Carbonized Bamboo – Boiled for Beauty

June 30, 2010

Bamboo flooring – together with cork flooring – is fast emerging as one of the most popular ways eco conscious homeowners can go green when upgrading the flooring options in their home. Bamboo is as durable as hardwood and every bit as beautiful, but since bamboo is a plant rather than a tree it is an easily renewable resource, making it a little more environmentally friendly than some other flooring options.

In its natural state bamboo makes for a flooring material that is fairly light in color and extremely tough. However, once you begin shopping for bamboo flooring, or just exploring the feasibility of installing in your home, you will notice that bamboo flooring is available in shades that range from nearly white to a deep brown that borders on black. These darker variations, all of them stunningly attractive are usually created by a process called bamboo carbonization.

Bamboo goes through several stages of processing on its journey from being a flimsy grass to becoming a strong and durable flooring material. If it is to be carbonized it undergoes an additional process. The bamboo is literally boiled to the point where the sugars that the plant naturally contains begin to change the color of the bamboo itself, darkening it. The longer it boils, the darker the color.

The slight drawback to carbonizing bamboo is that it does produce a slightly softer end result. On average a carbonized bamboo floor is around 30% softer than what is known in the flooring trade as natural bamboo (bamboo that has not been carbonized).

This often means that if installed in a very high traffic area carbonized bamboo floors may not wear as well as some other flooring options, making it perhaps a poor choice for a hallway or a busy kitchen where on the other hand natural bamboo flooring will hold up as well, if not better than those other choices. In a medium traffic room though, such as the living room or a bedroom carbonized bamboo flooring works extremely well, especially from an aesthetic point of view.

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