Hardwood and bamboo floors in the average home have a tough task at hand – not only must they resist damage, but they must do so while retaining their aesthetic qualities under punishing conditions.
A key element of durability is water-resistance – especially important for high-moisture content rooms, like bathrooms, kitchens and utility spaces, in addition to front and back entrance areas where wet or muddy boots may traipse through.
In this article, we explore whether bamboo is water resistant, and compare it to other forms of flooring options for your home.
Can I use Bamboo Flooring in My Kitchen?
Yes – bamboo flooring is suitable for use in kitchens, as water droplets left on it will simply evaporate over time, with no harm to the floor itself. In fact, strand woven bamboo floors are great for kitchens because of their hardness (more than twice as hard as most hardwoods). This means that they look great in high traffic areas even after years of use.
Is Bamboo Flooring Waterproof?
Strand bamboo flooring is typically more water-resistant than hardwoods, but no – bamboo flooring is not waterproof, in fact no wood floor is waterproof. While bamboo is more resistant, it’s still a natural material, and as such the organic structure can give way to warping where there is excessive moisture.
We define ‘excessive moisture’ as a puddle of water that is left on the surface of the flooring for extended periods of time (more than 20 hours), or a flood. It’s worth noting that under normal circumstances, bamboo is also a naturally hostile environment for mold – stifling and slowing its ability to grow.
Comparing Bamboo to Other Forms of Wood Flooring
You’re probably aware bamboo is a form of grass – this is what provides it with heightened water resistance as compared to hardwood floors. Other hardwoods may be permanently damaged by excessive water, whereas strand woven bamboo will often retain it’s shape once it has dried out. 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. There are steps that you can take to improve water resistance of any hardwood floor (such as using special polyurethane sealers to coat the surface), but these are usually unnecessary with strand bamboo flooring due to it’s durability.
A Final but Important Note on Humidity
An excessively humid environment like that of bamboo flooring in a steamy bathroom that lacks ventilation, where a shower may be left on for a long time, with no means of escape for the steam, can cause problems for any type of wood. In such a room bamboo (alongside all forms of hardwood) will eventually ‘swell’, i.e. distort in shape as it absorbs and holds onto the moisture. This is why most flooring manufacturers don’t provide a warranty on their products in full bathrooms. On the other end of the spectrum, when wood floors are laid in an excessively dry atmosphere, the wood will eventually shrink and possibly cup.
As a flooring material, bamboo flooring is suitable in any conditioned room of a home except full bathrooms. Not only is it aesthetically pleasing and available in a wide array of grains, dyes and effects, it’s also durable and water-resistant – ensuring that your floors stand the heaviest of footfalls, beautifully, for the years to come. If all of this weren’t enough, bamboo flooring is also incredibly kind to the planet. An exceptional all-rounder and an excellent choice for beauty, practicality and green credentials.
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