In summary, you’re looking at carmelized bamboo floor above. Bottom right is the familiar natural straw-like color of bamboo. Upper left is the carmelized version.
Bamboo flooring that is treated so that it has a darker color is often called carmelized bamboo flooring.
An alternate term is carbonized bamboo flooring–same thing.
Why the Flooring is “Carmelized”
I think it’s called carmelized because the heating process, either through boiling or steaming, changes the sugars within the “wood” (I use that term lightly) to a richer, more coffee-like hue. This carmelizing process is variable. So, not all carmelized bamboo looks like mahogany. It can have a light brown color; it can have a deep brown color.
The Downside of Carmelized Flooring
But one hugely bad thing about carmelized bamboo is that it is softer than “ordinary” bamboo. And believe me, ordinary bamboo is soft enough, as it is. You don’t need to soften it further. Yet it’s estimated that carmelized bamboo is 30% softer than the other stuff.
There are lots of really unhappy homeowners who have carmelized bamboo. Just sayin’…
Q: What is strand woven bamboo flooring?
A: Strand woven bamboo flooring is a process of weaving fibrous bamboo fibers together so that they make a stronger material than ordinary bamboo flooring. Bamboo is not inherently hard, so it must be strengthened by other means. Strand weaving is one such method of hardening bamboo floor.
Q: What’s the big deal about strand woven bamboo?
A: The big deal is that bamboo flooring is made out of a grass, not wood. Yes, it’s a grass. This means that bamboo is really not a suitable material for flooring. Think about: dog claws, kids’ toys, high heels, etc. In fact, bamboo kind of sucks ass when it comes to a flooring material.
Q: So why not use, say, a hardwood?
A: Yup. That’s the very idea behind hardwood. Hardwood is hard and it’s wood. Pretty simple. Oak, hickory, maple, and beech are all great hardwood for flooring.
Q: What about this “carbonized bamboo flooring?”
A: Even worse. Carbonized or carmelized bamboo flooring is a process that darkens the wood. Bad thing is that is also weakens the wood. Up to 30%. So, strand woven helps to counteract this weakening.
Q: Is strand woven bamboo flooring more expensive than “ordinary” bamboo flooring?
A: Yes. It does entail an extra process. So, it comes at a higher price.
Q: Who can you recommend for strand woven bamboo flooring?
A: A company in my own neck of the woods (Seattle, WA), called Teragren. Their brand of strand woven bamboo is called Synergy. Note: I’m not making a single red cent out of recommending Teragren; it’s just one that many homeowners seem to have good words about. Believe me, when I can figure out a way to make money by recommending them, I’ll let you know.