Bamboo flooring is typically more water-resistant than hardwoods. That being said, few – if any – floors are permanently waterproof (meaning they remain completely unaffected by water or moisture of any volume). While bamboo is water-resistant, it’s still a natural material, meaning the organic structure can give way to warping where there is excessive moisture.
We define ‘excessive moisture’ as a puddle of water left on the surface of the flooring for extended periods (more than 20 hours) or a flood. It’s worth noting that bamboo is also a naturally hostile environment for mold – stifling and slowing its ability to grow under normal circumstances. If you get a high-quality bamboo floor, it will typically provide you with spill protection in case of puddles.
So, is bamboo flooring water-resistant? The answer is, mostly! In this article, we explore if bamboo flooring is water-resistant, and we compare it to other forms of flooring options for your home.
How Water Resistant Are Bamboo Floors?
Some of the most commonly-asked questions we get are about whether or not bamboo flooring is waterproof, how the floors handle spills, and how moisture affects them. 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 – essential 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.
What Happens to Bamboo Flooring When It Gets Wet?
Bamboo flooring, especially brands with spill-protective finishes, can endure moisture and standing water for a short time. Extended moisture exposure, however, can lead to warping and distortion of the planks known as “cupping.” We refer to it as cupping because the boards become concave in the center of the plank. Cupping is caused by more than just spills: high humidity levels, improper acclimation, and subfloor moisture can lead to the same distortion. In general, we recommend cleaning up standing water as soon as possible, but Ambient Floors have an Accuseal Ultra Finish that is warrantied for up to 24-hour spill protection.
Should Bamboo Flooring Be Installed In A Kitchen?
Yes – bamboo flooring works great in kitchens since strand woven bamboo flooring provides 20-hour spill protection, and 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.
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 compared to hardwood floors. Other hardwoods may be permanently damaged by excessive water, whereas strand woven bamboo will often retain its shape once 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. 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.
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.
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, 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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Last Updated: 11/8/2021