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Standard Bamboo vs. Fossilized Bamboo Flooring

Posted: Friday, June 14, 2013

Bamboo has surely evolved into one of the most trusted and preferred hardwoods on the market. Bamboo’s huge success can be attributed to a number of things, including its incomparable durability, its stunning and unique beauty, as well as its role as an eco-friendly renewable resource.

But when it comes to bamboo flooring, you have to know which style and type is best for you. While a few varieties do exist out there, two of the most popular styles of bamboo are standard bamboo and fossilized bamboo.

Solid standard bamboo flooring is likely what you envision when you think of bamboo flooring. It is a fairly durable product, scoring pretty high on the Janka hardness test. Also, because of its natural environment, standard bamboo flooring has a natural resistance to insects and moisture.

Many people flock to solid standard bamboo flooring because they believe it gives them the most natural look of bamboo. You’re more likely to see the rich patterns that are found in bamboo stalks with solid standard bamboo flooring.

There are typically two types of solid standard bamboo flooring: horizontal and vertical.

Horizontal bamboo flooring will result in a consistent look, with fewer features, thus matching the true natural look of bamboo.

Vertical, on the other hand, often gives off a busier surface appearance, which can actually be a benefit when hoping to conceal dirt or to provide unique character to a space.

Fossilized bamboo, which Cali Bamboo and Stepco offer, take bamboo to the next level. Like standard bamboo, it is resistant to insects and moisture. But fossilized bamboo raises the hardness factor to a whole new stratosphere. Yes, bamboo is a naturally hard wood, however, fossilized bamboo turns this naturally hard product into the hardest product on the market. On the well-trusted Janka scale, fossilized bamboo scored a whopping 5000, making it twice as strong as most other hardwoods out there.

Fossilized bamboo is made by compressing and intertwining bamboo fibers to create a dense “fossilized” block. The end result is exactly what anyone is looking for if they desire an indestructible floor.

Color with carbonization

In its natural state, bamboo provides a light, straw-like color. If you hope to include an eco-friendly flooring into your home, but don’t want this particular color, you still have options. Carbonized bamboo provides a darker color to your flooring, and, based on the carbonization process, the dark color can vary greatly, per your vision.

Carbonized bamboo is nothing like stained wood. Stain actually attacks the surface of the wood, which can then infiltrate that porous surface. Carbonization is a far more natural process, which involves boiling the bamboo to interact with the bamboo’s sugars (think about boiling white sugar until it turns into a caramel color.

The longer the carbonization, the darker the color, meaning that you could have virtually any desired color or shade you want out of your bamboo flooring.


It’s no secret that bamboo is considered an extremely eco-friendly product. In fact, it can contribute to LEED credits in a number of areas, including for the use of a rapidly renewable material since bamboo grows at an astounding rate (Moso bamboo can grow 80-feet high in two months and takes no more than 5 years to reach full maturity.

Better yet, harvesting bamboo does not require any replanting, because the root system is left intact, thus even a harvested bamboo stalk can regrow at its rapid rate.

If you think of bamboo flooring, you might have a vivid image of what this type of flooring looks like. But new techniques toward the manufacturing of this product, including carbonization and the fossilized approach, allow you not only to have far more choice in the look of your flooring, but it provides you a more durable flooring than has ever existed.