I love the look of bamboo floors, but when choosing the best flooring options for a contemporary beach house, I had to ask myself if bamboo was suitable for my needs. The last thing I wanted to do was go to all the expense of having bamboo floors installed, only to discover I’d made a terrible mistake. Bamboo appealed to me because I loved the light, natural tones, and the sustainability factor. But was bamboo going to stand up to the wear and tear of a family on a beach vacation — that was the real issue.
Bamboo is less expensive than most hardwood flooring options but often more durable. The best option for a beach house is to use strand-woven bamboo with a solid wood core. Strand woven bamboo is denser, stronger, and more moisture-resistant than plain bamboo, making it easier to clean and maintain.
My design aesthetic was gleaming wooden floors and a light, airy space that I could relax in. I needed my chosen flooring to deal with the scrapes and scratches of pets and kids, tracked-in sand, wet feet and towels, and the usual spills and mess that come with a large family.
I also needed something that would fit my budget, and I’d heard that bamboo was a less expensive option than traditional hardwood floors. I needed to find out if bamboo was going to last and if I’d easily be able to keep it looking good.
How Long Will Bamboo Flooring Last
Because bamboo flooring is often harder than most regular hardwood floors, you can expect it to last a very long time, especially if you buy quality bamboo. The lifespan of the average bamboo floor, which goes through regular use by a family, will probably be in the region of 20-25 years. A high-quality bamboo floor that is kept clean and well-maintained could last up to 50 years.
Bamboo will not be a suitable flooring choice for every room of your house, but it can be used in a fresh, contemporary beach house style. Bamboo has the added benefit of coming from a sustainable source, which makes it even more appealing if your family is eco-conscious. It’s also more termite-resistant than traditional hardwoods, which will help it to last longer.
Bamboo laminate is DIY-friendly and pretty easy to install. Due to the construction method, strand-woven bamboo will last even longer than solid bamboo flooring.
Don’t sacrifice quality in the name of economy as badly-made bamboo flooring has a tendency to shrink and warp after being placed, which can leave unsightly gaps.
Is Bamboo Flooring Water Resistant
Bamboo was my budget option to get the contemporary look I wanted, but how water resistant is it? It turns out that because bamboo is a very fast-growing grass, bamboo flooring is more water-resistant than most hardwoods. You can’t leave spills to soak in, but if they are wiped up quickly, then it’s unlikely there will be any water damage.
If you leave water to sit and it soaks into the bamboo, the floor will warp or swell. Water damage can leave discolored marks on your flooring, so always wipe up spills or wet footprints as soon as possible.
Keep bamboo flooring to communal living areas like living rooms and lounges rather than bathrooms or kitchens where it is more likely to get very wet. Avoid using bamboo floors in entrance halls where people might be coming in with wet sandy feet from outside.
It’s also best to train your family not to track water in from the beach. Get them to thoroughly dry off before coming in, and avoid wearing shoes indoors.
What Happens If Bamboo Flooring Gets Wet
If spills soak into the bamboo, water damage can change the color of your flooring. You may notice the affected area is stained darker or lighter. Leaving water to soak can affect the shape of your flooring, causing warping and swelling of the planks. The changing shape of planks might cause cracks between the planks.
Besides being unsightly, this could be a safety hazard if people trip over the warped planks. Gaps between the boards also make cleaning more difficult as dust and particles fall into these spaces.
If you have accidentally left water to soak in, you might be able to easily fix the area, depending on the size of the damage. You can order replacement planks that match your current flooring and exchange the damaged planks.
A large area of damage will require your entire floor to be replaced, so avoid installing bamboo flooring in a beach house in an area prone to flooding and high swells and storms.
Does Bamboo Flooring Increase Home Value
One of the things you will want to consider before remodeling your beach house with new flooring is how the changes will affect the value of your property. Luckily, because it’s such an environmentally-friendly choice, bamboo flooring will make your house ‘greener’, which is a potential plus for resale value.
Bamboo can be manufactured and stained to mimic traditional wood floors, giving you a good range of options. The relative affordability of bamboo over hardwood floors means you can recoup your costs when selling. However, be aware that buyers tend to prefer solid wood floors over laminate.
If you are looking to sell your property soon, solid bamboo flooring will be a better bet than laminate. Traditional hardwood floors will usually add more resale value to a property than bamboo. If buyers are looking for a more contemporary beach house, then they may prefer bamboo.
Does Bamboo Flooring Scratch Easily
Because bamboo is much harder than hardwood floors, if you choose high-quality bamboo flooring, you will find they scratch less easily. Engineered bamboo, also known as laminated bamboo, is an excellent and extremely durable option. Strand woven bamboo has been heat bonded with resin and laminates for extra durability.
While you can get solid bamboo in tongue and groove planks, if you’re looking for a relatively inexpensive, scratch-resistant, easy to clean flooring for your beach house, then choose strand woven bamboo. Choose lighter colors as the process used to darken bamboo may make it less durable.
To fix scratches in bamboo flooring, you can use readily available sealers and wood fillers. Check the manufacturer guides to see if your flooring supplier recommends any specific repair kits.
How To Repair Scratches In Bamboo Flooring:
- Wipe down the scratched area, so it is completely clean
- Dry the scratched area with a paper towel, or leave to air dry
- Using masking tape, tape off the area
- Using the recommended wood putty for your flooring color and make, fill the scratches and wipe away the excess.
- Leave the wood filler or putty to dry completely
- Sand down the dry putty with a fine-grit paper, and reapply filler if necessary
- Remove the masking tape
- Using a foam brush, apply a suitable polyurethane sealer in a thin coat over the repaired area.
- Allow to dry completely
What Do You Clean Bamboo Floors With
Keep your bamboo floors looking great by sweeping them daily with a soft broom. You don’t want to leave dirt and sand to be walked in and cause scratches on your floor’s finish. If you prefer to vacuum, make certain that you equip your vacuum cleaner with the soft bristle cleaning head to avoid scratching.
Use a floor cleaning spray designed for wooden floors and a soft cloth to clean marks or prints. Avoid any cleaners with ammonia, acids, or abrasives as they can damage and scratch the bamboo finish. While you can mop with water and a damp mop, you should wring the mop out thoroughly to avoid getting the floor too wet.
Don’t use steam mops or steam cleaners on a bamboo floor, as this could potentially warp the bamboo.
If you love the fresh, trendy look of wooden floors in a beach house, then bamboo flooring is a viable alternative that will likely cost you less. Bamboo flooring comes in various widths, styles, and shades, ranging from the contemporary look of natural bamboo to mimicking hardwood floors. It has the added benefit of being ‘green’ and long-lasting.
It’s termite-resistant and durable but will not be a good flooring choice in very damp, as the bamboo will warp.