Refinishing Bamboo Floors

Refinishing Bamboo Floors

Many of the sales pitches will compare traditional bamboo floors to hardwood floors. One of the most common claims about bamboo flooring is that it is actually harder than hardwood floors. Some companies will even show statistics on the hardness of bamboo compared to hardwoods. Some make ridiculous claims like that “bamboo is actually harder than oak”! It obviously is quite softer than oak! Bamboo is not as hard as the floor manufacturers claim. A lot of people look at the Janka Hardness Test as a means to justify and explain the durability of bamboo flooring. If you look at many of the Janka Hardness Test online, you will see that bamboo largely fluctuates. It is actually rated at 1180 p.s.i. However, some tests put bamboo higher up in the Janka Hardness Test, making it appear stronger than it actually is. You should be very weary of these skewed test results, especially when they are coming from manufacturers who our out to sell you bamboo floor coverings. These manufacturers want to make bamboo look as hard as possible. A lot of the skewed results will test the hardest parts of the wood like the joints, edges and knots. (Bamboo doesn’t have any knots but you get my drift.) Many people will bend the rules of the test to make bamboo look strong. They may use the highest quality bamboo even though most of the bamboo available to the public is young and soft.
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Refinishing Bamboo Floors

The reason why bamboo flooring is known for its environmental sustainability is that it is considered a grass and not a tree. This means that it is harvested when it is quite young. The comparison is that it takes an oak tree 60 to 120 years to grow to maturity whereas it takes only about five years for a bamboo plant to mature to the point when it can be harvested. It also self-generates relatively quickly. This means that without planting a new crop of bamboo, it will regenerate on its own. Also, it uses hardly any pesticides and fertilizers. In other words, bamboo is a very easy and fast-growing crop. Another compelling reason for bamboo is that the U.S. Green Building Council’s (USGBC) LEED Rating System recognizes bamboo as a green building material. The USGBC actually grants credits for using bamboo in building construction and this obviously includes bamboo floors. This makes bamboo even more appealing. This sounds great. This credit program supports the manufacturers’ sales tactics. This easy-to-understand sales pitch grabs any consumer who doesn’t do his homework! But, as you become more familiar with bamboo flooring, you will learn that it is sold as a “feel good” product. People think that by choosing a bamboo floor, they are doing an act of green. Besides, brands like “EnviroChoice Bamboo Flooring” and “EcoTimber Flooring” make bamboo flooring sound like a terrific, environmentally-friendly option to the average homeowner looking to do their floors.
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Refinishing Bamboo Floors

If you’re considering bamboo flooring, chances are you’ve heard tons of conflicting info about the benefits of drawbacks of using bamboo material in your home or commercial space. A quick Google search will present you with an overwhelming amount of claims that will probably leave you scratching your head in confusion. The fact of the matter is that bamboo flooring has evolved a lot over the years, and even today not all bamboo flooring is created equally. This has led to a great deal of outdated or misinformation floating around that is simply inaccurate. There is no one-size-fits-all guide to bamboo flooring; manufacturing quality control, the bamboo’s maturity, and the quality of binders and adhesives used all affect a floor’s durability, VOC off-gassing, and overall consumer value. Bamboo Flooring Facts With everything you’ve heard about bamboo flooring, how can you be sure what is fact and what is fallacy? We’ve heard it all at Cali Bamboo, so today we’re presenting some bamboo flooring facts to debunk the top 10 bamboo flooring myths.
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Refinishing Bamboo Floors

Hi Huy, Owners of traditional wood floors are initially really concerned whether bamboo can be re-finished, probably because traditional woods are prone to denting and scratching from things like high heels and dog’s claws. Because our bamboo flooring is solid bamboo (unlike engineered) technically yes, they can be refinished several times in fact. Refinishing bamboo flooring is probably no more difficult than refinishing traditional wood flooring which is actually a difficult and extremely messy task and should be done by professionals. The reason our reps don’t like to spend time talking about refinishing, and what people who have these concerns come to realize is you don’t need a floor that is refinish-able if you don’t have denting and scratching in the first place. Once people get the floors installed and see how much better it is than their old wood flooring they forget all about refinishing. It’s actually a very freeing experience for a homeowner. Hope this helps Huy.
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Refinishing Bamboo Floors

Hi Huy, Owners of traditional wood floors are initially really concerned whether bamboo can be re-finished, probably because traditional woods are prone to denting and scratching from things like high heels and dog’s claws. Because our bamboo flooring is solid bamboo (unlike engineered) technically yes, they can be refinished several times in fact. Refinishing bamboo flooring is probably no more difficult than refinishing traditional wood flooring which is actually a difficult and extremely messy task and should be done by professionals. The reason our reps don’t like to spend time talking about refinishing, and what people who have these concerns come to realize is you don’t need a floor that is refinish-able if you don’t have denting and scratching in the first place. Once people get the floors installed and see how much better it is than their old wood flooring they forget all about refinishing. It’s actually a very freeing experience for a homeowner. Hope this helps Huy. Reply
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Refinishing Bamboo Floors

The Truth: The first generation of bamboo floors to hit the market in the mid-1990s gave bamboo a bad reputation for being soft and susceptible to scratching and denting, but advances in manufacturing techniques over the years have actually made certain types of bamboo flooring far more durable than even the hardest traditional hardwoods. Strand-woven bamboo flooring debuted in 2007 and is over 3x more durable than vertical or horizontal bamboo flooring. An evolution in the manufacturing process from simply gluing bamboo strips together to utilizing steel hydraulic presses capable of applying intense heat and tens of thousands of pounds of force forming a dense block from which the flooring planks are then milled. Cali Bamboo’s Fossilized® strand woven process takes this one step further, compressing 30% more bamboo into each plank achieving 5x greater density.
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Refinishing Bamboo Floors

Even though bamboo is not a sustainable resource, it is worth looking at how it holds up as a floor covering. If you go with a lower cost bamboo, there is a very good chance that it will discolor and turn yellow relatively quickly. Also, the lower cost bamboo floors are also prone to scratches very easily. Because it lacks grain and typically has a glossy finish, scratches show up extremely clearly. Manufacturers sell bamboo on its supposed hardness. What they are really doing is using aluminum oxide, which is the hardest finish possible. They think that by using the most durable finish, they are making the bamboo itself stronger. This means that manufacturers are selling bamboo claiming that it is a hard, long-lasting product. No matter how hard the finish, if the “wood” is soft, it will not make the slightest difference. Aluminum oxide will never stand up to the softness of the bamboo product. It will not strengthen bamboo, no matter what the manufacturers tell you. Even if they apply seven or ten coats of aluminum oxide, they are just trying to compensate for a lower quality, soft floor product.
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Refinishing Bamboo Floors

Strand woven bamboo is quite different than other bamboo flooring because it is a one-piece board. A lot of the other stuff is produced by cold-gluing small bamboo strips together. It is tongue and groove. Strand woven bamboo flooring can be installed like any hardwood floor. It is significantly stronger than other bamboo flooring types. This makes strand woven bamboo flooring relatively easy to refinish. Like all bamboo though, it still emits formaldehyde, even if the levels might be slightly lower. Strand bamboo currently uses phenol formaldehyde adhesive and there is no other alternative to date. Another downside to it is that it is known to splinter on the sides of the boards.
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The cheaper varieties of bamboo are not always processed the way they are supposed to be. These bamboo plants are also harvested when they are too immature to make good quality floors. The younger the bamboo is, the softer the floor is going to be. The young bamboo retains a lot of water. If the floor product is not dried properly, it will be prone to shrinking and warping. Also, if bamboo is not treated within three days of being cut, it will mold. This also can make for dull flooring. However, far too often, the bamboo is produced quickly and cheaply. As I said before, there is no regulation for how bamboo is produced and processed so you have to be very careful because you probably will not know what you are getting!

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