So, you’ve chosen a beautiful new floor and you had it professionally installed or, you even installed it yourself. Well done. The hard part is now behind you. Thankfully, unlike most other things in life, flooring maintenance is quite simple: In short: Keep your floor dry and clean up grit whenever and wherever it is present and all will be well. Having said that, a floor is a FLOOR and it is, by its very nature, subject to the worst of what our kids, animals, and the world will throw, shed, drop, drip, and or spill on it. Floors will age a bit over time – there is no way around it, so relax into it, and as the old saying goes, just do your best!
Now, here is how to keep your bamboo floor looking as beautiful as possible:
- Try to keep your home’s relative humidity (RH) as close to your Installation Average RH as possible. This will prevent the problems associated with very dry or very humid environments. For further information on acclimation read this article: Why you need to acclimate your new floors.
- Clean up spills as soon as they happen. Like other natural materials, if bamboo flooring is exposed to liquid for a prolonged period it can be damaged.
- Use a walk-off mat (also called an entry mat) at exterior doors to prevent dirt and grit from being tracked in.
- Vacuum (without the beater bar turned on) to remove dust/grit/dirt or use a microfiber mop system both for removal of dust/grit/dirt and for damp mopping the floor.
- Damp mop your floor using microfiber mop. You can use Bona Hardwood Floor Cleaner if you wish – mostly I just use water. The key is to use as little liquid as possible. I wring out my microfiber mop until it is almost dry.
- Note: If you want to use soap use a liquid dish detergent such as Lemon Fresh Joy. Just a few drops in a gallon of warm water changes the whole equation. What we don’t want is soap residue on the floor. Don’t use soap every time you mop…just use it as needed. Let me say it again, you want your mop to be almost dry.
- Spot clean greasy or other really dirty spots with a sponge or rag and soap water. Once the spot is clean, rinse the area with a damp and soap-free towel and then use a dry towel to dry the floor. Note: never use the “scrubby” side of a sponge as it may lightly abrade the floor surface and change the gloss level.
- Never use Oil Soaps as they may leave an oily film on the surface of your floor. Let me repeat this: NEVER use oil soaps. Never. No.
- Never use floor polish or “refresher” products. These will likely leave a coating or film on top of your floor and can “dull” the finish.
- Scratches: Because a scratch physically changes the floor the goal is not to “repair” the scratch but to “minimize” its undesirable appearance. If your floor is scratched, consider one of the following options:
- If the scratch is only in the coating and hasn't reached the bamboo underneath the coating, drop by your local “health-food” store and get a tiny bottle of Jojoba Oil. Rub this oil into the scratch, wipe up any excess, and then buff the area with a clean, dry towel. Due to the waxes present within Jojoba oil its use really diminishes the visual impact of the scratch (it makes the scratch less-white). Don’t smear Jojoba oil everywhere, just apply it to the scratch.
- If the scratch is deeper (into the bamboo), use a brown or color appropriate dry-erase marker. Really rub it over the scratch and let the ink dry. Then, use a clean cloth to wipe the excess pigment off the surface of the surrounding plank. Note, if you need more assertive coloration try using a Sharpie but be careful – it can leave ink on the surface of a plank. Try rubbing it off the surface of the plank immediately after application using a towel or your thumb. Darker colors applied to a scratch typically are less visible than lighter colors (for example, if you have a brown floor try dark brown ink).
- Mandatory: when applying ink to a scratch (whether you are using a Dry Erase marker or a Sharpie), test your repair on an extra piece of flooring FIRST. If you don’t have any extra flooring sitting around just give us a call – we’ll send you a scrap to do your test on.
- Make sure that you have furniture pads on the legs of all chairs and furniture. I’ve had great success with the pads that “nail in” to the chair leg (I find that the pads which rely on adhesive work well for objects which rarely move but not for chairs).
- Note: If you can get away with it, these cat paw socks do a great job at protecting your floor from your chairs!! My kids and I love them, my wife...not so much. I had to sneak them on while she was out of the house.
- Use rug pads if desired:
- Polyvinyl-Based (PVC): Many inexpensive pads have a PVC composition and may emit VOC’s (volatile organic compounds such as formaldehyde etc.) These budget pads may also react with the polyurethane coatings used on flooring which could cause discoloration. The word on the street is to stay away from PVC rug pads.
- 100% Natural or Synthetic Rubber Pads: 100% rubber pads provide an effective non-stick grip to the flooring surface. Ensure that the pads contain no fillers (such as clay) as some of these fillers can abrade the surface of the polyurethane and dull their surface.
- Felt/ Rubber Hybrid Pad: This is a great way to go as the hybrid pad provides both cushioning as well as the gripping attributes of the rubber. Again, make sure there are no fillers.
- Move and rotate rugs and furniture to prevent sun exposure lines. If you have a room which receives direct sunlight or is lit with powerful lamps, be aware that many materials (wood, fabric, bamboo) are sensitive to light and can darken or lighten with exposure to sunlight or powerful indoor lights.
- If your floor’s coating ever becomes damaged to the point where you want to refinish it, consider this option: Sandless Recoating. Rather than sand down your floor to the raw wood/bamboo prior to recoating, the surface is deeply cleaned and lightly abraded. Then, a new coating is applied directly to the freshly cleaned and abraded surface. The benefits of Sandless Recoating systems are as follows:
- Fast (can take as little as a day)
- May cost less than traditional sand and recoat processes
- Maintains the integrity and color of your floor (no bamboo is sanded away giving your floor an unlimited life-span)
- Note: with softer woods where folks are trying to sand-away dents, Sandless Recoating may not be an effective restoration method. With Strand Bamboo which is very resistant to denting, Sandless Recoating works GREAT.
- That’s it!! As always, if you need help or have any questions whatsoever, feel free to call the Trinity Bamboo team at 1-888-248-6538.