Bamboo is my all-time favorite for wood floors because of its eco-friendly properties.
Plus, the material is resistant to moisture, molds, mildew, and insects; making it a popular choice for homeowners who are looking for a highly durable wood flooring option.
Most manufacturers claim that bamboo flooring can last for more than 25 years.
And that’s the reason many of them even offer a lifetime structural warranty on their product, which is an added bonus.
Like any hardwood floor, if you maintain and care for the bamboo well, your floors can last even longer.
Maintaining your bamboo floors obviously include regular clean-ups, along with refinishing, staining, and sealing the floors once every 2-3 years.
This will keep your floors in a shiny, scratch-free, tip-top condition.
How to Refinish Bamboo floor?
Refinishing your bamboo floors is the best solution to enhance their longevity.
In fact, it’s much more cost-efficient than keeping your floors neglected, which will later need to be replaced.
The good thing is, that you can even mimic your resilient floors to look like LVT (luxury vinyl tile) products.
The steps to refinish your bamboo floor are easy and are as follows…
Step 1 – Clean the floor
Start by removing all the furniture and rugs in the room.
Then clean all the dust and debris on your floor (and entire room) by giving them a good vacuum.
If required, wipe or wash the floor using soapy water to remove the old waxy layer that may have been deposited over time.
Instead of a soap water solution, you can also use a natural cleaning product that is formulated for hardwood floors and is gentle on bamboo.
After you have wiped the floor clean, allow it to dry completely.
Step 2 – Remove old finish
Next, you need to strip off the old finish which may include old layers of stain, paint, varnish, or sealer.
Lightly sanding the floor with an electric sander (equipped with medium-grit sandpaper) can ease your job here.
When sanding, make sure you do not apply too much pressure on your floor, or else it can damage the bamboo veneer.
Step 3 – Fix the holes and deep gouges
Once you are done with sanding, wipe all the sawdust with a clean soft cloth.
Choose a wood filler with a color that closely matches the color of your floor.
And apply it to your floor to fill all the small holes, splinters, and deep gouges.
Also, apply the putty filler to the scratches to make the surface splinter-free and smooth.
Then allow a couple of hours to dry the filler and with fine-grit sandpaper, lightly sand the surface to smoothen it as much as possible.
Step 4 – Apply the wood stain
After the floor is dried, apply a thin light coat of stain to the wood floor with a bristle brush or a paint roller.
For refinishing – generally, you will require to color and stain the areas that had faded with time.
But if you want, you can apply the stain to the entire wooden floor to give it a nicer well-finished look.
Let the stain dry for 3-4 hours, then apply a second coat to the whole flooring area.
Choose a darker color stain or a stain color that matches closely with the floor color.
If you choose a lighter color you will need to apply more than two to three coats to get the desired finish.
Step 5 – Apply the polyurethane sealant
Once the stain finish has dried on the floor, seal your floor with a polyurethane sealant.
Apply a first thin layer of sealant finish with a brush.
Allow it to dry for 2-3 hours and then apply a second layer that is a bit thicker than the first.
Polyurethane offers a clear, shiny, tough, and scuff-resistant layer of protection that prevents the floor from getting scratched and other day-to-day deterioration due to foot traffic.
Although polyurethane is a great sealer for bamboo floors, if you are selecting any other sealant, make sure that it’s compatible with your floor finish.
Also, read the instructions well and follow the manufacturer’s guidelines while applying.
Tips and Warnings
Although bamboo is considered to be a sustainable wood flooring, it’s not 100% safe.
Few types of bamboo flooring even contain chemicals like formaldehyde and other VOCs in traces that can be dangerous to breathe in.
So, before you, sand, refinish, and/or stain your bamboo floors remember to wear personal protective equipment to avoid inhaling the toxic sawdust and dirt.
Also, after you have stained, sealed, and refinished your bamboo flooring, give it enough time to dry (at least 24 hours to 36 hours) before you return the furniture, rugs, and other items to your room.
How Much Does it Cost for Refinishing Bamboo Floors?
If you go the DIY route, you may expect to spend around $1–$2 per square foot.
However, if you are hiring a professional to do the job, it may cost around $3 to $5 per square foot to refinish your bamboo wood floors.
The exact amount you will need to invest for refinishing your will more or less depending on the floor type, room size, location, tools your rent, the quality of products you choose, and many other things.
Although there are strategies that can help you save a good amount on your paint job when you compare the cost of refinishing your bamboo flooring to the cost of installing engineered hardwood floors, refinishing is clearly a cheaper option.
Can You Refinish All Types of Bamboo Flooring?
Bamboo floor is basically made from bamboo stalks that are constructed in different formats to change their looks significantly.
Depending on the design and orientation of the bamboo the three most common types of flooring include:
- Vertical bamboo flooring
- Horizontal bamboo flooring
- Strand-woven bamboo flooring
Can you sand and stain all these types of bamboo flooring?
While vertical and horizontal bamboo can both take the stain colors very well, strand-woven is the type of bamboo flooring that can be difficult to stain.
Strand-woven is also less prone to scratches compared to horizontal and vertical non-woven bamboo floors.
For this reason, I think you should avoid sanding, restaining, or refinishing them unless it’s very essential.
Engineered Bamboo Floor
Like hardwood, bamboo is also available in both solid as well as engineered options.
Solid planks are typically entirely made from bamboo, whereas engineered ones are made from thin bamboo veneers that are often attached to a plywood or fiberboard core.
The thing you need to keep in mind is – that engineered bamboo floors should only be sanded refinished if the veneer is thick enough (more than 2mm) to resist the sanding and refinishing process.
If in doubt, it’s best to talk to a flooring specialist near you who is the right person to tell whether you can refinish your engineered bamboo wood flooring.
And if possible, how many times can they be safely refinished without getting the damage.
Carbonized Bamboo Flooring
Bamboo flooring can also be classified based on carbonized and non-carbonized (natural) products.
Carbonized bamboo flooring is a processed darker color option while non-carbonized (natural) bamboo is lighter in color which is good at hiding the dents and scratches well.
When refinishing your bamboo floors, check whether the flooring material you have is carbonized or natural non-carbonized.
Unlike non-carbonized, carbonized bamboo carries the same color throughout the plank. Which makes it easier to sand and refinish while maintaining the same beautiful color.
Cleaning and Maintenance Tips for Bamboo Wood Floors
Bamboo floors are among the best hardwood floor alternatives.
They are known for their strength and are considered even better than vinyl plank flooring.
However, to keep your bamboo floors shining, it’s good to clean and maintain them on regular basis.
Here are a few easy tips and tricks following which you can make your floors refreshed and lavish…
- Daily – Vacuum or sweep your floor with a soft bristle brush to remove loose dust, and dirt
- Once a week – Use a PH neutral wood floor cleaner spray solution to get rid of build-up grime and wax layer
- Immediately – Wipe away any spills, liquids or liquors using an absorbent cloth to avoid getting the liquid soaked up into the floor
Besides following the above maintenance tips, make sure you also follow…
- Place doormats at the entrance to avoid the dirt, debris and moisture from getting inside
- Always lift heavy objects, furniture or any other sharp items for moving instead of dragging
- Remove your shoes while walking on bamboo floors and if possible, use another pair or footwear for outdoors
- Install anti-scratch felt protector pads to the bottom of your furniture to avoid scratches, scuffs and dents caused due to daily movements
- Never use any abrasive, acidic or harsh chemical-based cleaning products for cleaning bamboo floors
- Do not use wood oil, wax or any other furniture polish too frequently on your bamboo floors, it can leave sticky and slippery residue
- Never use a steam mop for bamboo surfaces, it can make the planks warped and distorted. Instead clean the floors only with a good quality microfiber mop
The Bottom Line
In most cases, a high-density bamboo floor comes pre-finished and will rarely need to be re-stained once installed properly.
However, depending on the quality of bamboo floors you have, they may be prone to scratches (along with daily wear and tear) – sooner or later.
To up-keep their shine and durability, it’s important that you spare some time for refinishing and resurfacing.
While thicker and high-quality bamboo floors can handle frequent sanding and several refinishing processes; if your floor is thin, delicate and of lower quality, you may need to replace them after some time.
When refinishing, make sure you follow the above steps carefully and use the good branded materials that will make your bamboo floors for decades.
Jack Luis is a semi-retired painter who loved painting his clients’ ideas on their walls.
He had worked as a painter for over a decade serving customers in areas such as Charleston, Mount Pleasant, Beaufort, and Georgetown, SC (South Carolina). Today in his free time, he likes to read and write about the newer techniques implemented in his profession. You may read more about him here or get in touch with him here.