Residential Kitchens — Bamboo Flooring Considerations

Residential Kitchens - Bamboo Flooring Considerations

Bamboo Flooring In Residential Kitchens

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Kitchen Spills and Stains

The major concern when purchasing any flooring material for a kitchen is the fact that this can be a pretty tough environment. Frequently food and food ingredients will splatter, spill, and splash across the room, sending a variety of colorful staining agents raining down on your beautiful floors. If you don’t have the right material installed this can be a disaster.

In its natural state, untreated bamboo doesn’t have much of a chance in the kitchen. While it is less absorbent that hardwood, it is still a natural material, and if liquids come in contact with its surface they will seep in. This can cause staining, plumping, warping, and the growth of mold. That is why bamboo in a kitchen needs to be treated with a proper sealing agent, in order to create a clear covering over the top of the material.

Generally bamboo sealing agents are comprised primarily of polyurethane. In some cases wax can be used, but this is only recommended in commercial applications, as it will require periodic industrial buffing. Many bamboo materials come pre-sealed, and engineered flooring actually has a variably thick, invisible wear layer that protects its surface, making it nearly impervious to stains and moisture.

Pets, Heels, And Surface Scratches

While it is true that bamboo is harder than most hardwood flooring options, it is still relatively soft, and can suffer from scratches, dents, and mars caused by a variety of objects. Unprotected furniture legs dragged against the floor can cause gouges, and unpadded high heels can lead to nips and marks in the floor. Pet claws can also be a problem, especially if you have a large, rambunctious canine in the house.

The best way to deal with this is to use preventative measures. Mats and rugs can be placed at entrances to the kitchen, and in other high traffic locations like in front of the sink. You can also take care to ensure all furniture legs are equipped with felt protective pads, and the padding on high heels is in place. Regularly trimming pet nails will also help to keep your floor looking good.

Another important preventative measure you can take is to regularly sweep or vacuum the floor clean of any loose dirt or debris that may accumulate. These tiny particles can end up getting dragged across the surface by passing feet, causing small grooves to tear through the finish of the material. These blemishes will add up over time giving the bamboo an aged, wsorn appearance.

Ecological Impact of Bamboo Kitchen Floor

Bamboo is one of the most highly renewable natural resources available. Unlike trees which take upwards of 20 years to reach maturity, Bamboo can be fully ripe and ready for harvest in 3-5. It is also recyclable, and bio degradable. That means that as a material it has a very low impact on the environment.

However there are some concerns about Bamboo manufacturing and practices. In some cases bamboo fields are planted to the exclusion of more important crops and natural vegetation. You also have to consider the impact of CO2 gasses released in transporting bamboo from where it grows, in Southeast Asia, to the rest of the world.

Health Concerns: Solid and strand woven bamboo floor materials are made by adhering pieces of the stalk together into a dense whole using an adhesive. Depending on the adhesive used, there may be a potential for the off-gassing of Volatile Organic Chemicals from this adhesive.

Bamboo Kitchen Floor Style

Bamboo looks much like hardwood flooring, and it can range in color from light tan all the way to burnt brown. You have to be careful however, as darker colors are achieved through a carbonization process that makes the material less hard. You can also stain and paint bamboo in an endless variety of colors.

Because it is both harder, and more water resistant than wooden floors, bamboo is often a good alternative in a kitchen. However you still have to be aware of moisture, flooding, and humidity damage that can occur.

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