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Bamboo Floor Restoration
When we talk about bamboo flooring, probably we should start by mentioning something obvious - it's not a tree but a grass. It is also a fairly new flooring material and the quality of the product varies greatly depending on the manufacturer. There is also not a dedicating grading system which can help you determine exactly what are you buying. Naturally, this results in a mess where some people are very happy with their bamboo while others are sorry they ever made such purchase. There are several types of bamboo floors – horizontal, vertical and strand woven.
Horizontal - Strips of bamboo are cut, then put on top of each other in order to form a plank and finally joined together.
Vertical - Bamboo slices placed on their edges then pressed together and laminated.
Strand Woven - Planks created by trimming the leftover bamboo strands which are then compressed and bonded with an adhesive under high heat and pressure. Known for their extreme durability.
Can Bamboo Even Be Sanded?
Yes, most types of bamboo can be sanded and refinished. Strand woven bamboo, however, is another matter for several reasons. First, it's hardness. According to the Janka hardness test, this type of flooring has a rating of 3,000 lbf. For comparison, the English oak only has 1,120 lbf. Imagine sanding that? The second reason is that a big part of bamboo flooring is pure adhesive. Even if you manage to sand successfully, you basically still have to apply the finish to a glue?
Another problem with sanding bamboo is that most of those floors are made in China and contain the poisonous chemical formaldehyde. Formaldehyde can also be found in solvent-based lacquers which are notorious for their toxicity. The easiest way to recognise the influence of this chemical is when you start to feel stinging in your nose, eyes and throat. While possible to sand a bamboo, it is not healthy, especially as a DIY activity. Formaldehyde is banned in Europe for a reason. Once you strip it off the bamboo, it turns to dust and can contaminate your house unless you use a dust extractor. However, do you know that even the best sanding equipment cannot hold 100% of the dust? There are always some remains.
When Is the Bamboo in Need of Restoration?
Bamboo floor restoration might be needed:
- Either when the bamboo flooring is installed, if it has not been pre-finished
- Several years after the installation, when scratches and worn out patches start to appear.
Bamboo flooring restoration is a process very similar to wood floor restoration and any professional floor sanding company can do it for you. While doing the bamboo sanding, you should bear in mind that bamboo is softer than most of the hardwood species and the sandpaper used in the bamboo floor restoration should be a finer grid.
For bamboo restoration and finishing after installation, buffing alone might be enough. It will smoothen the surface and make it ready for the application of the sealant. For the restoration after several years of usage, sanding might be required, which would help remove all scratches, light indentations and the whole sealant top layer. Then buffing would smooth the bamboo floor surface and finally, new coats of sealant would be applied.
If the bamboo flooring has been carbonised and its colour has been darkened, the sanding would not change its colour. If the bamboo flooring has been stained, or the time has changed its natural colour, then the sanding might restore it restoring it to its original shade.