Bamboo is a rapidly renewable resource especially here in Thailand. In construction it is structurally sound and can create some beautiful designs. Here at AsaLanta, bamboo is used for structural pillars, framing design, roof construction, flooring, decorative wall systems and also furniture. Some treatments must be done to ensure the quality of the bamboo. The bamboo is harvested at the end of the rainy season. Bamboo sucks up water from the earth, which creates a powder like substance inside its hollow core. This powder is very attractive to insects, especially termites. The harvest time is also dependent on the moon cycle, which helps decide the most effective time to harvest. After harvest, it is soaked in the pond water here at AsaLanta. This is an attempt to rot out that powder, making it less appealing to insects. There are many treatment options for bamboo; salt-water pools seem to be the most effective. That is not possible here at the moment, so salt water is added inside the bamboo before it is used in construction. As for post construction treatment, oil from some local trees is used. Engine oil has been used as well, but we can all see the problem in that. Some insects love to eat the bamboo including termites and flying ants, therefore these treatments are used as a added precaution to help the longevity of the bamboo.
Here are a few great resources for bamboo preservation and treatment.
Panyaden Construction School Blog
I also recently watched this beautiful video of bamboo construction in Bali, which also talks shows strength tests preformed on their species of bamboo. Check it out here.