When it comes to what flooring type people decide to move forward with in their homes, they often consider not only the flooring type, but they may also question whether they want the same flooring option for the entire home or just specific areas of the home.
The kitchen is often an area of your home that see lots of traffic and it can often be the focal point of your home. Since determining which floors to install in your kitchen is such an important decision, you’ll want to thoroughly research all of the most viable options. One option that has gained a lot of popularity in recent years is bamboo flooring.
Bamboo flooring can be a great option for your kitchen as it helps to alleviate many of the concerns you have when thinking of the ideal flooring type for this space. The kitchen is the area of your home where many people gather, it is prone to frequent spills, and it is often near an entrance from outdoors. The qualities that make bamboo floors great, including durability, scratch-resistance, and spill-resistance, help to showcase why they can be a perfect fit for kitchens.
In this article, we are going to provide the solutions that bamboo flooring offers that help to answer your biggest concerns, we’ll share some additional features and benefits that you may not be aware of, and we’ll share a few things you should keep in mind before making a final decision.
5 kitchens characteristics and why bamboo flooring is good
Your kitchen is one of the most unique areas of your home in that it is normally the only area where cooking is taking place, it is an area that is typically visited by all members of the home multiple times a day, and it is an area that sees frequent spills and accidents.
Below, we’ll get into the five characteristics that make your kitchen unique and share why bamboo floors are the solution.
1. Kitchens are prone to spills
It is not a secret that your kitchen almost certainly sees at least a handful of spills every week. Especially in cases where you have young children in your home, you can expect that you will be performing multiple clean ups a day.
In these cases, bamboo floors turn out to be a great option, as cleaning up these spills within a decent time frame will ensure that there will be no permanent damage. While most wood floors (keep in mind, bamboo is grass) tend to absorb substances and stain easily, bamboo floors are able to withstand spills due to additional coats of aluminum oxide that are used during the manufacturing process.
NOTE: you'll want to make sure that these spills and accidents are cleaned up as quickly as possible. You should try to clean up all spills within the first few hours, and typically no later than 12 - 18 hours after the initial spill.
2. Kitchens are prone to small droplet build-up and water exposure
Outside of your daily spills, there are tons of opportunities for your kitchen floors to come in contact with water and moisture. Whether it comes from a leaky dishwasher, directly from your sink, or from your water dispenser, water and most hardwood floors typically don’t go together. In addition, depending on the type of cooking you’re doing in your kitchen, you may also begin to see the build up of small water droplets.
Given all of this information, you’ll want to know that the flooring option you go with will be able to withstand this kind of water exposure; in this case, bamboo floors can be a viable solution. In addition to the coats of protection that are applied by the manufacturer, you can also choose to apply an additional sealant to your bamboo planks even before installation.
Taking the additional steps of applying a sealant and making sure that water is not left sitting idle on your floors for long periods of time, you will find that bamboo floors will remain in tact and you will avoid problems such as swelling, discoloration, cracking, and shifting.
3. It is an area of the home with heavy foot traffic
In most homes around the world, kitchens are where families and friends come together to enjoy quality time. Whether cooking and baking together, or simply using the kitchen as a spot to pause and talk, it is a much more frequented area than almost any other area of your home.
Aside from just being a spot for the family to interact, it is also an area that sees foot traffic from everyday treks to the refrigerator and pantry for drinks and snacks.
Because of these reasons, you’ll need a flooring option that is durable enough to withstand potentially hundreds, if not thousands of footsteps a week. When thinking of hardwood flooring options or options that are similar to hardwood, you will find it difficult to find a more durable option than bamboo.
Bamboo floors rank relatively high on scales that compare different types of woods. Especially when referring to strand woven bamboo, which goes through a process of breaking down the bamboo to a pulp, combining it with adhesive, and applying high pressure and heat, this flooring surface is one that is sure to withstand lots of activity.
It is also a flooring surface that can be refinished if scratches begin to build up over time. Strand woven bamboo and solid bamboo often allow you to refinish multiple times depending on the thickness of the top layer and the overall quality that you choose to go with.
4. It is an area that can see dramatic temperature changes
In many households where cooking is an activity that occurs often, the temperature in the area can fluctuate as you use appliances such as the stove top and the oven. These appliances are often operated at temperatures that range from the low hundreds to over 500 degrees Fahrenheit.
This type of temperature fluctuation requires a floor that is able to acclimate to its surrounding area. In short stints, these types of heat levels will have very little impact on your floors, but you’ll still want to allow your floors the opportunity to get acclimated to the area where it will be installed.
Acclimation is the process by which your bamboo floors are able to adjust to new environments and conditions, and it helps to ensure that they are able to acclimate to the humidity and temperature levels. Understanding how bamboo floors acclimate will help you understand the time it would take for your floors to get used to its surroundings.
5. Kitchens are sometimes near entrances (especially backyards)
Depending on the layout of your home, your kitchen may be near a door that allows for entries directly from outside. The reason why this may be a concern is because this may cause your kitchen floors to come in contact with more humidity, water, and dirt/debris than normal.
For this concern, know that bamboo floors are extremely easy to clean up and, as we stated above, if cleaned quickly enough, offers an option that has a strong defense against outside elements. You must ensure that you are extra vigilant of this entrance and the area around to stop the spreading of any unnecessary substances.
Additional Benefits and Features of Bamboo Flooring
Outside of the solutions that bamboo floors offer for your immediate concerns, depending on your preferences, there may also be additional benefits that come with selecting bamboo as your flooring option.
1. Bamboo floors can be a safe and eco-friendly option
While this is not the case with all bamboo floors, there are specific flooring brands that offer floors that are safe for humans and animals and can also be eco-friendly. Eco-friendly in the sense that bamboo is a renewable resource that takes much less time to grow after harvesting; this is especially true when comparing bamboo to many hardwood options.
When thinking of safety and health, many consumers have shown concern regarding the use of formaldehyde and other volatile organic compounds (VOCs) during the manufacturing process of bamboo floors. Formaldehye can also be found in the adhesive used during production or even during installation.
If this is an important factor for you during the decision-making process, you’ll be glad to know that there are now brands that offer bamboo floors that are either free of formaldehyde or ultra low-emitting. This should help to ease your mind if you’re concerned about dangerous chemicals and the health and safety of your family.
2. They can help to lighten the room or complement natural lighting
Your kitchen is a space in your home that should be inviting and should feature materials and accents that help to make it a welcoming area. You will come to find that bamboo floors have a unique quality about them in that the grains offer a natural look that often times cannot be matched by other types of flooring materials, including hardwoods.
In spaces where you are already able to get to a natural, and light look, bamboo floors offer an additional accent to complement your space. In cases where you have lower levels of light or the space is in need of a lighter touch, bamboo floors can help to transform the feel of your kitchen.
3. You can find bamboo floors in almost any shade or color
You shouldn’t let the flooring option you decide to move forward with for you kitchen limit you from choosing from a broad range of colors and hues that work for your space and the look you’re going for. The good news is that, with bamboo floors, you don’t have to sacrifice on looks.
Most bamboo brands today offer a selection with the breadth and depth that you’re accustomed to seeing in other flooring options. From various colors, to many hues and shades, bamboo flooring offers nearly the full spectrum of choices that allows you to match the look you’ve created in your space, or go a completely new direction.
Choosing right type of bamboo floors
There are three primary types of bamboo floors: strand woven bamboo, engineered bamboo, and solid bamboo (both vertical and horizontal). Depending on your space and the unique characteristics that exists in your kitchen, you may want to think about which of these bamboo flooring types makes the most sense for you.
Due to its unique qualities and the process it goes through during manufacturing, our favorite type of bamboo flooring for kitchens is strand woven bamboo. As we’ve mentioned earlier in this article, because of the breakdown and restructuring process strand woven bamboo undergoes, it is the ideal type of bamboo flooring for your kitchen and offers the durability, selection, and ability to refinish that you’re likely looking for.
Strand Woven Bamboo Flooring has the highest Janka rating of all three main types. When flooring professionals refer to the durability and strength of bamboo floors, they’re likely referring to this type.
Solid (Horizontal or Vertical)
Solid bamboo goes through a process that involves cutting bamboo stalks into long, thin pieces and then is glued back together in either a vertical or horizontal direction. While this flooring option can offer the benefit of refinishing should scratches appear, they normally don’t offer the same durability qualities as strand woven floors.
Solid bamboo is also likely the least resistant of the three flooring types when is come to water and other substances, and humidity/moisture.
Engineered bamboo contains the least amount of bamboo of all three options. It is actually a mix of durable wood materials that has a thin layer of bamboo glued on top of it. This option is extremely durable and tends to be less prone to water and moisture damage, but in almost all cases, this type of bamboo flooring cannot be refinished.
If you know that there will be higher-than-average traffic in your kitchen on a frequent basis that could lead to scratches, this may not be the best option for you.
Tips to extend life of your bamboo floors
Use rugs whenever possible
While this may seem pretty self explanatory, we want to emphasize that, wherever possible, you should consider laying down rugs in any area of your kitchen which is prone to coming in frequent contact with water and other substances. Consider areas like entrances, under your dishwasher, under your sink, under the oven, and perhaps under or near the refrigerator.
This step will help with keeping the amount of substances coming in contact with your floors to a minimum. Think of rugs as an additional layer of protection.
Check your plumbing situation before making a decision
It is in your best interest to make sure that your kitchen plumbing is in good condition before beginning the installation process. Unlike other types of flooring options (like tile), if after installing your bamboo floors you have a major leak, this could cause permanent damage, and you will be throwing your investment down the drain (no pun intended).
Consider reaching out to a plumber and having them take a precautionary look at your kitchen plumbing to stay safe.
If you had any doubts about whether or not bamboo floors can be a good option for your kitchen, we hope that this articles helps to clear things up. Because of the many great qualities that bamboo floors have to offer, this can be a great investment that will last you for years.
As always, if you are not extremely confident in your flooring knowledge and whether or not you are taking everything into account, you should reach out to a flooring professional. This is a huge investment for your kitchen and you’ll want to make sure all of the boxes are checked off.