Is Bamboo Flooring Waterproof?

Note: This article was originally published on April 17, 2017. It was updated on March 6, 2023, to reflect current information.

Is bamboo flooring water-proof?  The answer is Yes – if you buy the right bamboo floor.  Rigid core SPC bamboo flooring is waterproof as long as you don’t leave spills unattended for long periods of time, and is resistant to damage from typical damp mopping or normal household spills that are not left unattended. Most flooring warranties do not cover flooding, leaking pipes, household mechanical failures, appliance leaks, pet urine, or puddles left unattended.

Most other non-rigid core bamboo floors, like solid bamboo flooring or engineered bamboo with eucalyptus core, are highly water-resistant. Strand woven bamboo flooring handles water spills better than conventional hardwood flooring and typically provides you with spill protection from puddles for up to 24 hours.

It’s also important to remember that most traditional bamboo are floors (horizontal and vertical grain varieties sold in the big box stores) can warp due to excessive moisture. If you want to learn all about the types of bamboo flooring we recommend checking out The Essential Bamboo Flooring Guide.

Bamboo and Wood Flooring Absorb Moisture from the Air

All wood and bamboo flooring materials are hygroscopic. That means the fibers absorb moisture from the environment.

When you first buy your flooring, acclimate it for 5 to 7 days before installing it. (Read more about how to prepare for bamboo flooring installation.)

The moisture content of flooring continues to drop until it matches the amount of moisture in the air. That’s the equilibrium moisture content of the flooring and it changes with the temperature and relative humidity of the surrounding air.

graph showing equilibrium moisture ontent of wood


Bamboo is more structurally stable than hardwood, but it still is impacted by moisture – just not as much. The better the finish, the better the protection of the wear layer against moisture intrusion. In the same amount of time, hardwood flooring swells, cups, and warps. Want to know more?  Check out everything you need to know – learn more about bamboo bamboo flooring now.

is bamboo flooring waterproof

How Water Resistant Are Bamboo Floors?

Some of the most commonly-asked questions we get are about whether bamboo flooring is waterproof, how the floors handle spills, and how moisture affects them. Hardwood and bamboo floors in the average home work hard – they must resist damage, and do so while remaining beautiful.

A key element of durability is water resistance.  High-moisture rooms like bathrooms, kitchens, and utility spaces, as well as entrance areas where wet or muddy boots may traipse require water-resistant flooring.

What is the Best Waterproof Bamboo Flooring?

The easy answer to this is Rigid Core Bamboo Flooring. This flooring is waterproof due to it’s ultra-stable limestone composite core and stranded bamboo wear layer. And if you use a version with a pre-attached IXPE or natural cork pad, you get additional protection from subfloor moisture!

Rigid Core Bamboo Flooring Side Cut Plank View
100% Waterproof Rigid Core Bamboo Flooring by Ambient

What Happens When Bamboo Flooring Gets Wet?

Bamboo flooring, especially strand woven bamboo and brands with spill-protective finishes, endures moisture and standing water very well. Extended moisture exposure (in non rigid-core bamboo floors) leads to warping and distortion called cupping. The term cupping refers to the concave shape of the center of the board.  Cupping results from more than spills. High humidity levels, improper acclimation, and subfloor moisture also cause cupping. We recommend cleaning standing water as soon as possible.

Should Bamboo Flooring Be Installed In A Kitchen?

Yes – bamboo flooring works great in kitchens: water droplets left on it will evaporate over time, with no harm to the floor itself. Strand-woven bamboo floors are also great for kitchens because of their hardness (more than twice as hard as most hardwoods). Even after years of use, they will still look great in high-traffic areas.

Can Bamboo Flooring Be Used In Bathrooms? Is It Water-Resistant?

Most hardwood floor manufacturers (including us) don’t provide a warranty on their full bathroom products. However, many of our clients install our floors in bathrooms without any problems. As a general rule of thumb, if you frequently use the bathtub (like bathing your children) and water spills over the tub or splashes in copious quantities, you probably should avoid putting bamboo or hardwood flooring in the bathroom. On the other hand, if you only have a shower stall or you rarely use your tub, you can typically install a bamboo floor in a bathroom with zero problems. Just make sure to place protective mats or rugs at the entrance to the bathtub.

Some people ask if they can put bamboo flooring underneath cabinets or islands, so check out our article Flooring Under Islands and Cabinets.

Where Not to Install Bamboo

Bamboo provides natural beauty, but don’t expose it to nature. That means no outdoor installations. Keep it out of your gazebos and off your patios and decks.

Please don’t put it in any room with a pet washing station. Pet washing stations are increasingly popular in mud rooms and laundry rooms. If you’ve ever bathed a dog, there’s a LOT of splashing that goes on and that’s not great for any wood flooring. Even the Girl with the Dogs has a tile floor for her dog washing station.

Keep solid bamboo out of the basement. Only install solid bamboo above grade. Engineered click-lock bamboo flooring can be floated in basements, however.

Comparing Bamboo to Other Wood Flooring

Bamboo is a form of grass.  That’s what makes it more water-resistant than other wood floors. Excessive water may permanently damaged wood floors where strand-woven bamboo often retains its shape once dry. Leaving a puddle of water on the surface of bamboo or hardwood may leave a mark if it is not cleaned up within 20 hours. You can take steps to improve the water-resistance of any hardwood floor (such as using special polyurethane sealers to coat the surface). Still, these are usually unnecessary with strand bamboo flooring due to its durability.

bamboofloorwaterkitchenMay Your Cup Runneth Over.  Just Not On Your Wood Floor.


As a flooring material, bamboo flooring is suitable in almost all rooms. Not only is it aesthetically pleasing and available in a wide array of grains, dyes, and effects, but it’s also durable and water-resistant – ensuring that your floors withstand the heaviest of footsteps and stay beautiful for years to come. If all of this weren’t enough, bamboo flooring is also incredibly kind to the planet. It’s an exceptional all-rounder and an excellent choice for beauty, practicality, and green credentials.

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