to an experiment by the Red Panda Nursery, this species reached fifteen feet (five meters) tall after two growing seasons.

Its dense clumps and established root systems make it ideal for fencing and trellis. Its strength is also useful in building bridges and pergolas.

7. Phyllostachys bambusoides

A photograph of the bamboo species Phyllostachys bambusoides. It has golden yellow culms with the odd stripe of green on the internodes.
Phyllostachys bambusoides. Image courtesy of LANDSCAPE ARCHITECT’S PAGES.

Also known as the Japanese Timber Bamboo, the Phyllostachys bambusoides is an excellent species for construction.

This bamboo is regal, upright, and elegant – crucial features for woodworking and roofing.

With an average height and diameter between 50 to 70 feet (15 to 22 m) and 6 inches (15 cm), respectively, it makes an excellent option for construction.

Its culms are straight, thick-walled, and strong, making it suitable for building foundations, columns, and other outdoor structures like fences or walls.

More importantly, its strength enables it to withstand the elements with minimal damage.

Finally, its culms increase quickly, with speeds of up to 40 inches (101 cm) daily. Such a fast growth rate means you don’t have to worry about the availability of this bamboo species for any project.

8. Gigantochloa apus

A photograph of the bamboo species Gigantochloa apus. It has mottled green and white culms and dry-looking leaves along its length.
Gigantochloa apus. Image courtesy of Guadua Bamboo.

An excellent feature that makes Gigantochloa apus one of the best types of bamboo for construction is its high-quality timber that’s resistant to borers. When building a home, you want to use quality materials that can withstand daily wear and tear.

The Gigantochloa apus bamboo species grows to a height ranging between 26 and 72 feet (8 and 22 meters). Its average diameter ranges between 1.57-5.12 inches (4-13 cm).

Its high-quality culms are ideal for roofing, fencing, bridges, columns, and foundations because of their strength and stability.

The culms are yellowish-green or bright green, a feature that adds aesthetic beauty with a rustic touch to any structure.

Its distinguishing features are less tapering and longer fibers, making it a premium bamboo species for construction.

9. Thyrsostachys siamensis (Bamboo Jakarta)

A photograph of a bamboo species known as Thyrsostachys siamensis (Bamboo Jakarta). The bamboo culms are almost tree-like and woody in appearance.
Thyrsostachys siamensis (Bamboo Jakarta). Image courtesy of Guadua Bamboo.

Bamboo Jakarta has solid or near-solid culms that enhance its tensile strength. These culms make it suitable for various construction projects.

With an average height between 23 and 43 feet (7 and 13 m) and a diameter between 1 and 2 inches (2 and 6 cm), Bamboo Jakarta is an excellent choice for any construction.

The culms grows faster and bear more shoots, making it easy to harvest large amounts of this species for construction projects.

Furthermore, its high silica content makes it a durable bamboo that’s resistant to corrosion and damage caused by pests or fungi.

10. Dendrocalamus brandisii

A photograph of the bamboo species Dendrocalamus brandisii. The plant is growing in a clump and has light green culms with darker green nodes.
Dendrocalamus brandisii. Image courtesy of Guadua Bamboo.

This is a tropical clumping bamboo native to Southeast Asia.

It’s an evergreen tufted bamboo with ashy-gray to greenish-gray color. Its tuft-like nature makes it an excellent choice for construction projects.

Denrocalamus brandisii has a height of 63-108 feet (19-33 meters) and a diameter of 5-9 inches (13-22 cm). From these dimensions, this is a tall and wide bamboo species ideal for fencing and trellis.

Its slim culms are suitable for indoor construction projects like wall coverings, partitions, screens, and furniture.

Moreover, its stiff but lightweight nature makes it an excellent choice for trusses and buildings in seismic zones.

A point worth noting is that this bamboo has slightly swollen nodes with rootlets. This feature makes it ideal for building foundations and other outdoor structures.

The Final Takeaway

When looking for the best types of bamboo for construction, consider the requirements of your design to determine your needs and choose a species that meets them.

For instance, while Dendrocalamus asper is excellent for beams and poles, Phyllostachys bambusoides works best in columns, foundations, and outdoor structures.

Moreover, it’s essential to inspect each bamboo thoroughly to ensure it’s good quality before use.

With the right bamboo species for your construction project, you can build a strong, sturdy structure that’ll last years!

Finding a professional bamboo builder can be daunting due to the many factors to consider. If you’re in this situation, check out this list of 6 bamboo home builders with the necessary expertise.

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