I’m absolutely a huge fan of bamboo flooring. Not only does it look amazing with its rich color and diverse texture, but it also adds a great degree of warmth to any home. It’s considered quite resistant and strong, but it’s not waterproof. This is what happens to bamboo flooring when it gets wet.
When bamboo flooring gets wet, nothing will happen to it immediately if you clean up the liquid within a few minutes. But, as liquid sits on bamboo flooring for many hours or days, expansion occurs due to the absorption of liquid, which results in buckling, cracking, and warping of the bamboo planks. If shifting of the planks occurs, you may also experience a lot of creaks and squeaks as you walk on the floor.
Another major issue with wet bamboo flooring is mold or mildew.
Floors are usually categorized as porous or non-porous. Most natural-based flooring is porous in nature, which means that it has the ability to absorb things.
Mold or mildew thrives and multiplies in wet and dark places.
Given that bamboo can absorb and expand from excessive exposure to moisture, it’s not uncommon for mold and mildew to spread. This will cause the wood to discolor and rot.
As it sustains damage, the structure of the floor will change until it needs to be replaced entirely.
That’s one of the biggest issues with bamboo flooring when it gets wet for an extended period of time.
This is why it’s not a good idea to use bamboo flooring in rooms or homes with high humidity unless you take measures to regulate the humidity levels consistently.
But, even then, I would caution most people to avoid installing bamboo flooring in rooms that have high moisture levels, like the bathroom or even the kitchen.
Too frequent exposure to water is going to be a problem for bamboo flooring. Even if you clean up spills as quickly as you can, the constant and frequent exposure to water on bamboo will eventually result in damage.
If it doesn’t cause buckling or warping, you’ll begin to notice some discoloration in the areas that are exposed to liquid.
For people who don’t have the time to clean frequently or who live in a home with a lot of children, it may not be the best option.
Thankfully, there are ways to improve the resilience of bamboo flooring. Let’s talk about that now.
How To Protect Bamboo Flooring From Water Damage
In some cases, adding a protective sealant to the floor can improve water resistance and prevent discoloration.
You would have to re-seal the floors every two years or so, depending on how you maintain the floors over time.
When discoloration or staining occurs, you can refinish bamboo flooring, but it will require you to rub down the floor, restain it, and reseal it.
This is time-consuming and also quite costly, especially if you have to utilize the services of a professional flooring business, but it’s a lot cheaper than replacing the entire floor.
I would argue that this is one of the best options, even in the event that some warping or shifting occurs.
It’s only when severe buckling takes place or deep cracks and rotting occur that you should opt to replace most of the floor.
If you have bamboo flooring in the kitchen, I would advise you to install rugs near the sink and dining area.
This will act as a protective surface that absorbs spills and splashes of water from the sink while you’re washing dishes.
Before I forget, if you notice an odor from certain spots of the floor and you suspect that mold is forming, it is important to address that immediately.
There are many solutions on the market that are designed to kill and inhibit the regrowth of mold on wood.
It’s best to address these issues as quickly as possible to avoid replacing the floor.
I encourage homeowners to optimize light and air flow in their homes. Draw open curtains during the day to allow a good amount of natural sunlight into your home.
This will help prevent the spread of mold while also drying up the floor.
Open your windows and doors to improve air circulation and encourage cross ventilation. Fresh air and constant movement of air are going to remove bad odors and dry floors.
Lastly, invest in a good dehumidifier to regulate moisture levels in the air.
This will help to minimize odors and prevent excessive moisture from damaging bamboo flooring.
That brings us to the end of this article on what happens to bamboo flooring when it gets wet.
It’s true that some degree of discoloration, staining, expanding, and shrinking could occur. This could result in some planks buckling, warping, or cracking.
But if you can clean up liquids within a few minutes, you should significantly minimize the possibility of these things occurring.
In most cases, damage to bamboo flooring occurs when it remains wet for many hours at a time and frequently.
As long as you take the necessary steps to maintain and clean your floors, they should remain in pristine condition for many years.
With that being said, I hope you found this article to be insightful and helpful. If you would like to learn more about bamboo flooring, I highly recommend that you check out some of our other articles linked below before you leave.