Bamboo Floors And Scratches: The Details


If you’ve done any research on bamboo floors in the past, you know that there are many topics related to bamboo flooring and scratching.

After doing your research, you may still be left with the same question: “Why does bamboo flooring scratch easily?”. While there are a few reasons, the primary reasons are that there are certain lower cost floors with less-than-ideal finishes that scratch easily, or the manufacturer of the bamboo floors went with a weak or thin top layer.

While it may be easy to remove bamboo floors as an option for you based on this information, we’ll share more details about bamboo scratches, how to prevent your floors from scratching, and how to fix bamboo floors that already have scratches.

A deeper dive into the causes of the scratching

In order to make the best decision about which bamboo floors will be the best option for you, it’s important that you know what the main causes for scratches are in order for you to know what to look out for when deciding.

Primary Cause #1 – Poor finish used by the manufacturer

Most bamboo floors are finished with an aluminum oxide solution. This is meant to prevent scratches and is typically applied at least five times or more for most high quality bamboo floors.

Where the issue arises is when the manufacturer decides to use fewer than five layers of aluminum oxide; this can cause your floors to be more prone to scratching. Whether the manufacturer made the decision based on cutting costs or not seeing the importance of additional layers, you as the consumer are the person who is impacted the most.

Now, this is not to say that bamboo flooring with 5 or more layers of aluminum oxide is completely scratch resistant, but you definitely see the difference when it comes to how scratch-prone your bamboo floors are.

Primary Cause # 2 – A weak or thin wear layer was used

In addition to the layer of aluminum oxide that is applied to bamboo floors, you have what’s called the wear layer, which is the layer in between your base layer (sometimes made of different types of material like plywood) and your aluminum oxide layer.

This layer of your floor can come in varying levels of thickness and strength and can often impact how prone your floor can be to scratches. While both thin and thick wear layers can show signs of scratching, having a thin wear layer can impact your ability to remedy the scratches on your bamboo floors.

While we’ll cover this in more depth below, having a thin wear layer means that when scratches do appear on your bamboo floors, that you will have less floor to play with should you want to sand down or refinish your floors to give them a fresh look.

The 5 best ways to prevent or limit your floors from scratching

As with most other types of flooring (except for carpet and certain types of tile), it may feel like scratches on your bamboo floors are inevitable. We’ve put together a list of things you can do to make sure your bamboo floors see the least amount of scratches possible.

1. Make sure you are choosing bamboo floors with multiple layers of aluminum oxide and thick wear layers

Many manufacturers have now included this type of information on their packaging to help you get a glimpse of their production process. If this information is not available on their packaging, you may also be able to find the product on the manufacturer’s website where you will likely find more details.

2. Try to sweep your floors everyday (with a soft brushed broom)

We understand that life gets busy sometimes, but if you’re looking to keep your bamboo floors in tip-top shape, it’s important to make sure there isn’t any sand, dirt, or pebbles creating scratches on your floors. Even if you don’t have the time to do a thorough sweeping every day, even a light sweep can prevent lasting damage.

Another important note is to make sure that you are sweeping with a broom that has a soft brush. Brooms with tougher bristles can have the adverse effect on your floors; your floors will be free of debris, but scratched all over. You can find out more about the products we recommend for cleaning bamboo floors on our “Best Of” page.

3. Invest in anti-scratch pads for the legs of your furniture

The furniture in your home will inevitably move around or shift positions; this can be especially damaging to your bamboo floors if you have particularly heavy furniture. Placing small, anti-scratch pads can help you avoid scratching and/or permanent damage to your bamboo floors as these pads serve as an extra later of protection.

Also, pay close attention to the material that is being used for the pads you purchase. As with the broom being used for cleaning, you’ll want to make sure that the pads are made of a material that is soft and won’t cause scratches.

4. Be mindful of the types of footwear you have on

While this may seem like an obvious tip, it is easy to forget the impact that our shoes can have on bamboo floors. Specifically, heavy work boots, heals, and cleats can be extremely damaging to your floors. If possible, get yourself and your household into the habit of removing shoes at the front door; this is the easiest way to prevent scratching that can be caused by your footwear.

5. Place rugs or doormats at all entryways or in rooms with objects that can easily fall on the floor

If you’ve kept up with our posts related to bamboo floors, you know that we’ve covered this topic in our post covering the durability of bamboo floors; well, this is no different.

Placing doormats at entryways can help with making sure dirt and debris don’t enter your home. This can be an easy implementation that should help collect a lot of the unwanted materials that can damage your floors.

Also, this may even help in areas like your kitchen, where pots, pans, utensils, and other kitchen items are likely to fall on the ground at some point. Having a small rug can help cushion the fall.

My floors are already scratched, now what?

Maybe you’re reading this article because you are already beginning to see scratches on your bamboo floors. Hope is not lost! There are a couple of tactics that we’ve seen used that can help get your floors looking great again.

Tips for lighter scratches or scratches on the surface

  • Completely clean the area of the scratch/scratches before any treatment.
  • You may also want to cover unscratched areas so that they do not come in contact with any treatment.
  • Find a scratch concealer or wood floor restorer. These won’t remove the scratches, but they will help to conceal the scratches.

Tips for deeper scratches or scratches that go below the surface

  • Because these may require more attention, we first recommend reaching out to a professional who will let you know if this is a simple fix, or if the scratch requires a more advanced solution for fixing.
  • If you choose to do the work on your own, like we recommended for lighter scratches, you should completely clean the surface.
  • For deeper scratches, we recommend using wood putty to fill the scratch. Be sure the putty matches the color of you floors.
  • Once the scratch is filled, you can even out and wipe off excess putty with a light towel

We hope that his helped to clear up any questions you had about the cause of bamboo flooring scratches. As we’ve detailed above, there are plenty of things you can do to prevent scratches. However, even in the cases where your floors have gotten scratched over time, there are still ways you can get your floors back to a good state.

Tilen Ledic

With years of experience in the home services space, Tilen is dedicated to finding the answers to your most pressing flooring questions. He created this site after feeling frustrated with the lack of relevant flooring information when shopping for his own home.

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