Bamboo floor finishes

wdatampaNovember 7, 2006

The next question in my floor selection saga:

I got an email back from Dura today. In said email they referenced the finish on the bamboo. They said:

"We are not using the ultraviolet aluminum oxide finish which lacks flexibility. It scratches easily, almost impossible to refinish and has a flat plasticized appearance. Our MP765 water-base polyurethane system is much more flexible, has much higher durability and is simple to re-finish "

I was under the impression that the aluminum oxide finish was the industry standard. The wife read the above and was frightened by Alu. Ox. finish. To say she is paranoid about scratche would be an understatment. ;)

Anyone with any experience or negative comments regarding the Alu. Ox. finish? Any opinions?


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If your wife is paranoid about scratches, do not under any circumstances get bamboo or any hardwood for that matter. Wood scratches. Period.

    Bookmark   November 7, 2006 at 3:49PM
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I'll work on her. She has had a soft pine floor and thinks everything will act like that.

What I'm concerned with is the difference in these two finshes.

Thanks for the help.

    Bookmark   November 7, 2006 at 3:52PM
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Aluminum Oxide embedded finishes are the industry standard. Basically, the aluminum oxide prevents the finish from wearing out fater and actually enable many manufacturers to provide 25 year warranties.

As for the lack of flexibility, I can't argue there. The plasticised look however really depends on the formulation of the polyurethane.

Water based urethane vs. Alum Oxide embedded polyurethane, the alum oxide finish will win everytime. Not only will it last longer, but it doesn't get that potential milky water stain that you sometimes get with water based finishes if it's not done correctly or done too much.

I would always go for prefinished over site finished anyday. Same is true for Alum Oxide over anything water based.

Tell your wife to put her fears to rest. Pine will naturally scratch easy because it's softwood with a Janka of 870. Bamboo has a Janka of 1410 so it's almost 50% harder than pine. Will it scratch? yes, but not as bad as pine.

    Bookmark   November 9, 2006 at 11:39AM
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Thanks.... I have told here all that. She will get over it. She loves wood floors, and the dog too, so she will come to her senses.

I guess the best way to do it is get samples and see what looks better.

Thanks again.

    Bookmark   November 10, 2006 at 8:04AM
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That sounds like Duro Design bamboo flooring you are looking at. I know because I am a flooring installer. They don't use aluminum oxide because when the finish scratches it leaves tell-tale white marks (ask any designer disappointed by the pre-finished bamboo floor they specified which looks awful after a couple of years.) I've seen these aluminum oxide finishes flake and separate from the bamboo myself on floors just a few months old. It's a CHEAP way to make a hard finish, but not very flexible or long wearing. You also can't re-coat an aluminum oxide prefinished floor! Duro Design bamboo floors are pre-finished by the way, and easily re-coatable.

Here is a link that might be useful: duro design bamboo flooring

    Bookmark   January 7, 2007 at 4:12PM
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I don't totally agree with all the responses you have gotten. Aluminum oxide is the standard. It is extremely easy to recoat without the need to resand. Bona Kemi makes a product that most mfctrs recommend. When its time to recoat or cover up scratches etc you can screen and recoat. It is harder to totally sand off and refinish but thats because its so durable. The milky and plasticy look can come about if the aluminum oxide crystals are too heavily concentrated on the top layer of finish. The companies that I worked with put the AO on the 2nd or 3rd coat then finished the top coat with just urethane. I would agree that you should go with factory finishes over site finished.

    Bookmark   January 7, 2007 at 8:04PM
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Although I agree with the above regarding bona kemi (basic coatings too) for refinisheing, I still maintain that cheap Al-Ox finishes tend to be too brittle and actually separate from the bamboo when dinged. I've seen every scratch and ding shows up whitish because the finish has separated from the bamboo. Adding a top coat won't necessarily work because there is basically a small air bubble between the bamboo and the finish on top of it.
The catch with re-coating an AlOx floor is you need to chemically etch the surface, machine-buff, etc.. This needs to be done by a professional and can start to get expensive.
Also, I don't really like the pebbled, plasticky look of the typical Al-Ox prefinished floor- but to each his one. In the end I do want a floor that looks like a wood floor- not just a laminate floor. I'd rather have a more natural look to my floor and add a simple polyurethane top coat every few years. I don't honestly think a floor can last 25 years without ever having a maintenance top coat and still look good.

    Bookmark   January 8, 2007 at 12:43PM
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So how will the dura design bamboo flooring hold up to pet traffic (two dogs) compared to a prefinished hardwood floor. I know both will get scratches but which will hold up better and which will better resist warping due to a dog having an accident(urine) that wasn't able to be wiped up immediately. Also how involved is it two refinish a duro design floor. Do I have to move all my furniture out or can I just shift it around. Also can I live in the house during refinish?


    Bookmark   February 26, 2007 at 5:26PM
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OK, I don't intend to muddy the waters here, but isn't most AlOx formulations waterbased UV cured polyurethanes?

And, to respond to that comment that waterbased finishes can get "that potential milky water stain"...well that is only with inexpensive (read cheap) wood floor polyurethane.

When it comes to prefinished manufactured flooring, what you see is what you get. I do agree that the AlOx finishes are brittle and are subject to the white scratch phenomenon.

Just so you know, my opinions are biased, as I restore and finish wood flooring and firmly believe that site-finished wood flooring provides the consumer with the most attractive and most durable result...that is, if quality (read expensive) wood floor finishes are used in the first place.

    Bookmark   February 26, 2007 at 8:19PM
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When I started considering differing wood types for our remodel project I was intrigued hearing how hard bamboo was. However, I found quite a few stories of people having experiences with the bamboo splitting and splintering and not being so trouble free as you would imagine. Maybe someone knows how to distinguish a good product from bad or is this an inherent problem with bamboo flooring? Something to consider....

    Bookmark   February 26, 2007 at 10:49PM
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Glen, I believe most prefinished floors are H2O based so the finish can dry faster during the 7 coats or such production. I had my floors site finished with 2 coats of quality acid cure and a top coat of traffic. A unique rich finish I did not find in prefinsihed.

The installers made a mistake and had to recoat a third of the job with a second coat of traffic. The white oak started to look a bit green, the rift and quartered started to loose its sparkle and look plasticy and it just started to look like prefinsihed. No matter what the wood it will hold up with a good finish/finisher, regular sweeping, care and common sense. Thanks JMO

    Bookmark   February 26, 2007 at 11:25PM
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