There is a great debate in the world of flooring about whether bamboo is appropriate for bathroom floors. No one denies that, because it is a grass, it will hold up at least slightly better than hardwood. However many people believe that it is still too volatile for usage in this space.
Bathroom Bamboo Water Concerns
The fact that it is a grass means that Bamboo has the following properties that make it good for bathroom usage.
- Water Resistant
- Mold Resistant
- Mildew Resistant
- Germ Resistant
Unfortunately resistance is not immunity, and bamboo can suffer from the following issues when installed in a moist bathroom environment.
Swelling: If water is allowed to soak into the bamboo the planks can become plumped, and may warp and disfigure. Sometimes this can even happen just due to humidity and moisture in the air. Unfortunately this is a permanent issue which can ruin your flooring, and which cannot be repaired by refinishing its surface.
Flooding: If a pipe breaks or a leak occurs and there is a flood, you can expect your bamboo floor to be ruined. Not only will it plump and disfigure, but the surface will also discolor, and you may end up getting mold growth despite its antimicrobial properties.
Stains: Another major issue with installing bamboo in a bathroom is that it will be brought in contact with a variety of agents which can stain its surface. Abrasive cleansers and soaps can wear away at its surface finish, and even water splatters which are allowed to sit on the floor can cause permanent marks in the material.
Bamboo Bathroom Floor Finish
The saving grace of bamboo flooring in a bathroom is that it can be sealed with a polyurethane based surface finish which will act as an invisible barrier against water and stain agent penetration. This will have to be applied both to the surface of the material, and to the seams. In addition the seams will need to be glued together to ensure that they are impregnable, and the expansion gap around the outside of the installation will need to be similarly sealed.
Usage Considerations: If you have a private bathroom that is being used by one or two adults then you may be able to get away with using bamboo flooring. You will just have to be careful to place mats at all points of water usage, and to clean up spills and splatters when they occur. You may also want to consider adding an additional coat of sealer to the floor periodically.
However this material should be avoided in any bathroom that is going to be used by kids, as they will have a tendency to splash, and splatter. It’s a fairly volatile material so you have to control how the room in which it is installed gets used on a daily basis.
Bathroom Flooring Articles
Warranty: Before installing bamboo flooring in a bathroom read the warranty that is provided with the material very carefully. In some cases the installation of materials in a wet environment such as the bathroom can void the warranty, leaving you with no protection if something goes wrong. Some people claim this is a clear reason why bamboo should not be used in this space, while others believe that flooring retailers are just trying to avoid paying for flooding damage.
Engineered Bamboo Bathroom Flooring: This type of flooring is made when a thin sheet of bamboo is adhered to a fiberboard backing. The material is then sealed with a water proof wear layer on the top, and a water barrier on the bottom, making it impervious to moisture penetration. At the same time it still looks like real, actual bamboo.
Because it is impervious to water this material is appropriate in most bathrooms. However it is important to be aware that the wear layer will erode over time, and as it does the material will become susceptible to damage. The upside to this is that most engineered bamboo is manufactured in click together tiles which can easily be removed or replaced.
Design: Many people compromise on bamboo in the bathroom by installing it in a half bath. In this arrangement the bamboo flooring only covers half of the room, while the area containing the bath, shower, and or sink is tiled in. This gives you the look of bamboo, without any of the hassle.
More Bamboo Information