Refinishing Bamboo Floors
Refinishing bamboo floors is not possible on all the different brands that I have examined. Bamboo stalks are thin so in order to make a flooring material that is thick enough, manufacturers have to glue many pieces together to achieve the desired thickness. On average there are 16 horizontal pieces of bamboo to construct one piece of flooring that is 4 inches wide.
The problem is flooring sanders remove a good amount of material to take away the old finish and any indentations that occurred over time. So essentially bamboo flooring is an engineered flooring material which any flooring professional will tell you that you can not refinish engineered flooring.
Below you will see a picture of a bamboo flooring board I sanded with my drum sander which had 100 grit paper in it which mind you is much finer and more forgiving and gentle than a flooring sander. If you used a flooring sander you would have a lot of tear out and more frayed edges as shown in the picture.
In the picture you can see grain tear out along the edge (I wouldn’t want that in my foot), you will also see the glue embedded in the grain as well as large blotches of glue. One of the major problem with refinishing bamboo is the large amount of glue the manufacture uses to glue all the little pieces together
Since bamboo flooring is manufactured in China, the manufacturers use toxic glues and finishes which contain formaldehyde and urea. I noticed after sanding one little board the fumes were unbearable even though I was wearing a professional dust mask. I would hate to be in a house that was having the entire floor sanded, I dear say it might cause some sever health problems since by sanding it you are turning it into a dust.
Please keep in mind that bamboo flooring is still extremely new to the flooring industry and people have yet to really experience sanding the bamboo infused with these toxic chemicals. When the manufacturer is using these glues and finishes they are in liquid form, when you sand your floor you turn it into a dust which will penetrate every little crevice of your house your duct work and furniture no matter how much you try to clean and isolate the dust.
There are some serious health risks that can come from bamboo flooring that everyone on the industry has ignored. Here are some of your health risks you should be concerned about that your flooring sales person forgot to tell you:
•Eye irritation when formaldehyde is inhaled
•Nose irritation when formaldehyde is inhaled
•Throat irritation when formaldehyde is inhaled
•Headache when formaldehyde is inhaled
•Skin injury when formaldehyde is inhaled
•Hypotension severe cases
•Arrhythmia severe cases
•Irregular breathing severe cases
•Restlessness severe cases
•Unconsciousness severe cases
•Coma severe cases
I’ll mention again that the flooring is too new to the industry to recognize the potential dangers, but you can try it in your house if you want.