Can I Use Bamboo Flooring In A Kitchen?

Can you use a bamboo floor in your kitchen? That’s a question that we get a lot at Ambient, so we wanted to reassure you that bamboo is the perfect flooring for use in your kitchen.

This means that kitchen bamboo flooring is the best choice for busy families, especially those with pets, who want a no-fuss floor that doesn’t cost the earth and is easy to clean.

Let’s go through those points in more detail to give you a better idea of why bamboo flooring is best for your kitchen.

1. Why is bamboo flooring good for high traffic areas?

bamboo flooring for high traffic areas

Strand woven bamboo - in which bamboo fibers are woven together into a "mat" and then compressed - is the hardest type of wood flooring available, according to the Janka hardness scale. It beats out every single hardwood many times over, including teak, cherry, rosewood, and walnut. Bamboo 1, Trees 0.

This means its resistant to the kinds of scratches and scuffs that come from having several people (and probably a few pets) walking over it many times a day for 50+ years, along with the moving of heavy appliances and furniture. I mean, can your carpets say that?

For proof, just look at below videos

strand woven test

Strand Woven Bamboo Test

play
Can trees take Strand Woven Bamboo Test?
bamboo scaffolding

Bamboo Scaffolding

play
I mean, you wouldn’t be 400ft up on a soft material, would you?

That’s good to hear, but my family's a little more ‘rambunctious’ than most. Would bamboo flooring still be hard enough?

water fight children water play

Yeah! Strand woven bamboo has a Janka hardness rating of 3,500-5,500 and is much denser than hardwoods. In fact, the only other thing less susceptible to scrapes would be stone flooring, but that’s awfully cold for bare feet and paws.

If you’re still worried that your family could damage a bamboo floor, then you’ll be pleased to hear that bamboo has many different options for texture and finish, which can reduce the appearance of wear and tear.

The best combination of texture/finish for hiding stray scratches is:

  • Light Color
  • Matte Finish with aluminum oxide, which uses tiny pieces of metal to protect the bamboo (don’t worry, it’s totally safe for bare feet)
  • Distressed/Hand-scraped Surface Texture (i.e. hand-scraped or distressed)

Although, it’s probably still wise to insist that your kids take off their soccer boots and roller-skates outside, y’know for safety.

If you want to test bamboo flooring to see how it holds up against your family, why not order a sample piece and see how long it takes them to make a dent by hitting it with their baseball bat or stomping on it with their cleats?

How can I protect my floor to make it last longer?

There are several things you can do to protect your flooring from damage including:

  • Putting felt protectors on the feet of furniture
  • Putting mats at entry ways or underneath large appliances, especially if you have to move them
  • Vacuum or sweep regularly to remove a buildup of dirt
  • Place chair mats under rolling office chairs
  • Ask people to remove high heels or any shoes with spikes

What if my floor starts to look scratched over time?

bamboo floor scratched
That's not the floor!

One huge benefit of strand bamboo flooring is that it is highly unlikely to ever need refinishing in a residential setting. However, you can always get your bamboo floor refinished if it starts to look old. Refinishing a bamboo floor involves sanding down the surface and applying a fresh coat (or two) of finish.

It means that your floor will look brand new for a fraction of the price. Major win!

2. How is bamboo flooring more moisture resistant?

bamboo flooring moisture resistant

Bamboo flooring provides 24-hour spill protection against puddles and is more resistant to water damage than most types of hardwood, because bamboo is actually a grass that grows in humid climates. Unlike hardwoods, strand woven bamboo will retain its shape after drying out and is therefore much better for use in your kitchen, an area where spills are more common.

This means that if your dog comes straight in from the rain and shakes itself dry, your daughter makes a mess when washing up, or you literally spray your drink when your best friend tells you what happened to her at the grocery store, there’s no need to panic.

Why?

Because water droplets will evaporate naturally without you having to do a thing, which means more time to relax and put your feet up.

Even in case of puddles, like a leak or someone knocking over the pet’s water bowl, you have a whole 24 hours to wipe it up before it starts to cause a problem. This means peace of mind that if there’s a spill while you’re at work or asleep, they’ll be plenty of time before you need to deal with it. Remember however that bamboo flooring is not impervious to pet urine if it's left on the floor for more than 14 hours (like almost every other floor including concrete).

Wait, wait. What about mold growth?

Mold is probably the worst thing that you can come across in a kitchen (*shudders*), but you’ll be happy to know that under normal circumstances bamboo is a naturally hostile environment for mold. This means that even though you are able to leave water on your floor, you’re unlikely to see any mold growing there. However, like all materials, if bamboo flooring is completely flooded or submerged for more than a short time, and water has accumulated under the planks, we highly recommend removing and replacing the floor or calling in a mold remediation company for advice.

So, bamboo flooring is waterproof?

bamboo flooring water resistant

Bamboo flooring is water-resistant – much more so than hardwoods- but it isn’t waterproof. All flooring made from organic materials will warp and/or stain if the damage is severe enough (i.e. a flood) or prolonged enough (i.e. left for more than 20 hours). This means it’s still a good plan to put mats in areas when water damage presents an ongoing problem (i.e. under pet bowls, in front of doors, in front of the sink).

If you want to test our kitchen bamboo flooring yourself, get some free samples and put one under your pet’s water bowl or in the sink to see how long it lasts before warping, then watch it dry out and retain its shape.

What can I do to improve the water resistance of bamboo floors?

Well, you can always coat the floor with a special polyurethane sealer, but with properly treated strand bamboo flooring this isn’t usually necessary.

But I heard that bamboo flooring is highly-sensitive to humidity.

humidity
It's just so humid

Actually, good quality bamboo flooring is incredibly good at handling humidity changes without shrinking or expanding. If someone does notice that their floors are swelling or shrinking, this is probably the result of:

  • Improper installation, with the installer leaving too much/little room around the edge of the floor
  • Improper environment settings, where the humidity has changed more than 20%, causing the planks to change size drastically
  • Improper manufacturing, with the manufacturer failing to moisture balance the bamboo planks sufficiently

Any special cleaning requirements in a kitchen?

bamboo floor cleaning
She couldn't do that with a mop!

Cleaning your bamboo floor is super easy and really shouldn’t take you long at all, which means less hassle and more relaxing for you. There is no special cleaning process for bamboo in kitchens.

All you need to do is:

  • Clear the floor of all items (i.e. mats, pet bowls, litter trays)
  • Sweep or vacuum the floor to easily remove dirt, dust, and pet fur
  • Mop with a lightly dam mop and an approved hardwood floor cleaning solution

Never steam mop or wet mop your bamboo floor. Also, stay away from products containing oil, soap, or scouring powder, and try to use vinegar sparingly.

3. How is bamboo flooring better for your health?

children

People rarely consider their health when they purchase flooring (or most other things that they don’t put into their bodies), but luckily the flooring industry does.

This is especially great if you have someone living with you who:

  • has asthma or other breathing difficulties
  • is a child
  • is pregnant
  • is elderly
  • has a compromised immune system

It’ll make you sneeze less

Hardwood and bamboo flooring is actually proven to reduce allergens in your house because the rigidness and smoothness of the floors means that dust and mites (the two most common irritants) have nowhere to hide.

This is good everywhere in the house, but especially in the kitchen because who wants dust or sneezing people around food?

It won’t affect your breathing

breathing

There are some strange rumors going around that bamboo floors contain formaldehyde and are perilous to human health, but luckily this isn’t true! There are several brands on the market that are completely safe.

While it is true that bamboo flooring manufacturers use trace amounts of phenol-formaldehyde resin during the manufacturing process, it’s on par with the levels used in household furniture and cleaning products, and not harmful to humans.

Look for brands that meet the CARB Phase 2 standard, the most strict indoor air standard around.

What should I look for?

The big three to look out for when choosing a brand are:

  • The Resilient Floor Covering Institute’s FloorScore, which measures the emissions of VOCs
  • The CARB Phase 2 standard, currently the most strict in the world.
  • Companies that post their test results on their website annually.

A FEW OTHER BENEFITS OF INSTALLING BAMBOO

These benefits don’t specifically relate to the use of bamboo flooring in kitchens but it’s still important to know for anyone considering it.

It’s really eco-friendly

Bamboo is an incredibly green material to use for production of flooring and furnishings, because it is a fast-growing and renewable plant.

You see bamboo stalks are ready to harvest after just 5 years and you don’t need to uproot the plant in order to do so. Because bamboo is a grass, it can continue to grow from the same root over and over again, without a drop in quality. It’s just like mowing your lawn.

Compare this with hardwood trees, which can take 30-60 years to fully mature, cannot regrow from the tree stump, and can dramatically affect the security of the surrounding earth when uprooted. Plus, it was probably some poor little bird’s home.

It’s very affordable

Because bamboo takes much less labor and materials to produce, it can cost two-thirds less than traditional hardwood making it better for your bank balance. Another benefit is that the ability to refinish the floor and overall durability of the material will save you money as time goes on.

It can also add a lot of value to your home, should you ever want to sell.

It’s versatile and attractive

Not only do the hardwearing and water-resistant properties of bamboo flooring mean that it’s a perfect addition to any room of the house, but you can also make the bamboo flooring in your kitchen fit in with any color scheme or style of décor by changing the texture and finish.

Want a more traditional kitchen? Get bamboo that has been heated to ‘caramelize’ the fibers and make it darker. Also, try a rougher finish to give it an aged look.

Looking for a sleek modern vibe? Keep the finish light and the texture smooth.

A low-maintenance option

There is virtually no upkeep to bamboo floors, so unlike your college roommate who insisted they were really ‘chill’, this is a really low maintenance product. This means it’s perfect for busy people who want good-looking houses without the stress.

So, can you use a bamboo floor in your kitchen? The answer Is yes. If you’re Interested in learning more about bamboo flooring in kitchens and if that’s the right choice for your house, look around our site and check out some more articles to find out.

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