Bamboo flooring care not only includes proper cleaning and maintenance, it includes the prevention of problems such as controlling moisture, the number one cause of complaints with bamboo, wood and laminate flooring. In this article we discuss bamboo flooring care and prevention of problems through proper maintenance.
Bamboo Flooring Care and Maintenance Tips
With bamboo flooring, excess moisture results in the largest percentage of complaints. Improper maintenance is but one of the moisture related problems. Most commonly moisture problems are caused by conditions such as water under the structure, leaking pipe, excessively wet concrete or too much moisture in a buildings other structural components such as lumber and plaster at the time the floor is installed.
Another moisture problem is too little moisture. When the relative humidity fluctuates between too high and to low a bamboo floor will swell or shrink. When the relative humidity remains too low it will almost always shrink.
The major component in most cleaning chemicals is water. With most installed floor products, water mixed with some type of cleaning chemical is used to maintain them. Some bamboo and wood care and finishing products also have water as a main component. What many end-users do not understand is that water improperly controlled can have a detrimental effect on bamboo and wood floors. When manufacturing literature can be misleading for while it may state that water can damage the floor, it goes on to list damp mopping as a suitable way to maintain the floor. The end user needs to understand that damp means almost dry, usually a mist of cleaner (preferably applied directly to the applicator) followed with a dry towel and not a wrong-out sponge or string mop. Below we have listed a number of other Bamboo Flooring Care Do’s and Don’ts.
BAMBOO FLOORING CARE DO’S
- Install humidity controls. The use of a dehumidifier or humidifier is critical in areas with frequent variations in temperature and humidity.
- Sweep with soft bristle broom or dust mop the floor daily. Walking on dusty or dirty floors will damage the finish.
- Vacuum the floor regularly using a floor tool and not a beater brush.
- Clean spots from the floor by rubbing with a lightly dampened cloth. Spray the cleaning product onto the cloth and not the floor. Use a cleaning product acceptable to the manufacturer. Your dealer, installer or a wood flooring company can assist you with this.
- Purchase a “floor care kit” recommended by the installer or retailer.
- Dry up spills immediately.
- Use felt or similar soft protectors on the legs or feet of furniture.
- Use throw rugs at locations where soil may be tracked onto the floor or at areas subject to regular pivotal traffic such as in front of a kitchen sink, or sofa or chair.
- Area rugs should be moved occasionally so that natural fading of the floor will be evened out.
- Use mats at outside doors to assist keeping dirt and dust outdoors.
- Keep the outdoor walks and porches clean so dirt is not tracked on to the floor.
- Use barrel-type caster wheels or wide glides on furniture.
- Restore lost luster with a topcoat dressing.
- Recoat worn surfaces before the bamboo or wood is exposed to avoid re-sanding.
- Have the floor professionally screened and recoated before wear on the finish is too severe. This may be several years down the road depending on care and use.
BAMBOO FLOORING CARE DON’T’S
- Do not use dust treatment sprays or chemicals. These products may cause the floor to become slick or dull the surface.
- Do not use a vacuum beater brush, as it will damage the finish. Use the vacuum floor tool.
- Do not wet mop the floor. When using a damp mop, spray the cleaning product onto the mop and not by dipping the mop. Remember that water is the number one cause of damage to a floor.
- Do not allow spills to dry on their own, wipe them up immediately.
- Do not regularly clean with water or water-based products. Clean only the soiled areas as needed.
- Do not use ammonia or ammonia products. Alkaline cleaners may cause strong yellowing and color changes.
- Do not use oil soap or oil soap products.
- Do not wax a urethane floor.
- Do not use rubber, foam-back or plastic mats as they may discolor floor.
- Do not walk on wood or bamboo floors with spike or stiletto heeled shoes. Such footwear can produce a dynamic load in excess of 1000 PSI, even when worn by a person of small or average build. You are better off driving your car or walking an elephant on the floor. The car has a load of 28 to 30 PSI and an elephant 50 to 100 PSI.
- Do not walk on a floor in shoes with bad heels. A shoe in bad repair that has an exposed nail head can exert a force of 8,000 PSI, which is high enough to pulverize hardened concrete.