Bamboo floors are rapidly becoming a popular choice of home owners. Whether you already have bamboo or happen to have them under consideration for your home, you will be interested to know that bamboo floors care is easier and offers some important structural advantages over hardwood.
What makes bamboo flooring different?
It is easily done, but none-the-less wrong to lump bamboo flooring in with hardwood. Bamboo is in fact a grass, and because it is, bamboo has its own unique properties and comes to us by way of an unusual manufacturing process that sets it apart.
Bamboo grasses do not grow solid like a tree so cannot be harvested in pieces large enough to use for flooring boards. The stalks are cut into strips then precision milled to squared lengths.
Multiple squared lengths are bonded together in layers to form “boards” which are in turn milled to a profile resembling hardwood flooring strips. The flooring strips are sold either natural blond or smoked to varying tones of darkness. All are top coated with a durable, clear finish.
Properly installed, you have the warmth and luxury appearance of fine hardwood with the ease of floor care and maintenance only possible with bamboo floors.
Deterioration of the coating of clear urethane on the surface of your bamboo is attributable to the abrasive action of dirt, sand, and other grit that makes its way into your home. Keep a fine fiber broom handy for regular cleanup of this and other debris.
Periodic vacuuming will do a more complete job. Frequency will depend upon the amount of traffic in your home. It is a good idea to put down a shoe cleaning mat at every entry door.
For the sake of cleanliness and appearance you should wash your floor from time to time after running the vacuum. Any no rinse, clear drying cleaner such as a dish washing liquid mixed with clean water will do.
Unlike hardwood floors, bamboo fibers are not subject to swelling, dishing and grain raising problems caused by moisture. The important thing here is to avoid leaving a cloudy or streaky detergent build up on the clear finish, so avoid cleaners that contain oil, acidic or caustic ingredients. It’s really quite easy if you just spend a little time reading the labels.
Another good idea is to make the effort to find a good quality micro fiber floor mop. From the very first time you damp mop your floor with one of these you will agree it’s worth it. The super fine fabrics soak up and hold dirt and grime, leaving a clean, clear surface that’s dry in minutes.
Never apply wax to your floor. Don’t even be tempted to try it out to improve the shine. Wax can cause adhesion problems even years after it was applied if refinishing is ever required.
Remember, Bamboo is definitely harder than the hardwoods most commonly used for flooring, so it will withstand more pressure before denting and gouging, but the surface finish applied to both is about the same. Most gummy and gooey soiling can be easily removed by applying ice until they become brittle, then giving a scrape.
A small investment in felt coaster pads that adhere to the bottom offurniture legs will buy years of added life to the finish on your bamboo floor. Next to the abrasive action of grit, scratches caused by moving unprotected furniture about causes the most noticeable damage to your floor, even if damage to the actual bamboo is negligible.
YOU CAN EXPECT YOUR BAMBOO FLOOR TO LAST A LONGER
Should it come to it, refinishing your bamboo floor is a fairly easy project to complete? Because you won’t have to deal with such problems as cupping caused by excessive moisture or filling gaps resulting from shrinkage during extended periods of dryness, heavy sanding and special equipment isn’t necessary. What you will be doing is clarifying and refreshing the protective surface finish to make your bamboo look like new. If you are handy, it can be done without the help of a professional contractor.
Start with a light sanding of the existing surface. Rough it up enough to allow newly applied layers of liquid urethane to grab hold and create a firm bond. You can accomplish this with 100 grit paper rubbed back and forth along the length of the bamboo strips. Do an entire room at a time? When complete, vacuum well, and then use a slightly dampened cloth to pick up every last speck of the powdery white sanding dust that remains. It is very important to allow the surface to dry completely. If it isn’t, moisture trapped below the new surface can effect adhesion or cause clouding.
It is probably best to apply a solvent based urethane. These allow a much longer open time or working time than water based urethanes. Use a lamb’s wool applicator pad. They make it easy to apply an even coat that is thin enough to avoid pooling, but heavy enough to flow smoothly into the sanding scuff marks. Don’t use a roller because they cause bubbles to form.
Allow a full 24 but not more than 48 hours drying time before applying the second coat. Two coats is sufficient to give you a sparkling-like-new floor. The longer you can wait to let the surface dry and cure before returning furniture into place, the better.
Read more: THE HARD FACTS ABOUT MARBLE FLOOR CARE