Can Bamboo Flooring Be Stained?

Although bamboo is one of the “newer” options when it comes to wood floors (even though it is technically a grass), bamboo floors come in a surprisingly wide range of styles and color options. When visiting your local hardware store, you should see the variety on full display.

But, as is the case with many wood floors, there may be a time where you want to “freshen” up the look of your bamboo floors. If this is you, you may be asking the question: “can bamboo flooring be stained?”. You may be surprised to know that the answer to this question is yes, bamboo floors can be stained. In fact, this can be a relatively straightforward process if armed with the right tools and information.

While there are a number of considerations that should be taken into account before moving forward with staining your bamboo floors, know that this is definitely an option should you feel the need to change the stain of your floors. Furthermore, the process of staining bamboo floors is very similar to the process of staining most types of wood floors.

Whether you’re looking to purchase bamboo floors for your space for the first time and are worried that this may not an option in the future, or you currently have bamboo floors installed and have questions about the feasibility of staining, we’re here to provide everything you need to know about staining bamboo floors.

What to know before staining bamboo floors

While there are many different types of bamboo floors and varying qualities, most bamboo floors are relatively durable. In many cases, you will find that, if taken care of properly, bamboo floors should withstand the test of time and keep their original look for a number of years after installation.

Still, there may come a time where staining becomes a topic of conversation. There are really two primary reasons for wanting to stain your bamboo floors:

  1. Your floors have been damaged or worn down enough to impact the stain or color of you floors
  2. You’d like a new look for your floors that is a different stain from the original color.

Depending on the reason, one should take time to know how the initial steps can be different for each.

In cases where your floors are damaged or there is significant loss of the original color or appearance of you floors, you may need to take more time to get your floors to a condition that is more conducive to a new coat. If your floors are in good shape and have no serious defects or discoloration, you’ll be able to skip steps involving the repair or deep refinishing of your bamboo floors.

If you are having trouble determining the condition of your floors and how much prep work should go into your floors before staining, you should get the opinion of a professional.

How to stain bamboo floors (in 8 steps)

As is the case with many of our articles, we want to ensure that you are not stepping into a project with very little experience and potentially permanently damaging your floors. We always recommend professional advice if you feel unsure of yourself and your ability to do this on your own.

With that being said, here are the general steps needed to stain bamboo floors. Whether performed on your own or with the help of a professional, these should help you familiarize yourself with how one would go about staining bamboo floors.

1. Set aside enough time for the entire project

If you will be performing this project on your own, depending on the space, you should be prepared to spend a full day or an entire weekend dedicated to staining your floors. Be sure this project is all done without leaving too much time in between work, as leaving long gaps between coats can cause your floor to look much different than your expectation.

2. Leave your space completely clear of all furniture and/or decor

You’ll want to make sure that there is nothing in your way once you get started. The last thing you want is to have to stop your project to move furniture when you have your momentum going. While wall decor is not an issue, anything sitting on top of your bamboo floors should be removed.

3. Completely clean your floor

It is important that all dirt and dust is cleaned up before starting. Using either a soft-bristled vacuum or broom, or a dry towel for tough to remove debris, make sure to perform a couple of passes to make sure your floors are ready to be stained. For our recommendation for cleaning production, you can visit our “best of” page for bamboo cleaning products.

4. Remove the top layer of finish from your floors

In order to prepare your floors for their new coat, you must first prepare your floors by removing the top layer. This can be done by using either a handheld electric sander or a larger floor sander.

Caution: You should be very careful during this step of the process. As we’ve written about in another post, the quality or build of your bamboo floors can impact how much you should sand down your floors.

For bamboo floors that are manufactured with much thinner top layers, you can actually sand too much and potentially crack your bamboo planks. Be sure to understand the thickness of your bamboo floors to determine how aggressive or conservative you can be when removing the top layer.

5. Clean up all of the dust from your newly sanded floors

If you’ve ever sanded down floors before or have been in a space soon after sanding has occurred, then you know things can get pretty messy. Because of this, you’ll want to do another clean up of your floors so as to not impact the staining process.

6. Apply the stain you’ve chosen

Using a dry cloth or towel (you can also use a paint brush), begin to apply the stain onto your bamboo floors. Take your time as you spread the stain and do not apply an unnecessary amount of pressure in any given area. The objective during this step is to ensure that the stain is being spread out evenly.

After applying the initial coat, you may continue to apply additional coats depending on your preference. We would recommend having at least a 2.5 hour gap between coats to allow each coat time to settle.

7. Apply a finishing seal

Since we want to make sure that these newly stained floors stand the test of time, you’ll want to apply at least 2 to 3 coats of a polyurethane seal.

This will help to ensure that your floors are protected after you’ve gotten your floors to the desired color/stain. As mentioned in step 6, allow around 2.5 hours before applying additional coats of the polyurethane seal.

8. Enjoy your floors

Applying a new stain to your floors will often make you feel like you’ve just installed brand new floors. The good part is: you didn’t have to pay for new floors!

Final tips

Now that you know that staining bamboo floors is an option and have a better understanding of the process, here are some final tips to help you along the way:

  • If you feel uncomfortable in any way or are not confident in your ability to do this on your own, contact a professional who can guide you along.
  • For the most part, you will not be able to make darker bamboo floors lighter by staining. This is something to consider when trying to determine whether or not staining is the right option for you.
  • Read the manufacturer’s instructions that come with your floors. In these instructions, you may find information related to staining.
  • Understand the warranty on your floors. You’ll want to make sure that staining your bamboo floors won’t disqualify you from your warranty policy.
  • Take the time to understand the type of stain you’re going to be applying to your floors. Things such as whether you’re applying a water-based stain or an oil-based stain can have an impact on the final outcome of your work.

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