Bamboo Floor Scratches

by Wayne

White Scratches on Dark Bamboo Floor

White Scratches on Dark Bamboo Floor

Bamboo Floor Scratches Easily

I bought bamboo from Lumber Liquidators. It scratches so easy it's shocking. The floor is solid bamboo. Is there something I can put over the finished floor like polyurethane to give it some protection?

Floorwright's Response

So sorry for your trouble.

I have to start with the obvious, and that is that Lumber Liquidator's Bamboo Floor products are there for a reason. And I am not faulting Lumber Liquidators. There has been plenty of living and learning on all kinds of pre-finished flooring, their stock and trade.

Pre-finished flooring mills need wear-through warranties with big numbers-- 25 years, 50 years, lifetime!

The warranties, inevitably, cover scuff-resistance, but not scratch or mar-resistance. And how can they? They have no control over the environment into which their product is being installed.

So, without pointing fingers in any direction, (especially up,) let's play the ball where it lies.

You have asked if another coat will improve the appearance, and it might. Here's the kicker:

Aluminum oxide and ceramic finishes are used to bump up the number on the warranty and these are very un-forgiving products to be applied in the field.

They make great factory finishes, but inadequate surface cleaning and prep lead to adhesion problems, as well.

By that I mean, all waterbourne finishes have zero tolerance for surface contaminants. Unlike a finish with mineral spirits which can soften and dissolve contaminants and still allow adhesion, waterbournes have no such immune system.

Aluminum oxide and ceramic finishes are also very hard and cannot simply be buffed and recoated. They require some kind of chemical softening.

The floor guy must be vigilant to not only clean and soften the tops of each board, but also the v-grooves I see in your photo.

Now, even if your finish was some kind of oil based poly, let's say, the scratches would still be showing simply because that is what poly does.

Just like when you bend a plastic soda bottle in half and the crease turns white... that's what is happening here. You have a plastic shell turning white under stress.

The big un-forgiving factor here is that the Bamboo color is so dark.

So... my advice is to find a floor guy who understands cleaning and softening of aluminum oxide finishes. Kindly ask him to do a test area, first, and then proceed wall to wall.

This process will need to be repeated, depending on how you live and your tolerance for the white scratches.

I wish I could suggest another finish, but these aluminum oxides and ceramics are what the pre-finished Lumber Liquidators mills of the world are offering, and in my opinion, you would be wise to maintain with finishes in like kind.

Here's to the longest life of your Bamboo floor, as well as you and yours!

Signature of Floorwright

Jerry Adamsson
Journeyman Floorwright

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