Bamboo is one of the hardest natural materials available for flooring and an excellent alternative to hard wood and laminate surfaces. Because bamboo is a rapid growing grass and not wood, it can be harvested every 3 to 5 years, unlike the 15 to 25 years for most wood. This makes bamboo a very environmentally friendly product for flooring (as well as for various structural applications).
Bamboo has a higher fiber rating than any hardwood, which gives it exceptional hard wearing qualities. In appearance it is similar to wood flooring. It comes in vertical and flat-grain patterns and generally is offered in a light, honey or natural color and a darker, amber "carbonized" color.
Bamboo used for flooring is harvested from forests mostly in the Chinese province of Hunan. After harvest, the hollow, round stems are sliced into strips, boiled in water with a preservative, pressed flat, and processed into laminated boards. Bamboo flooring comes unfinished or prefinished. To achieve the dark amber color, the bamboo is pressure steamed and undergoes carbonization. The adhesive used to laminate the flooring is a urea-formaldehyde resin. Bamboo flooring can be dyed and stained on site if the natural or carbonized color options are not desired.