Bamboo and traditional hardwood flooring have there own unique appeals.
Hardwood flooring is one of the most preferred flooring material for new home construction and renovations. Held in high regard for its exceptional unique aesthetics and warmth, hardwood timber is highly versatile and sustainable.
In recent times though, there has been a shift in trends as the popularity of Bamboo continues to rise.
Bamboo typically used for screens and partitions and perhaps even more common in the manufacture of furniture, it has become a useful product for timber flooring.
In general, whilst it’s commonly thought to be a timber product, Bamboo is in fact a tree like grass. Don’t be fooled with it being a type of grass though, as it’s often harder than the more common hardwood timber species such as oak.
When comparing hardwood & Bamboo flooring, the main point to understand is the fact Bamboo on its own is a weak material.
Bamboo flooring materials need to go through a manufacturing process to create a product that can withstand to high volumes of human traffic, furniture and other points of impact, wear and tear.
Is Bamboo Hardwood Flooring Durable?
Bamboo comes in two types: strand and horizontal. For residential and commercial properties experiencing high foot traffic, it is preferred that strand woven Bamboo be used for its high durability.
Andrew Miller suggests Bamboo flooring is widely sold all over the world because it is a eco friendly floor product compared to any other hardwood. Another great advantage is its high durability and stability. Many people have their doubts over how bamboo floors are strong and durable.
After all Bamboo is a grass, it is very soft and thin…
Bamboo floor strength and durability does not come from its original bamboo stalk. To achieve the Bamboo flooring product we all know, Bamboo is cut into strips and laminated into floor planks.
These laminated bamboo planks have a very high density than most of its hardwood species counterparts. Since there is no real test or data points for durability, we can use hardness and density testing and data to arrive at a conclusion of durability.
One such hardness test is the Janka rating.
Strand woven Bamboo has a very high Janka score which is higher than most hardwood species, like oak and ash. Solid bamboo is 6.5 which is still higher than all regular hardwoods.
What Is The Hardest Type Of Bamboo Flooring?
Strand woven bamboo flooring is by far the hardest and most durable type of bamboo flooring.
SS House Tips suggested that Natural Bamboo is harder than Red Oak, where as carbonised Bamboo is closer to Black Walnut which is a soft hardwood. Strand woven Bamboo is the hardest type of Bamboo ranking 250% harder than Red Oak on the Janka Hardness Scale.
Strand woven Bamboo is similar in hardness to Brazilian Cherry.
With it’s extremely strong and durable characteristics, Strand woven bamboo flooring is ideal for both domestic and commercial properties.
Is bamboo flooring scratch resistant?
In all reality, any hardwood or Bamboo flooring is susceptible to scratches and minor scuff marks from everyday wear and tear. Hardwood species with a lower Janka hardness rating than Bamboo can actually perform better.
One feature of Bamboo is that it does not possess even hardness qualities across its surface and is more likely to scratch and dent just as much or perhaps slightly more than any other hardwood floor type.
Purchasing quality products from reputable suppliers and floor installation companies such as Freedom Flooring is the only sure way you are going to end up with a strong and durable floor that meets the demands of everyday foot traffic, pets and furniture.
Mark D. Elwell, owner and operator of Bamboo Flooring Hawaii “There are some stores selling very cheap, immature bamboo flooring that is coated with only a few coats of finish that are unfortunately giving bamboo flooring a bad name,” he says.
“We tell people you get what you pay for, and make sure you are comparing apples to apples when you are buying your flooring. Be educated, and ask about the bamboo maturity, finishes, and warranties.”
What Is Strand Bamboo Flooring?
As already mentioned, Bamboo is a type of grass, not actual wood. Because of this, bamboo is highly fibrous meaning it needs to go through a manufacturing process for it to be considered a flooring product.
Ordinary manufacturing methods laminate these fibres one on top of the other in a horizontal direction.
Strand woven bamboo flooring is far more durable than vertical or horizontal bamboo flooring because the cross-hatched strands act in concert to hold the material together.
Strand Bamboo flooring is typically made by slicing mature bamboo poles or culms into strips. These culms are crosscut to length and then sliced into strips depending on the width desired before being woven together. To remove starch and sugars the strips of bamboo are boiled in a solution of boric acid or lime.
The resulting block of strand woven bamboo is then milled into strand woven bamboo flooring planks with tongues and grooves.
When bamboo is made into strand woven bamboo flooring the anti-microbial properties of bamboo remain thus making bamboo flooring safer and healthier than hardwood flooring because not only is it allergen free but it also fights off pathogens.
What Is The Thickness Of Bamboo Flooring?
Strand woven bamboo flooring has various thickness because of its unique manufacturing process.
Strand woven bamboo is sliced from bamboo block which is pressed with bamboo strips. 14mm is the standard thickness, but we also can slice bamboo block into 12mm, 10mm flooring to fit the customers needs.
Strand woven bamboo is very flexible on the thickness.
Hardwood vs Bamboo Conclusion
Bamboo comes in two types: strand and vertical. Most people in the industry say the strand stuff is much stronger than traditional bamboo flooring. “On a hardness scale a good quality bamboo in the horizontal cut is around 1,450 p.s.i. on a Janka Hardness Scale.
The stranded bamboo is compressed and bonded with resins so is over 3,000 p.s.i. Strand woven bamboo is sold frequently for high traffic situations such as retail stores, restaurants, galleries, etc.
But bamboo also has drawn attention for its looks, though for a time only natural and caramelised tones were available. Today, manufacturers provide a large range of Bamboo flooring choices with a multitude of stained options and textures including hand-scraped products that look like hardwood.
Hardwood, of course, has nothing to prove. Hardwood has built a reputation for being a high quality and aesthetic pleasing floor product.
Both Hardwood and Bamboo have assumed a high profile in residential home building and commercial properties. Whilst Bamboo is still relatively new to Australian builders and householders, hardwood is very familiar to everyone. It’s just as unique and durable as bamboo, and just as versatile and green.
Simple ways to protect your hardwood floors from scratches
Hardwood timber flooring has long been a classic home feature because of the sense of warmth and character it brings. Each type of hardwood brings its own elegance and uniqueness.
Hardwood is a timeless choice and when cared for properly can last a lifetime.
Although its inevitable hardwood floors will take extra effort in cleaning and protecting, they’re certainly worth the trouble. With any home though hardwood timber flooring is prone to accumulated wear and tear. Complete floor restorations can be expensive and you want to conserve your investment for as long as possible.
The potential for damage is high without the proper steps and precautions.
Initial steps when designing your home to prevent the inclusion of dust, dirt and other particles can help to reduce floor damage.
For instance a tiled mudroom or entrance area with built in benches for storing shoes will minimise the amount of unwanted particles spreading throughout your floor spaces.
Other factors are pets…
Dog claws will mark and scratch the floorboards easily. If your beloved family pet is indoors, make sure to regularly trim back its paws, and provide rugs or beds for them to lie on.
If you are one to care and protect your hardwood floors but not quite sure what to do, then these simple tasks broken down into 3 main categories can help you protect them for many years to come.
Protecting Your Timber Floors From Moisture
Common home cleaning practices involve running the mop over to pick up small amounts of grime.
For vinyl, tiles and other types of hard flooring this is a quick and easy method.
Unfortunately for hardwood flooring whilst it would be quick and easy also, the process will actually damage your hardwood floors.
Obviously during mopping, your using water which can seep into the hardwood fibres.
This in turn will eventually warp, twist and swell over time potentially damaging the floorboards permanently.
Other considerations for moisture control include design choices and placement of hardwood flooring.
High moisture areas including bathrooms, laundry’s and ensuite’s are not suitable for hardwood floors however it’s very popular to see kitchens and entry ways with this flooring.
Excess water from your sink, dishwasher and other appliances can seep into the floorboards.
Water can also track into the grains of the timber at entry ways from people entering with wet shoes.
Where hardwood flooring is used in kitchen or entryways, try to place down rubber mats or other moisture absorbing types.
Considering placing shoe racks at the entryways to reduce the spread of moisture when walking through your home.
Cleaning Hardwood Floors Without Damaging Them
As previously mentioned, never use wet mop to clean or scrub down the surface.
Where heavy grime exists, use dry cleaning methods followed by light mopping quickly followed by a drying off process with towels or other moisture absorbing materials.
Other methods of cleaning include:
- Rolling up rugs and area coverings before taking to outdoor areas to shake off and vacuum.
- Sweep high traffic areas regularly with a soft bristled broom followed by a electrostatic mop to pick up light dust particles.
Small dust particles, dirt and other types of debris can scratch, dent and mark wood floors when they’re stepped on.
- Vacuum the floor on a regular basis with a hardwood flooring specific vacuum cleaner.
There are typically two types of vacuum cleaner heads…types for carpet and types for hardwood floors.
Make sure to use the hardwood flooring attachment as its designed to be more gentler on wood floor boards.
- Try to avoid using cleaning agents or products.
Whilst there are many products claiming to be safe for hardwood floors, many of them can actually cause harm to the surface if used repeatedly.
The reason being they tend to eat at or strip away the top coating and turn the finish shine dull.
Seek professional help from our team at Freedom Flooring is your unsure what types of cleaning products are suitable for your hardwood floors.
Protect From Furniture
The source of your hardwood floor damage will mostly be contributed by furniture and daily use.
For instance furniture tends to be heavy and can move around on the floor boards. This leads to deep scratches and dents.
When moving furniture around, be sure to lift them completely up trying not to slide them. A tip here is to use towels or any other soft material under the furniture feet.
For large spaces such as dining and living room, consider using rugs or floor runners. They add character and style, segment the space from other rooms, whilst protecting your floors in high use areas.
When choosing rugs and floor coverings, consider natural rubber or felt underlined.
It’s highly recommended to place felt pads on the bottom of chairs, sofas, and tables to help eliminate scratches and scuff marks that can occur when furniture is being used.
Felt or natural rubber pads can be purchased in stick-on versions or tap-in style, and they’re an easy and inexpensive method to help protect your floors. For office spaces, also consider using rubber mats for computer chairs to sit on. Castor wheels can damage hardwood floors from the constant movements the wheels make.
So What Types Of Furniture Protection Is Available
A popular form of chair leg protection is the furniture pad. Put simply, these are pads made of different types of material that are put on the bottoms of your chair legs.
There are different types of furniture pads, each offering different levels of cost and protection.
These types of pads offer high levels of floor protections, as they’re very secure since they are attached to the furniture leg with either a small nail or staple.
Care should be used with the installation of tap-on/staple pads though, because if they’re not properly installed, the nail or staple may be exposed to harm your floor.
Perhaps the most common, these are peel and stick pads that can be found at any hardware store.
They are typically made of felt or rubber and are the least expensive.
The downside is they tend to peel of after some time as the adhesive bond is reduced.
DIY solutions can be used for this style. With the use of a hot glue gun, felt, carpet cut-offs, leather and other soft material can be attached.
Felt Pads – While felt furniture pads can be bought in store, any thick felt material will do the job. Cut the felt into the correct size and glue on.
Towels – Old towels can be cut into pads, making sure they are of appropriate thickness.
Leather – Leather is another soft, durable material that can be cut to size and made into a good furniture pad.
These rubber, or material pads are typically custom made to fit over a chair leg.
The most expensive option of the three, but the long term benefits are they wont have a problem of falling off like a self-adhesive pad or have the potential to scratch your floor like a poorly installed tap-on/staple pad.
Here are some DIY solutions for that can help if you have these materials lying around.
Regardless of which type of pad you buy or make, make sure that your furniture is level on the floor. If it’s not, it can scratch the finish or make gouges on your floors.
So that’s our guide to protecting your hardwood floors from damage.
These simple steps should go a long way in making sure your hardwood floors look pristine for many years to come.
Satin or matte floor finish – What type of gloss level is most stylish?
To many, the choice of floor finish would not be a major factor.
The fact is, depending on your lighting and hardwood type, the floor finish can have a great effect on the overall look.
So with that in mind, whilst there are 4 different levels of hardwood floor finish sheens:
Matte, Satin, Semi-gloss and Glossy…
In this article where going to look at the two trending finishes of late – matte vs satin!
So what exactly do we mean by matte or satin finish.
Well the finish is commonly called “sheen level or gloss level” and you can consider this to be how shinny your finished flooring surface is.
Various people make different choices for many reasons.
Typically a sheen or gloss level is measured by how much light is mirrored off the flooring from a particular angle. Standards apply a 60 degree angle as this would be how a person would view the floor whilst standing.
Many considerations need to be taken when choosing your sheen level, however the glossier you go, means extra light will be mirrored off the floors.
It’s crucial to understand that different wood species will certainly produce various sheen levels.
Refined variances in shine level can be the result of differing timber species and the colour tones.
The toughness of the timber surface is not affected with the choice in sheen level, though its more attributed to an aesthetics choice.
Taking a look now at Matte and Satin Finish!
Satin Timber Floor Finishes
With ease of care and a middle ground in having luster, the Satin finish seems to be one of the most popular of late with around 35-40% sheen level.
It will provide the room both a contemporary and also traditional feel.
The surface is easy to tidy. Importantly, satin reveals the scrapes, blemishes as well as the dirt much less. So, it’s less complicated to keep and cleanse, as well as, it has the tendency to look newer much longer.
Spreading the light evenly across the floors, a Satin finish has the unique ability to give off an appearance the floors are new and fresh.
The majority of decorators advise this sheen degree, as well as my greater end clients have the tendency to strongly prefer satin surface. A satin coating is usually used with traditional colours, as well as a smooth structure.
The trend over the last few years has actually been towards reduced gloss finishes as they are extra functional, specifically for households with kids as well as pets. They aid hide the regular damage from strolling, chair movements, toys and high heels.
Here are some examples of satin finished timber floors:
Matte Timber Floor Finishes
A matte coating has little sheen surface around 10-25% luster.
The consensus amongst interior stylists feel that the matte floors look plain with this sort of surface so it would be beneficial to compliment the interior with contrasting tones.
There are exceptions to those that highly prefer this flat coating as it provides a clean and sleek appearance.
Perfect for kids rooms or within high traffic spaces, a matte finish floor will be certainly far better able to conceal scruffs, scratches, dirt and particles. This feature makes maintenance for matte floors extremely low.
A classic style with a little bit of retro, large barn styled planks with a matte finish is a best example of an application that functions perfectly with this sort of wood floor finish.
A matte coating is additionally a great means of accomplishing a classic, high build flawless floors bringing out the natural beauty such as the casual refinement of Scandinavian styled floor covering.
When a flooring is purposely wire-brushed or painted for a lets say a retro finish, this coating is nearly always used as it would reflect minimal amounts of light.
Ultimately if you desire a hardwood floor that will stay looking new and fresh much longer and is very easy to keep clean or perhaps not show up scratches, then consider a matte surface finish for your floors.
Here are some examples of matte finished timber floors.
So what to do if your floors are putting off too much light or showing up scratches?
The excellent news is that you could generally do a sand and re-coat to change the luster level of your floor.
Satin is by far the preferred option for the Newcastle area. The majority of our customers particularly ask for this surface finish.
Freedom Flooring finds this easiest to do if you have strong hardwood flooring boards in great shape.
We can take a small layer off your boards during the sanding process to bring the boards back to a natural surface, then apply our preferred Satin or Matte coating.
For more information, please contact us via clicking on the image below.
Cypress Pine Floor Finishes To Create A Rustic Charm
Whether you live in a property or perhaps you’ve just acquired an investment property benefiting from old cypress pine flooring, you can make a statement whilst saving a sum by potentially refinishing the pine floors.
Cypress pine flooring was common and typically used in the early 80’s through to the 90’s due to its availability from natural regrowth forests throughout western NSW.
The wood has a very distinctive odour, which is most noticeable during sawing or planing.
The odour comes from a nature resin which is said to be an effective repellent for termites. In fact the heartwood of cypress pine ranks as a termite resistant.
But can you refinish Cypress Pine flooring?
Well the answer is Yes you can…
And there are many options or techniques you can apply to bring back life or make a style statement.
Cypress pine flooring is heavily knotted and when used as a primary floor covering it can add a rustic elegance to any room.
The sanding process can be a little tricky so engaging professional floor sanders is highly recommended to avoid over sanding or sanding too vigorously in areas where resins may heat up and release from the pine.
You can experiment with different natural or stained finishes to try and find a look that is rustic or darker without the floors looking blotchy or fake.
The trick is to find products that will retain the natural grain but bring out the colour your trying to achieve. In the end it all depends on what final look your after.
Here Are 5 Popular Cypress Pine Floor Finishes
Cypress Pine With Water Based Satin Finish
Each floor space and purpose will determine the floor finish. Each will have its own distinct appearance. Satin finishes often does not reflect high amounts of light therefore allowing the finish to highlight the beauty of your floors without emphasising every tiny scratch.
Synteko is a one-component, non-yellowing water-based low-odour finish for hardwood timber floors. Perfect for cypress pine, the unique feature is that it keeps the timber floor looking natural in tone as if there wasn’t any coating
The finish gives good resistance to wear, scratching, scuffing, marring and is therefore ideal for surfaces subject to medium wear in residential properties.
Cypress Pine Walnut Finish
Do you desire a more contemporary look? Sanding then staining your cypress floors with a walnut colour is an affordable way to spruce up your space without a full replacement.
Cypress Pine High Gloss Finish
For dining rooms, libraries, studies and bedrooms, a high gloss wood floor finish defines the cypress pine grain and knots whilst offering darker stains more pizzazz.
It gives off an elegant finish that appeals to many tastes. So the higher sheen levels in your cypress pine floor finish, the greater level of detail and character displayed.
Lime Wash Cypress Pine Floor
Cypress pine has high tannins. Test out some boards and you may found lime wash is very opaque. Depending on how deep the lime wash finish you desire, you may be better off with a water based stain tinted white.
Whitewash Cypress Pine Floor Finish
Take a tip from the Scandinavians and apply a subtle whitewashed finish. For homes in need of a style statement, nothing matches the elegance of white-washed floors. Instantly transformative, white floors add contemporary flair to period homes where the cypress boards may be in poorer condition.
If your timber floor is looking a little worse for wear, then floor sanding is the perfect solution. Floor sanding removes the damage and visible wear from the surface of your floorboards. Once this layer has been removed, we simply apply a suitable finish.
Contact Us Online
If you would like to restore your timber floor to its original glory, then get in touch with the team at Freedom Flooring. We offer complete floor sanding services in Newcastle that are guaranteed to leave your timber floors looking immaculate.
To contact us, simply click on the contact us image below and fill our online contact form. We can provide you with a quote and develop a plan to sanding your floors for your home or business.
Tips to drying out your hardwood floors after water damage
Polished hardwood timber flooring provides a classic and sophisticated look to any home. A beautiful and elegant hardwood floor can easily become ruined in the event of water inundation.
It would be normal for many to consider their hardwood timber flooring damaged beyond repair and in need of replacement after such water damage, but the fact is by taking the necessary steps early on you can eliminate the need to replace them.
Taking to the task of cleaning up the water and drying out the floors can drastically help decrease the chance of cupping.
Cupping is formed when there is a moisture imbalance across the profile of the timber boards. Moisture in the air from humidity is absorbed into the timber and the floor boards will swell and contract as the moisture level changes.
When there is an excessive amount of water laying on top of the boards, there is a real chance the boards will swell to a point that they crush each other causing them to deform and cup at the edges.
So whether you have a major flood or just experience a localised water spill from say a failed washing machine or dishwater, the need for a quick response using our below tips is paramount.
If you think your floors can be dried out and refreshed rather than having to replace them, then there is special drying equipment that forces airflow around and through the surface of the floor to release moisture.
There are several steps that need to be followed in order to dry out re-use the original hardwood boards.
Types of hardwood timber flooring that can be dried and repaired
Most common hardwood floor boards can be dried, sanded and recoated.
These types of boards are solid natural timber that have a natural moisture content. These can vary between types of timber, however the fact remains they can accept some level of water before being permanently damaged.
The types of timber flooring that typically cannot be dried out and repaired are engineered and laminate boards.
Engineered floor boards have layers of plywood with a top layer of hardwood. The plywood will eventually swell and rot when exposed to large amounts of water.
Laminate flooring is simply a covering that will bubble and distort.
Ok so our recommended steps for drying out your hardwood floors:
1. Remove all items from the water effected rooms
Furniture and rugs will soak up water and retain the moisture until dry.
The moisture will seep into the boards, so you’ll need to remove all furniture items and rugs as soon as possible.
Getting access to all surface areas will allow a complete and thorough drying process.
2. Mop up excess water laying in low areas
Remove all excess water laying in low spots. Depending on the amount of stagnate water you can use a mop or a proper wet vacuum.
The next stage is to scrub down the entire floor surface to remove any contaminates. So be sure to remove as much as the flood water as possible.
3. Scrub down the entire floor surface
Cleaning the floor surface will remove any contaminates from the flood water that may cause damage at a later stage.
Contaminants can sit in the pours of the timber and be trapped causing mould to develop.
Wash down and scrub the floor surface with a mould removal based disinfectant solution to remove all contaminants.
After cleaning the entire hardwood floor surface, mop and/or wet vacuum the area making sure to remove all traces of moisture.
4. Completely dry out the timber flooring
As we’ve already covered, hardwood timber is specifically susceptible to mould growth when the moisture content is abnormal. It’s therefore important to ensure the hardwood floor boards and floor structure are completely dry.
The most efficient system at drying out the floors is one by using a commercial dehumidifier and blowers and large fans.
The dehumidifier sits in the centre of the room/s whilst the fans pointed at the floor boards directs airflow around which boosts the efficiency of the dehumidifier.
Leave this system setup for 24 – 48 hours.
To allow the dehumidifier to extract the moisture, make sure to open windows only in dry weather conditions.
5. Inspect for damage and mould
Only once the floors are completely dry can you check for damage and mould growth.
If the water was left lying on the floor boards for too long, they would have swell and cupped after a couple of days drying out.
Check all boards for cracks, swelling and cupping.
If there are signs of damage, then you’ll need to make a decision on whether you replace the individual boards or replace an entire section.
Check for and spots or signs of mould growth.
A close inspection hopefully will reveal no signs of mould, however if there is suspected mould growth now is the time to have it removed.
Clean the affected areas with a mould release agent and roll back over the steps for drying out the surface with the dehumidifier.
6. Check for signs of moisture
When all areas have been checked for damage and mould growth, and you’re happy with the results, now you can take a moisture level test in various different spots.
Make sure to check many areas to give an accurate reading of the moisture levels.
You should aim to have the moisture levels below the natural moisture content level of the timber.
7. Sand & re-coat the entire hardwood flooring surface
After completing the exhaustive steps for drying out the hardwood floors, you now can have them sanded, re coated and polished to bring them back to a beautiful and elegant finish.
Freedom Flooring are specialists in hardwood floor restoration. Our sanding and re-coating process can have your water damaged floors brought back to their original elegant look.
No job is too big or too small, so give us a call or contact us via the enquiry form.