Big Island

Is a Bamboo Home in Hawaii Right For You?

Ten years ago, bamboo home building in Hawaii was not as common as it is today. An influx of bamboo builders have brought their expertise to the islands and a number of homes on the Big Island and Maui have popped up with beautiful design and construction. There are several bamboo homes in my oceanfront neighborhood, Puako. Pakalana Sanctuary, recently on the market, was written about by Jan Nores, R(S) and also noted in this article by Beth Thoma Robinson, R(B).

The Big Island boasts other bamboo houses at higher elevations too.

Recently I was able to tour a home built by Marty Smith up on the way to Waimea in Anekona Estates (MLS# 281790). Bamboo floors, cabinets, ceilings – and with nice touches so it doesn’t over bamboo you!

Interior of Bamboo Home

New bamboo home with bamboo interiors done right!

Bamboo is Not Only Beautiful, but it is a Great Renewable Resource

I love talking about renewable resources and sustainable farming as much as I love going to the local farmers’ markets – which, by the way, take place on Wednesdays, Thursdays, and Saturdays just up the road in Waimea. But back to the bamboo…

People have been building bamboo homes all over the world due to its strength, beauty, and cost – and it holds up well in Hawaii too.

Beware! Bamboo Has its Share of Misconceptions

Have you heard that it is bug resistant, cheap, flimsy, sturdy, hard to work with…etc.?

There are many varieties of bamboo, so what you hear about one kind of bamboo might not be true about another. There are big, little, black, yellow, thin, short, tall – you name it and there is a bamboo with that characteristic.

Building with bamboo requires using the right species that is able to withstand the stresses of becoming part of the structure of your home. It also requires a builder who knows how to work with the product.

There are well over 1,000 species of bamboo. Guadua is a common type of bamboo used in construction, but there are over 40 types of Guadua!

Be sure you know exactly what bamboo is being specified in the construction of your home. If you are buying an already built bamboo home, find out what kind of bamboo it is and where it was sourced. That way when you come back from the beach (or the farmers’ market), you can rest assured you made the right decision regarding your bamboo home in Hawaii.

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Michael P Reeves

January 24, 2021

Pleasant read. Does the county have bamboo standards? Can houses be built on stilts or must they have a concrete pad?

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