Bamboo has become a popular flooring option because it is more eco-friendly and less expensive than most traditional hardwood. But bamboo is naturally light in color, and not everyone wants light floors. Enter carbonized bamboo.
Carbonized bamboo is darker in color than natural bamboo. Unlike stain, which tints only the surface of hardwoods, the carbonization process colors the bamboo all the way through, which means the color lasts longer. Carbonization can tint bamboo a variety a shades, from warm honey to dark brown.
It’s important to note that the carbonization process weakens bamboo floors, making them about 30 percent softer than natural bamboo flooring. But not all carbonized bamboo floors are equal in strength. When the fibers are laid in a horizontal or vertical pattern (the traditional method of constructing bamboo flooring), the floors are weaker. When the fibers are interwoven and then compressed under extreme heat and pressure (stand-woven bamboo flooring), the floors are stronger. Carbonized bamboo floors that are strand woven are about 50 percent more expensive, but the added expense is worth it for high-traffic areas to reduce scratches and dents.
You should also keep in mind that carbonized bamboo flooring tends to be more expensive than comparable natural bamboo flooring. Compare several manufacturers before choosing one to gauge prices, but never choose on price alone. Read reviews to find out what other customers have had to say about quality.