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Bamboo Flooring Articles

How is bamboo floor installed (detailed version)

Bamboo wood floor installation is not much different from standard hardwood floor installation. For homeowners, the primary motivation for doing bamboo wood floor installation is to save money. It can be installed in half the cost by doing it yourself.Installing a bamboo floor can be an easy weekend project.

Basic Instructions: Prior to installation of any flooring, you should ensure that the job site and subfloor meet the necessary requirements. The important steps in installation take place before putting in the bamboo floor. Here are a few guidelines:

  • The first step in bamboo wood floor installation is making sure the subfloor is:

      √ Structurally sound
      √ Clean: Swept and free of debris, wax, grease,paint, sealers, and old adhesives etc
      √ Dry: Subfloor must remain dry year-round, and
      √ Level

    Adhesives do not bond well with dirty subfloors and will eventually cause decay, if moist. If not level, the bamboo flooring will squeak when walked on.

  • Remove any old nails or staples from previous flooring material.

  • Examine each floor plank for grade, color,finish, quality and defects.

  • Measure the floor and divide by the number of boards.

  • Lay out flooring for visual selection. The careful placement of color and grain will enhance the beauty of the finished floor.

  • The flooring material must be stored at the installation site at least 24-72 hours earlier. This allows the flooring to adjust to the room temperature and humidity.

  • Do not store directly on concrete or near outside walls.

  • When purchasing flooring, add 5% to actual square footage needed for cutting allowance.

  • If you're installing the bamboo floor on a second story, then before using the nailer/stapler, first remove light fixtures from the ceilings below. The stapler puts a pressure on the joists and can loosen ceiling-mounted fixtures below.

  • Any job involving water or moisture should be done before the bamboo wood floor installation. A room temperature of 60-70°F and humidity level of 40-60% is recommended.

Important Note:

A bamboo wood floor should be the last item installed for any new construction or remodel project. Also, install the floor per the manufacturer's guidelines to protect your warranty.

Installation Tools:
  • Measuring Tape

  • Handsaw (power saw is also helpful)

  • Tapping block (trimmed piece of flooring)

  • Wood or plastic spacers (1/4")

  • Crow bar or pull bar

  • Hammer

  • Chalk line

  • Pencil

For nail-down installation, you'll also need:

  • A hardwood-appropriate nail gun

  • A nail application chart

For glue-down installation, you'll also need:

  • Approved flooring adhesive

  • Adhesive trowel

For floating installation, you'll also need:

  • 6-mil poly film foam underlayment

  • PVAC glue

  • Poly tape or duct tape


Pre-installation Instructions:
  • To make the flooring fit underneath, door casings should be undercut or notched out.

  • As the wood expands with an increase in moisture level, a 1/4" expansion space should be left between flooring and all walls and vertical objects (such as pipes and cabinets). This will be covered during the reapplication of base moldings around the room. Use wood or plastic spacers during installation to maintain this expansion space.

  • Always use a tapping block and hammer to pull planks together. The tapping block should be used against the tongue only,never against the groove of the plank.

  • Always begin each row from the same side of the room.

  • A crow or pull bar can be used to close end joints near a wall.

  • Take care not to damage the edge of flooring.


Getting started:

For the best appearance, a bamboo wood floor is often laid parallel to the longest wall or the outside wall, which is usually the straightest and suitable for laying down a straight working line.The direction of the planks should be based on the layout of the room and locations of entrances and windows. A few rows (no glue or nails) can be dry-laid before starting installation to confirm your layout decision and working line.

If the room is ready for installation, and all materials and tools are present, a DIYer with some flooring experience can expect to install about 200 square feet in a day.


Installment Procedure:

There are three common ways for a bamboo wood floor installation: Naildown, gluedown and floating.

  • NAILDOWN or SECRET NAILING: In this method, the bamboo floor is 'secretly' nailed down to a wood subfloor. It is the traditional way of bamboo wood floor installation using nails or staples. All solid flooring and many engineered floors can be installed this way.

    The floor joists (floor support beams) must be marked to guide installation procedure. Also, the location of floor joists should be marked on the felt paper with chalk lines. These markings will identify where nails and staples should be driven to make a solid connection with the subfloor. The nails or staples are rammed at an angle through the tongue and are hidden by the next piece of flooring.This is why it is called 'blind or secret nailing.'

    Nail each board every 8" and within 2" of each end. Once starter rows are placed, the next planks should be nailed directly above the tongue at a 45o angle. A face nail might be needed in doorways or tight areas where the nailer can't fit. The last two rows will also have to be face nailed in the same manner. A good eye should be kept on nail / staple penetration.

  • GLUING DOWN: This method involves the gluing of the bamboo floor to a subfloor. A glue-down wood floor is installed in a similar way like that of flooring tile. It can be used for installation on both concrete subfloors and on plywood. Engineered flooring can be installed using similar glue-down methods.

    Bamboo flooring can be glued down using a moisture resistant flooring adhesive (especially urethane type). Read adhesive instructions carefully for proper trowel size and adhesive set time. Water based adhesives should not be used for this purpose. Also, never use the "wet lay" or "loose lay" method of installing.

    Start with the outside wall and spread as much adhesive as can be covered by the flooring in 1 hour. After applying the adhesive to the subfloor with a trowel, the bamboo flooring planks should be immediately placed with groove facing the wall. Allow for adequate cross ventilation during the procedure.

    make sure the floor is still aligned and be careful not to let installed floor move on the wet adhesive. Use damp cloth to immediately remove any adhesive that gets on flooring surface. Walk on the flooring foot-by-foot within 30 minutes of laying the floor to ensure a solid bond with the adhesive. Flooring planks on the boundary line of room may require weight for this bond.

  • FLOATING FLOOR: A floating floor is attached to itself and not to the subfloor. It is installed over various types of cushion underlayment.This method is suitable with any subfloor and is especially recommended for radiant heat or below grade installations. Only wider engineered or cross ply products should be considered for floating. This method involves gluing the tongue and groove joints of the bamboo wood flooring together over an underlay. Start first row with groove toward wall. Glue end-joints of first row by applying adhesive to bottom of groove. Lay subsequent rows of flooring by applying glue to side and end joints and fitting planks together with tapping block.


Post-Installation Care:
  • Remove expansion spacers and reinstall base and/or quarter round moldings to cover the expansion space.

  • Do not allow foot traffic or heavy furniture on floor for 24 hours (if glue-down or floating).

  • Dust mop or vacuum your floor to remove any dirt or debris.

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