While bamboo remains one of the strongest and most resilient flooring surfaces available today, from time to time conditions may arise that will require you to make repairs to sections of your floor. These conditions may range from simple scratches and nicks, to cracked boards or broken pieces. In addition, large stains from water damage, pet stains, or furniture damage may occur which could require a variety of repairs, including replacing, refinishing, and resealing. These are all repairs that can be completed easily by the average home owner, utilizing products and tools found at any home center.
Assess the Damage
The first step in gauging any repair is determining the extent of the damage incurred, and then assessing the proper repairs. The following can help you assess that damage, and take the further steps needed to fix it.
The most common damage a bamboo floor suffers is the classic surface scratch. These are shallow linear marks most commonly found in the top layer of the finish. When repairing the scratches, there are several methods to take into consideration. First is the "miracle scratch remover" found at most supermarkets and home centers. These as a whole are generally useless. It is impossible to remove or "lift away" a scratch, as most of the concoctions claim to be able to do, and in some cases, these can actually stain your floor. The viable alternative is to use a surface filler, which can be color matched and then buffed to blend with the surface finish. Should the scratch prove to be deeper than that, wet sand the area to the root of the scratch and then follow the necessary steps to reapply a new coat of polyurethane.
Removing stains from water or pet damage is another common repair to bamboo or other types of wood flooring. First, examine the area affected by the damage before you properly dry the mess and clean it. Next, using a disc floor sander, sand the damaged area down to clean material, and begin the resealing process. Using a mop and bucket, evenly apply the new coats of polyurethane, tapering off toward the undamaged area to ensure a proper finish match. Lightly sand the substance between coats so that the new finish area matches as closely as possible to the older finish. Sometimes it may be necessary to bleach to lighten the damaged area, or tint to darken the area depending on the finish of the wood and the extent of the damage. When this is necessary, consult with your home improvement store professional to learn which materials and chemicals to use with your specific product.
When facing the daunting task of replacing cracked boards amidst a sea of finished bamboo flooring, it's important to remember the fundamentals of laying a floor. Tongue and groove are the most common joints found today among flooring binding agents. Although tongue and grove installation is easy, removing and replacing a cracked board with this joint can in fact be a tricky process. One method is to remove the tongue section of a replacement piece and permanently affix the replacement section with a chemical adhesive, epoxy, or glue. While this is a reasonably adequate method of repair, you could also remove more than the damaged section and replace it as a whole segment rather than just one piece. This repair will make you understand why buying 20 percent overage when getting new flooring is a good idea.
Hopefully with these tips you will be able to make the repairs necessary to keep your floors looking as good as the day you installed them. While no floor is impervious to damage, some are more resilient than others, and bamboo is one of the hardest natural flooring surfaces available today. With proper care and attention, your bamboo floor can last a lifetime, and possibly more, extending its aesthetic beauty for generations to come.
Sean O'Halloran worked for several years as a Tile and General Contractor throughout the tri-state area. After retiring from the industry, he now focuses on his professional writing career.