Bamboo floors get Scratches harder then other natural floor alternatives. They are an excellent choice for flooring, known to be more durable than even hardwood floors so you can be confident that they will last for a long time.
If your bamboo floors are a light, natural color you can expect your floors to last more than 25 years. If your bamboo floors are a darker color, they’ve been carbonized. Still an excellent flooring product but they won’t be quite as sturdy as the natural colored bamboo flooring.
Whether your flooring is carbonized or not, you will inevitably find scratches. In this post, I’ll walk you through the different steps you can take to treat scratches found in your bamboo floors, and some frequently asked questions (including what it means to have carbonized bamboo flooring) thereafter.
Why do scratches occur on Bamboo floors?
In order to make the best decision about which bamboo floors will be the best option for you, it’s important that you know what the main causes for scratches are in order for you to know what to look out for when deciding.
The poor finish used by the manufacturer
Most bamboo floors are finished with an aluminum oxide solution. This is meant to prevent scratches and is typically applied at least five times or more for most high-quality bamboo floors.
Where the issue arises is when the manufacturer decides to use fewer than five layers of aluminum oxide. This can cause your floors to be more prone to scratching.
Whether the manufacturer made the decision based on cutting costs or not seeing the importance of additional layers, you as the consumer are the person who is impacted the most.
Now, this is not to say that bamboo flooring with 5 or more layers of aluminum oxide is completely scratch resistant, but you definitely see the difference when it comes to how scratch-prone your bamboo floors are.
A weak or thin wear layer
In addition to the layer of aluminum oxide that is applied to bamboo floors, you have what’s called the wear layer, which is the layer in between your base layer (sometimes made of different types of material like plywood) and your aluminum oxide layer.
This layer of your floor can come in varying levels of thickness and strength and can often impact how prone your floor can be to scratches. While both thin and thick wear layers can show signs of scratching, having a thin wear layer can impact your ability to remedy the scratches on your bamboo floors.
While we’ll cover this in more depth below, having a thin wear layer means that when scratches do appear on your bamboo floors, that you will have less floor to play with should you want to sand down or refinish your floors to give them a fresh look.
5 best ways to prevent or limit your floors from scratching
As with most other types of flooring (except for carpet and certain types of tile), it may feel like scratches on your bamboo floors are inevitable. We’ve put together a list of things you can do to make sure your bamboo floors see the least amount of scratches possible.
1. Make sure you are choosing bamboo floors with multiple layers of aluminum oxide and thick wear layers
Many manufacturers have now included this type of information on their packaging to help you get a glimpse of their production process. If this information is not available on their packaging, you may also be able to find the product on the manufacturer’s website where you will likely find more details.
2. Try to sweep your floors everyday (with a soft brushed dust mop)
We understand that life gets busy sometimes, but if you’re looking to keep your bamboo floors in tip-top shape, it’s important to make sure there isn’t any sand, dirt, or pebbles creating scratches on your floors. Even if you don’t have the time to do a thorough sweeping every day, even a light sweep can prevent lasting damage.
Another important note is to make sure that you are sweeping with a dust mop that has a soft brush. The ones with tougher bristles can have the adverse effect on your floors; your floors will be free of debris, but scratched all over. You can find out more about best dust mops in my closely related post.
3. Invest in anti-scratch pads for the legs of your furniture
The furniture in your home will inevitably move around or shift positions; this can be especially damaging to your bamboo floors if you have particularly heavy furniture. Placing small, anti-scratch pads can help you avoid scratching and/or permanent damage to your bamboo floors as these pads serve as an extra later of protection.
Also, pay close attention to the material that is being used for the pads you purchase. As with the broom being used for cleaning, you’ll want to make sure that the pads are made of a material that is soft and won’t cause scratches.
4. Be mindful of the types of footwear you have on
While this may seem like an obvious tip, it is easy to forget the impact that our shoes can have on bamboo floors. Specifically, heavy work boots, heals, and cleats can be extremely damaging to your floors. If possible, get yourself and your household into the habit of removing shoes at the front door; this is the easiest way to prevent scratching that can be caused by your footwear.
5. Place rugs or doormats at all entryways or in rooms with objects that can easily fall on the floor
Placing doormats at entryways can help with making sure dirt and debris don’t enter your home. This can be an easy implementation that should help collect a lot of the unwanted materials that can damage your floors.
Also, this may even help in areas like your kitchen, where pots, pans, utensils, and other kitchen items are likely to fall on the ground at some point. Having a small rug can help cushion the fall.
How to get Deep Scratches removed from Bamboo Flooring?
If you’ve a scratch or gouge visible, but otherwise the floor is in good condition, you can do a spot treatment on the scratch or gouge using a wood filler. I recommend the Furniture and Wood Repair Fillers by Katzco.
Follow below 5 easy steps in order to get Deep bamboo scratches filled:
- First things first, clear the area, and clean thoroughly to remove any dust or debris.
- Use a damp (only damp, not wet) paper towel to pull up any lingering dust.
- You may need to mix some colors to find the right color. Apply the filler to the area and use the included scraper to smooth over. If by scraping, the filler sinks below the level of the surface, then you need to apply more. Use a light touch in this process, it is always easier to add more filler, having a lot of excess is less desirable.
- Once you’ve filled the spot to the surface level and scraped, use a dry cloth to wipe away any excess and leave to dry according to the manufacturers recommendation.
- Once dried, apply a light coat of polyurethane sealer using a foam brush, leave to dry through the night. I recommend applying a second coat of the polyurethane sealer to be sure.
How to remove Superficial or Lighter Scratches of Bamboo Flooring?
If the scratches on your bamboo flooring are mostly superficial, meaning not very deep, don’t grab the sand paper just yet. You can do a mop on restoration using Rejuvenate All Floors Restorer. This product is formulated to actually fill in minor superficial scratches and give your floors a shine.
To clarify, this is not a product intended for a spot fix. If you're going to apply Rejuvenate to your floors, you will probably want to do the entire room. It will give your floors a very lustrous shine, which would look strange if it were only applied to a small spot on the floor. Follow below easy steps to apply Rejuvenate restorer:
- First, remove furniture and rugs from the room.
- Then you will need to give a good cleaning to the floor to remove any dust or debris. Consider vacuuming first and then sweeping with a microfiber cloth.
- Once cleaned, you will mop the Rejuvenate Restorer onto the floor. The manufacturer sells their own microfiber mop that has a bonnet for application.
- Start in a corner and work your way out of the room, because once it’s been mopped onto the floor you absolutely cannot walk back over it until it is dry.
- Mop with the grain of your floors, and do so gently, you don’t want bubbles. Drying time is one hour, but I recommend doubling that, particularly in cold or very hot temperatures. This effect can last three to six months.
The disadvantage to using this productf is that over time and multiple applications it can begin to leave a buildup on your floors that could require stripping. You can read more about from people who bought this product and left review on Amazon here or read on my blog about best hardwood floor polishers and tips removing buildup with amonia based Windex.
Taking care of Worn bamboo floors
What if you don’t need to do the heavy-duty process of refinishing your floors, but they are looking rough and worn with little scuffs and scratches all over?
You probably want to bring some life back to them and for that, you might be able to do what is called a screen and recoat.
There are a few instances in which you CAN NOT do the screen and recoat such as:
- If your floor has an aluminum oxide coating you can’t screen and recoat. The aluminum oxide coat is too hard to be roughed up by screening thereby making the process impossible. If you are unsure whether your floor has this coating, look to the color of your bamboo. When bamboo flooring is not a natural light color but is instead a darker “stained”, it has most likely been carbonized. Often carbonized bamboo floors are finished with an aluminum oxide coating. (Read more about carbonized bamboo flooring below.)
- If your floor has been treated with waxes, polishes, or oil soap products a screen and recoat is unlikely to be successful. The build up from those products will prevent polyurethane from bonding. (Unfortunately, this includes the aforementioned floor Rejuvenate Restorer.)
How to Screen and Recoat Your Bamboo Floors
To do a screen and recoat of your bamboo floors is much less intense than a total refinishing, however it will require some specialized equipment. To complete the process, you will need the following items:
- Damp mop and bucket
- 120 grit sand screen
- Floor finish applicator
- Pad painter
- Tack cloth
- Polyurethane finish
Follow below 7 steps to screen and recoat your bamboo floors:
- Remove all furniture and rugs. Vacuum and sweep the floor clean of dust and debris.
- Check for loose boards, nails, or staples. Fix these problems before proceeding.
- Damp mop the floor with a mix of 1 gallon water with 1 cup vinegar. Let dry completely.
- Abrade the finish of the floor with the buffer and a 120-grit sanding screen.
- Vacuum floor, and wipe down with a tack cloth.
- Apply polyurethane finish with pad painter or floor finish applicator.
- Let dry according to the manufacturer recommendations of your finish (at least 24 hours)
Screen and Recoat Tips
- Some people prefer to do two coats of polyurethane finish, and honestly, due to the preparation and work of the process, you might as well for added protection. If you choose to do two coats of finish, be sure to buff/screen in between.
- Dry time for the finish will be at least 24 hours but you should wait longer before moving the furniture and rugs back into the room. Wait at least 2-4 days for the furniture, and the longer the better for the rugs. Ideally 30 days before putting down rugs will ensure the finish has had sufficient time to cure.
What is Carbonized Bamboo Flooring?
Carbonization is a process where the bamboo is steamed in a setting of controlled heat and pressure. This means the darker color is achieved throughout the plank, not just the outer layers (as if stained like hardwood).
Carbonized bamboo is not as hard or durable as non-carbonized bamboo. Sometimes that can mean it is more vulnerable to dents and scratches. You must consider quality when purchasing, and cost.
If a darker color is important to you, then be assured of the quality you are purchasing. It can also be treated with an aluminum oxide finish (which is used on many flooring products) that can reinforce it and protect it from normal daily wear.
Do Bamboo Floors Scratch Easily?
This depends mainly on two factors: Is the bamboo carbonized and what is his quality? If your floors were the cheapest then odds are the quality is cheap as well. Light colored, quality bamboo floors are super durable. However, over time as with any floor, scratches will appear. Take precautions when you can:
- Keep your pet’s nails trimmed.
- Use rugs in high traffic areas.
- Use pads or coasters under furniture and chairs.
- eep spike heels or sport cleats off when walking on your bamboo floors.
Do dog nails scratch bamboo floors?
Yes, they can. Important factors come into play such as whether or not the floor is carbonized such as how heavy your dog is, how long the nails are etc.