More than one billion people live in Bamboo houses around the globe, making them an affordable and sustainable choice for many. However, the elephant in the room remains the cost of bamboo homes and whether they are worth it.
Before building or purchasing a home, you want to know what you’re getting for your money. So, the big question is, “Can bamboo homes provide a good return on investment?”
In this article, I’ll discuss how much bamboo homes cost. I’ll also delve into the nitty gritty to help you understand whether bamboo homes are worth it, considering their pros and cons.
Read on to learn about bamboo homes and if you should consider them.
How Much Do Bamboo Homes Cost?
The cost of bamboo homes ranges between $11,350 and $440,125 depending on factors such as house design, size, location, and the availability of construction materials. Approximately, it costs between $203 and $378+ per square foot to construct a bamboo house.
As much as the cost of a bamboo home is lower than conventional houses built from concrete, steel, and wood, you must be aware of the additional maintenance expenses that come with bamboo housing. For instance, painting, treating, and regularly repairing any damage caused by pests or weather conditions.
Let’s look at the factors that affect the cost of a bamboo house to help you understand the above variation in price.
The design or model of a bamboo home plays a significant role in its valuation. Designers create different models of homes with varying degrees of complexity. The more intricate the design, the higher the price.
The design of a bamboo house encompasses details such as:
Whether it’s a multi-storey building
Whether it’s a single wall construction, or something more complex
Type of roof; thatched, halved bamboo, copper shingles, or terracotta tiles.
According to Bamboo Living, the celestial bamboo house design has the highest price tag, while Zen 100 has the lowest. Therefore, before settling for a bamboo house, consider your budget and desired design.
All the Bamboo Living homes are viewable on their website. They are not the only bamboo enthusiasts offering bamboo construction services, so make sure you have a good look around online and in your local area to find the best firm near you.
The location of the home influences its estimated value significantly.
Usually, houses in urban areas are more expensive due to their proximity to amenities such as hospitals, schools, and shopping malls. Land value is also higher in urban centers than in rural areas.
Moreover, if you plan to construct your home in a far-flung area with limited access to construction materials, you’ll have to import the necessary resources. The importation substantially increases the total cost of the home.
The larger the house, the higher its price tag. A larger home requires more raw materials and labor, resulting in higher costs.
As I mentioned above, a house of bamboo construction costs between $203 and more than $378 per square foot. Let’s use an average of $250 per square foot to understand how size impacts the overall cost.
Assuming you want to build an 800-square feet bamboo house, the total cost, besides the raw materials, will be (800✖250)=$200,000.
The cost for a 400-square ft bamboo house will be (400✖250)=$100,000.
Clearly, you’ll have to go with a smaller bamboo house if you’re on a tight budget, and if you don’t need lots of space, a tiny home could be the way to go.
It pays to think carefully about how much space your family requires before settling on a specific size. This way, you won’t spend too much on unnecessary rooms or space.
It’s also important to note that these are just estimated averages. The actual amount may vary significantly depending on other factors like material quality and labor charges.
So, getting quotes from multiple contractors is essential before selecting one.
Availability and Quality of Materials
The availability and quality of building materials such as bamboo poles, floorboards, tiles, and metal sheets also influence the cost of a home.
Some materials may be expensive or hard to find, depending on where you want to construct the house.
You have to consider if bamboo is readily available in your area. Although bamboo is naturally found in almost all continents, China and India have the most extensive bamboo coverage. Therefore it’s cheaper to get bamboo for construction if you live in these countries.
If you live in a region without bamboo, you’ll also have to consider importation charges.
Besides availability, bamboo quality also affects the overall construction cost. Prime-quality bamboo species like Guadua and Dendrocalamus Strictus are more expensive than low-grade species.
Hiring a Professional Contractor
Working with a reliable contractor ensures that the project will adhere to building codes and construction regulations, further boosting its worth. But this comes with an additional fee.
A professional contractor will charge you more for their services, adding to the overall expense of your home.
An excellent way to find the best value contractor is to shop around and get quotes from different contractors before settling for one. This way, you won’t be overcharged or end up working with a cowboy.
It’s worth mentioning that it doesn’t make sense to compromise quality services for a lower price.
A reliable, professional contractor is worth the extra outlay, as any mistakes in construction can be expensive to repair. Furthermore, a professional contractor will apply for the correct building permits and ensure the house adheres to the International Building Code (IBC) and the International Residential Code (IRC).
The Pros and Cons of Bamboo Buildings
The best way to know if bamboo building is worth it is by looking at its pros and cons. This will help you determine whether this form of building will meet your needs for a home.
Pros of Bamboo Construction
Bamboo is a renewable and versatile plant in the grass family. After being cut, it sprouts out from the same root, making it one of the most sustainable and renewable building materials. Moreover, it has a fast growth rate of 30 to 100 centimeters per day.
Bamboo is an excellent green construction method and can be used with other materials, such as concrete blocks, insulation, or other things that offer complementary features to make a tiny home or more elaborate building.
If your goal is to build an eco friendly home with minimal environmental impact, bamboo can offer this if you have access to the material locally and follow good environmental best practices.
You can further decrease the environmental footprint of your building project by keeping its size to a minimum, perhaps building a tiny home, and by adding more insulation to lower HVAC bills.
Bamboo is a material suitable for building. It has a high tensile strength between 140N/mm2 and 280N/mm2. This means it can resist higher tension than most building materials. Furthermore, unlike trees, bamboo makes durable plywood sheets since it doesn’t have weak points along its length.
It’s highly flexible
It’s easy to bend bamboo into any shape for archways and other curved building areas. This eliminates waste due to cutting that contributes to environmental pollution.
Building with lightweight material like bamboo reduces transportation and installation energy. In turn, this reduces a building’s carbon footprint. It also lowers the building cost since there is no need to hire heavy machinery. (Check the table below for a comparison of energy needs between bamboo and other building materials).
Unlike wood, concrete, and steel, bamboo is cheaper for building. This is because its harvesting and transportation cost is lower than conventional building materials.
|Materials||Production Energy (MJ/Kg)||Weight Per Volume (Kg/m3)||Production Energy (Kg/m3)||Stress When in Use||Energy Per Unit Stress|
Cons of Bamboo Houses
High maintenance cost
Without proper care, bamboo buildings are prone to insect infestations and fungal growths that can cause extensive damage. Furthermore, it requires frequent varnishing to protect it from moisture infiltration and ultraviolet light.
Difficult to find qualified workers
It’s challenging to find reliable bamboo builders and carpenters worldwide. Therefore, hiring workers with experience with bamboo is expensive.
Inadequate preservation knowledge
Bamboo is a perishable material that requires proper treatment with chemicals such as boron and boric acid. These preservation methods need experienced personnel to apply them safely and correctly.
Well-cured and treated bamboo houses can last between 25 and 30 years. This is shorter than concrete block houses that last more than 100 years.
Variation in bamboo species
There are more than 1,000 bamboo species worldwide, and not all bamboos are created equal. This makes it challenging to determine suitable species for building. Using one of the weaker bamboos will further lower the lifespan of the house.
Is a Bamboo House Worth It?
Bamboo construction is worth it due to its sustainability, eco-friendliness, and low-cost production.
Investing in a house built with bamboo guarantees you a durable and eco-friendly house that’s pocket friendly. Although the maintenance cost is high, it pays off in the long run with its unique design and sustainable building materials.
What’s more, bamboo is an excellent insulator due to its hollow nature that traps air. Therefore, it helps regulate indoor temperature, helping reduce energy bills.
Building your own house using bamboo is worth considering its durability and cost-effectiveness.
However, you must adhere to the correct preservation methods to keep your new home solid and enhance its lifespan.
Moreover, hiring a reliable contractor adds value to your project despite the additional cost.
For more information on bamboo homes, read our article entitled, “Bamboo Homes: Your Ultimate Guide (Plus See These Examples)“