A grass and not a hardwood, Bamboo is a green product – fast growing and renewable. It can be harvested every four to six years, depending up on the variety and how much fertilizing is done. Most all of the Bamboo building products on the market come from China. To utilize the Bamboo as a building product the 4"-6" Bamboo stalks are harvested, diced into cubes, and cut into strips. These strips are processed by boiling and bug proofing and then laid up into boards, flooring and plywood.
The types of Bamboo found on the market are: vertical and horizontal (sometimes called flat). Vertical Bamboo looks like VG fir or pine; all of the strips are laid up on their sides in a vertical fashion and the nodes (growth rings) tend to show up as little eyes similar to the spots in birds-eye maple. Horizontal has all the strips lying flat so that you see the nodes, and it has a more striking Bamboo appearance.
The colors that you will find in the market place are natural and carbonized (sometimes called caramelized). Natural is a blondish, honey color, from almost white to gold. Carbonized is more difficult to describe because the color comes from heating it. Most carbonized Bamboo will be a medium brown.