Learning Center

Find the answers to your home improvement questions.

Installing Bamboo Floors on Top of a Concrete Subfloor

Note: THE FOLLOWING IS A GUIDELINE ONLY. CAREFULLY READ THE MANUFACTURER’S INSTALLATION INSTRUCTIONS THAT COME WITH YOUR PRODUCT BEFORE BEGINNING THE INSTALLATION.

« back to installation list

Important Considerations

  • Before you order flooring, make sure you add at least 5% to the actual area size you are going to cover. The industry standard for allowable small defects, mismilling or misgrading is 5 %.
  • Read the Manufacturer’s Warranty carefully before installing the product.
  • As a general rule, all installed strips will be considered accepted by the installer and/or homeowner. So, sort through the product first before installing to ensure it meets your expectations. You cannot return planks once they are installed!
  • This flooring is to be glued down. It is not covered by warranty if it is floated.
  • The adhesive has to be a 100% Urethane-based product.
  • The adhesive manufacturer’s installation instructions are to be followed.

Installation Requirements

  • Gypsum joints must be completed and dried.
  • Concrete work must have been completed at least 45 days prior to installation.
  • The heating system must be functional and the building must be heated up to 21°C (70°F) for a minimum of 7 days immediately prior to installation.
  • The relative humidity of the building must be between 40% and 45%
  • Refer to the adhesive’s installation instructions to find the allowable moisture level of the concrete.
  • Maximum acceptable floor variation is 1/8” in 10 feet.

Before Installing

**Do not install flooring that has not been properly acclimatized to humidity conditions. Recommended acclimatizing time is 7 days minimum in rooms where the flooring will be installed. Try to disperse flooring as much as possible. If it is not possible, make smaller stacks, break boxes and open ends. Before starting installation, check moisture content on several randomly picked samples.

  • Correct slight irregularities on the subfloor.
  • Remove baseboards and doorsills.
  • Cut 9/16” off the bottom of the doorframes to insert the strips underneath them.
  • Vacuum the subfloor regularly during installation to make sure it is always clean and dust free.

Tools and Accessories Required

  • Measuring tape
  • Miter saw
  • Square
  • Sawhorse
  • Chalk line
  • Handsaw
  • Vacuum cleaner
  • Crowbar
  • Safety goggles
  • Level
  • Trowel
  • Other tools and accessories may be necessary depending on site configuration and type of installation.

Installation Guide

  • Locate the longest wall of the room where the product will be installed.
  • Allow for a 9/16” expansion joint between the wall and the flooring strips. This joint will be hidden by a baseboard or quarter round.
  • Draw a guide line with a chalk line. The guide line must be parallel to the wall. Calculate its distance from the wall as follows: expansion joint + strip flooring width + tongue width.
  • To end a row, cut the strip at the correct length and use the remainder of the strip to start the next row. Do not forget to leave sufficient space for the expansion joint at the end of each row.
  • Make sure you carefully choose the strips to avoid aligning the end joints with those of adjacent rows. A minimum of 15cm (6”) must be allowed to avoid aligning the end joints.
  • You may have to cut the last row lengthwise. Fix it in the same way you did for the first row, that is, from the top.
  • Install baseboards and doorsills.
  • Vacuum once again. Lightly dampen a mop with water and clean your floor.
  • Installation is now complete.

Practical Tips

  • Installation of a factory-finished bamboo floor requires more care than a conventional floor to prevent damaging the floor’s finish during installation. Frequent use of a vacuum cleaner during installation is highly recommended to eliminate saw dust and wood chips.
  • Place your tools on the plywood or on a piece of cardboard rather than directly on the bamboo floor.
  • To better hide the expansion joint around the room, cut the gypsum so that the bamboo can use that space as an expansion joint.
  • If a strip presents too much color variation or a minor defect, put it aside and use it in a less visible area such as a closet. You can also cut a defective strip and use it to start or end a row.
  • Save remaining strips after installation and store them in a proper place for future repairs.
  • Remove adhesive from surface of the floor as soon as possible.

Maintenance

  • Use non-wax flooring cleaner to keep your floor in good condition. Use of conventional, domestic cleaners may permanently damage your floor’s finish.
  • Never clean your bamboo floor with a wet mop or cloth. Water and wood are natural enemies.
  • Do not wax your bamboo floor.
  • Vacuum your floor frequently to eliminate the presence of solid particles (such as sand) which may damage and/or scratch your floor.
  • Place protective felt underneath your furniture to protect your floor. Clean the felt regularly and replace it when necessary.
  • When moving heavy furniture (fridge, piano, etc.), place a thick rug underneath furniture legs before moving.

    « back to installation list

(15) Comments

  1. I was told that the best method of installing my bamboo floor is to glue it to the wood subfloor …what would be the difference if is nailed or gluedown …thanks

    • BuildDirect Product Expert Team
      BuildDirect Product Expert Team - Reply

      Hi Tylee,

      Thank you for getting in touch! The best installation method would usually depend on the type of bamboo flooring you are working with. I usually suggest nailing down the floor rather than gluing because the floor stays more stable and you don’t have to worry about the bamboo reacting with the glue. Please let us know if you have any other questions!

  2. We have had moisture come up through the slab and damage our strand woven bamboo flooring in a number of locations? The floor was glued to the concrete slab. Should I have been advised yo install a barrier or to consider other type of flooring for our home which is in a low-lying area?
    Also, can another type of flooring be installed on top of the bamboo floor or does it need to be entirely removed? Hard to do with glue
    Thanks

    • BuildDirect Product Expert Team
      BuildDirect Product Expert Team - Reply

      Hello Michael.

      Normally with a glue down wood flooring option over concrete the adhesive used should be one that has a moisture control aspect and when used properly should act as a vapor to protect the wood floor. Even if the proper adhesive is used but spread too thin it will not protect against moisture like it should so it is always best to follow the installation instructions correctly. Removing the damaged flooring first will always be best when re-installing again.

    • BuildDirect Product Expert Team
      BuildDirect Product Expert Team - Reply

      Hi Gibson,

      Thank you for your inquiry! You don’t need to put down a traditional vapor barrier before gluing down your flooring, but you will need a glue that has a vapor barrier incorporated into it. I’ve included a link below to the products we offer that already include a vapor barrier. You just have to choose the correct glue for what type of flooring you are installing. Please let us know if you have any other questions!

      https://www.builddirect.com/Adhesives-Results.aspx

  3. Pingback: Unfinished Bamboo Strand Expand

  4. What is the best acceptable and guaranteed way to install hardwood finish flooring on top of concrete slab on grade? Does it need to have sleepers under it or could it be directly glued to the concrete? Appreciate your recommendations.

  5. I am wanting to use in-floor heating (heated water). What is your recommendation of the best and worst floor surface for transferring heating into the room space and why.

  6. I am interested in using strand woven bamboo in the bedrooms of our new home, but concerned about the maintenance. Is it true the bamboo cannot get wet at all or will be ruined? Also, can it ever be sanded & refinished if necessary years down the road?

  7. I am doing a bamboo project on concrete floor is it better to do a sub wood floor or the glue and if so what size wood should I use

  8. We live in south west Florida and have the standard backyard set up, pool and pool cage and 12 x 14 foot covered lani. My question is, would a bamboo product that is sealed on unfinished side and ends and installed on the Ceiling be a good choice? The ceiling is protected from direct exposure to the elements such as rain. If not, what would be a good product? We have seen bamboo used in an outdoor setting around here, poles and planks, but I like the look of bamboo flooring and on the ceiling would give our lani a great look and warm feel.

  9. I am a homeowner. I have one question, I have ceramic tile in the kitchen. It is in good condition. Can bamboo flooring be installed over the tile or does the tile have to be removed?

    Hope to hear from you.
    Sincerely,
    Phyllis Wilkinson

    • Hi Phyllis,
      You can install right over the ceramic tile, but you would need to intall the floor in a floating method. This means looking at either the Strand woven click Bamboo or the 9mm Bamboo. This would be the fastest and easiest for you to install your bamboo flooring.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

You can use these HTML tags and attributes <a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <s> <strike> <strong>

Notify me of followup comments via e-mail. You can also subscribe without commenting.