Bamboo Flooring Types

Bamboo flooring comes in a wide variety of styles and colors, with wide distinctions among grains, finishes, and colors. Many companies carry stock stains on bamboo and a few companies will let you special order any color you want.

bamboo flooring types

Bamboo Flooring Types

Beyond the durability and practicality of bamboo flooring, people love that it is available in such a wide range of styles, making it a current and predicted future flooring trend. The various bamboo flooring types have different benefits, looks, prices, and characteristics that may weigh into your buying decision. The main types of bamboo flooring are:

  • Vertical grain solid strip
  • Flat grain solid strip
  • Strand woven
strand woven bamboo floor
horizontal vertical bamboo floor

Vertical Strip Bamboo Flooring

Vertical strip bamboo flooring is made from thin strips of bamboo that are aligned vertically, stacked on edge before being glued together to form a plank.

Flat Strip Bamboo Flooring

Flat strip bamboo flooring is the most common type of bamboo flooring planks. It’s made from flat, thin strips of bamboo that are placed on top of one another before being pressed and laminated together.

Strand Bamboo Flooring

Strand woven bamboo flooring is made by cutting stalks into strips and then shredded down to their fibers, separating and then pressing them. The fibers are combined with resin and compressed with extreme heat and pressure to form a solid block from which planks are cut.

bamboo flooring grains

Bamboo Flooring Grains

There are a number of different looks available for bamboo flooring grains. Not as delicious as wheat grains, of course, the bamboo flooring grain configuration creates the overall look of your individual planks and adds to the full aesthetic of your flooring.

The different options for your bamboo flooring grains depend on how the planks are manufactured. If the bamboo stalks were laid flat, then the grain will appear horizontal and show the nodes (or “knuckles”) that form the individual sections of the bamboo stalk. This is more of a classic bamboo style. People who enjoy a unique look or “green” aesthetic often appreciate this horizontal grain as it shows off the fact that their flooring is bamboo, a more sustainable material than hardwood.

For a different look, you can opt for a vertical strand bamboo which does not show the nodes. Because the stalks are laid vertically, the grain is thinner, showing more of a light texture instead of actual grain. This style does not show the nodes that separate individual stalks of bamboo and opens this style of flooring up to lots of different color options to suit your needs.

The third main option is the grain you get with strand woven bamboo flooring. The fibers that have been separated and compressed come together to form a look more consistent with traditional hardwood floors.

bamboo flooring colors

Bamboo Flooring Colors

Another way to sort bamboo flooring to help you decide what’s best for your home is to look at different color options. Bamboo is available in many different colors across the different types of bamboo flooring. Color options include:

  • Natural
  • Carbonized
  • Stained
  • White
  • Black
  • Shades of brown
  • Light washes
  • Darkened or antique effects
  • Tiger-stripe and high-contrast
natural bamboo floor

Natural Colored Bamboo

Natural colored bamboo is the light shade of tan that most people think of when they imagine bamboo products. It is the natural color of mature bamboo plants (not green like the younger shoots and stalks). This color is often described as a blonde or natural when ordering bamboo flooring. It fits with many interior designs because it is a warm, neutral tone with relative light grain and contrast.

carbonized bamboo flooring

Carbonized bamboo flooring

Carbonized bamboo flooring is usually a medium to dark brown to dark brown. The color is achieved by heating the bamboo to a temperature that caramelizes the natural sugars in the plant, turning the material a darker shade. Carbonized bamboo floors are somewhat softer than their un-carbonized counterparts, so take this into consideration when you’re looking at bamboo flooring types if you really need extra durability.

Stained Bamboo Floors

Stained bamboo floors are just that—stained. Like any other wood product, the top layer can have a stain applied to achieve a certain color. Most kinds of bamboo floors can be stained, but some types of strand woven bamboo floors are too dense for the stain to adhere, so any coloring of those planks must be done during the manufacturing process and not applied afterward. Stained bamboo floors give a number of different color options, so be sure to check and see if staining is an option for the type of bamboo flooring you are considering if you’d like a wider palette of colors to choose from.

Other bamboo flooring color options include shades as light as white or as dark as black. Different color effects can be added to make the planks look more like hardwood or even antique wood. These options combined with different sizes, manufacturing and processing, and finished gives you a wide variety of bamboo flooring types to choose from.

Bamboo flooring can also be divided into different types by their construction

  • Solid Bamboo Flooring

    Solid bamboo flooring is composed entirely of bamboo. The stalk of the plant is divided into even sections and then milled and pressed into flooring planks. Solid is available in natural or carbonized and horizontal or vertical, or stained floors. The planks can be nailed to plywood or glued to concrete sub floors.

  • Strand Bamboo Flooring

    Strand woven bamboo flooring is constructed using shredded fibers from the bamboo stalk, woven together and pressed under extreme heat and pressure with adhesives. Remember, strand woven bamboo flooring is the most durable type of bamboo flooring and arguably the most durable “wood” floor available, which has its own benefits. Additionally, it can be glued or nailed down and several companies warrant it for use over radiant heat flooring.

  • Engineered Bamboo Flooring

    The core of engineered bamboo flooring is compressed layers of other types of wood or fiberboard, usually oak, poplar, or teak. This allows for a more stable floor in areas of fluctuating humidity. Engineered bamboo flooring typically has a 1/8″ thick “wear-level” or top layer that is solid bamboo flooring. This creates the desires aesthetic.

  • Distressed Bamboo Flooring

    Distressed bamboo flooring, also known as hand scraped flooring, is made to look like pieces of hardwood that are more textured and rippled than modern bamboo. It has a ruffled or wavy effect across the planks, giving them a more antique look. The core of distressed flooring is solid bamboo, so it is very durable and comes with the many benefits of bamboo as a flooring material. But the top of distressed bamboo floor planks are where the distressing or scraping shows. It is often stained and has a finish added for a high-quality plank. Make sure to consider the finish as the higher-quality manufacturing requires a better finish. Installation with this type of bamboo flooring is about the same as solid bamboo as it can often be glued or nailed, but requires care and cleaning.