If you are drawn to the beauty and natural warmth of bamboo, you may be eager to install it throughout all common areas in your home. Finding the right flooring material for the kitchen is often problematic because of heavy foot traffic, water exposure, the increased possibility of damage from dropped dishes and more. In addition to these concerns, the fact that the kitchen is the heart of the home must be taken into consideration. The style and ambiance of this room carries throughout the home. When you discover bamboo, you understandably may wonder if you have finally found the right material for your kitchen floor. However, is bamboo kitchen flooring a good idea? Several factors should be explored before you finalize your decision and install a new material in your home.
The Style of Bamboo Floor
It is easy to fall in love with the beauty of bamboo floor, and this may be enhanced by the fact that there are several types of bamboo flooring available that each bring a slightly different look into your home. Generally, bamboo kitchen flooring has a similar look to hardwood flooring. It has an upscale style with natural elegance that can elevate your home decor immediately. It is also available in a wide range of tones, and these extend from yellowish hues and light tan shades to very dark shades of brown. Generally, bamboo with a darker color has been carbonized. Carbonization can weaken the wood, so this could make darker colors less practical in a high-traffic area of the home. Painting or staining bamboo floor planks is another way to adjust its color, and there are numerous lighter and darker tones available to choose from through these techniques. Because of the incredible variety of colors available for bamboo floor, you may easily find a lovely option that will look amazing in your kitchen.
Durability of Bamboo Kitchen Flooring
Style is critical when you are choosing a kitchen floor material, but durability is equally important. After all, the last thing that you want is to install a material that is easily damaged and that looks worn and banged up soon after it is in place. There are three primary types of bamboo floor, and the durability of these types vary. Solid bamboo floor has solid fibers that run in a uniform direction down the planks. These are bonded with a special resin for extra durability and strength. Another type is strand-woven bamboo. The fibers are woven in a crisscross pattern, and this bolsters the strength of the floor planks dramatically. Keep in mind that both solid bamboo and strand-woven bamboo planks can be refinished through a sanding process when necessary, and this can extend the life of the floor.
The third type is engineered bamboo, which is the most water-resistant type available. The engineering process involves adhering a thin layer of bamboo fibers to a durable backer board. Because of the engineering process, refinishing this type of bamboo floor is not possible.
You may have heard that bamboo is one of the hardest types of hardwood floors available, and this is true. Nonetheless, all types of bamboo kitchen flooring could be scratched or dented if you drop heavy or sharp objects onto it. You should not drag furniture across it. It also can be damaged by unpadded high-heeled shoes, dog claws and other items. You will need to take steps to protect it in the same fashion as you would protect other types of wood floors. For example, you should place pads on the feet of your kitchen stools.
Moisture Concerns for Bamboo Kitchen Flooring
As is the case with all types of wood flooring, bamboo can be damaged when it is exposed to moisture. Natural, untreated bamboo will easily absorb water from spills, leaks and high humidity, and this may lead to warping, water stains and even the growth of mold. However, bamboo flooring can be treated with a special top layer. This is a clear topcoat that makes the wood resistant to water damage.
Commonly, bamboo flooring is sealed with a polyurethane coat, and the other option is to use a wax coating. Generally, you should steer clear of wax-coated bamboo for residential use. This is because it must be buffed using an industrial-grade process periodically in order to keep it looking great. When you buy bamboo flooring, always make sure that it is pre-sealed with a polyurethane coat. If not, you will need to seal it yourself immediately after installation. The exception is engineered bamboo flooring. The engineered flooring usually has a thick and moisture-resistant wear layer. However, water damage can still occur at the seams between the planks.
The Environmental Impact of Bamboo Floors
Many homeowners who want to make a green choice for their home are drawn to bamboo because it has a high rate of renewal. Bamboo can reach full maturity in a few years and at a much faster rate than most trees. Plus, bamboo is biodegradable and can be recycled. While the material itself is a green choice, the manufacturing process may leave some room for concern. For example, bamboo is often planted in farm fields, which may eliminate natural flora that is better for the local ecosystem. In addition, the carbon footprint associated with producing and shipping the flooring can be considerable.
Air pollution is another concern. The adhesive resin used on strand-woven and solid bamboo floors may have VOCs, or volatile organic chemicals. These may impact the environment negatively, and they can contribute to indoor air pollution and may cause allergic reaction in the home’s occupants.
As is the case with any type of floor material, bamboo has significant pros as well as a few cons. You may reduce the impact of bamboo’s downsides by carefully selecting the specific bamboo material for your home. Now that you know more about bamboo kitchen flooring, are you ready to explore the materials available?