Floating Floor — Installation Guide for the DIY Homeowner Cali Bamboo

Floating Floor - Installation Guide for the DIY Homeowner Cali Bamboo

Floating T&G Floor Installation Guide

This method offers a fast, convenient, and cost efficient way to install a bamboo floor.

Determine the best installation method that suits your application. Cali Bamboo floors may be Floated (not secured to the subfloor), Glued, or Nailed. For floating applications, Cali Bamboo highly recommends selecting a style from our Fossilized Click Lock Bamboo Flooring series. Follow the instructions designated for the most suitable installation method for your project.

Upon ordering of wood floor material consider adding an additional 8% to allow for cutting waste (5%) and grading allowance (3%).

Cali Bamboo flooring is manufactured in accordance with accepted industry standards, which permit manufacturing, grading and natural deficiencies not to exceed 5%. If more than 5% of the material is unusable, do not install the flooring. Immediately contact the distributor/retailer from which the flooring was purchased. No claim will be accepted for materials with visible defects once they are installed. Installation of any material serves as acceptance of the material delivered.

Installer/Owner assumes all responsibility to inspect all flooring before installation. Boards deemed unacceptable in appearance can be placed in closets, near walls or simply not be used. Pieces with glaring defects that can be seen from a standing position should be cut off or not be used as use constitutes acceptance. The use of putty, stains, filler sticks or markers to touch-up flooring during installation is considered normal practice.

As bamboo is a natural product, natural variations in color may occur within and between individual flooring planks. To visualize the range of colors within the flooring style you are considering, compare your samples to the photos on our web site. During installation, work from several cartons at a time to achieve a uniform appearance across the entire floor. Mix and mingle planks when dry-laying the floor for maximum aesthetic appearance. Blend moldings to planks that have similar color. Natural variations in color are not covered under warranty.

It is the responsibility of the installer/homeowner to determine if the job site conditions, environmental conditions and sub-floor are acceptable for the installation of Cali Bamboo flooring. Prior to installation, the installer/owner must determine that the jobsite meets or exceeds all applicable National Wood Flooring Associations Installation Guidelines. Cali Bamboo does NOT warrant against failure resulting from or connected with subfloor, job site damage, or environmental deficiencies after installation.

Cali Bamboo makes no warranty or guarantee of the quality of the chosen installer’s work or of a particular installation performed by him or her. Cali Bamboo disclaims all liability for any errors or improprieties in the installation of its products by an installer. Please contact the National Wood Flooring Association (800-422-4556) to find a certified installer in your area, or for more information on the installation of hardwood flooring.

Controlling flooring moisture content is important for success. Bamboo, like all hardwood flooring species, is hygroscopic; its size and shape changes naturally with the absorption or release of moisture. The amount of movement varies depending on the preventative steps taken at the time of installation (i.e. acclimation, moisture barrier application, etc.) and the stability of the home environment thereafter. Care should be taken to control fluctuating levels of moisture within the building, and to maintain humidity levels within the recommended 40-60% relative humidity range.

Floor noise is normal and will vary from one installation type to the next. Occasional noise is due to structural movement and may relate to sub-floor type, flatness, deflection, and/or related to the fasteners, changes in environmental conditions, relative humidity and the amount of topside pressure applied to the flooring. For these reasons floor noise is not considered a product or manufacturer defect.

Cali Bamboo flooring is intended for installation on or above grade only. Flooring installed below grade is not covered under warranty.

Prior to Installation of Cali Bamboo Flooring

Job Site Preparation:

Prior to installation, it is the installers responsibility to determine that the jobsite, environment and subfloor conditions all meet the requirements of the National Wood Flooring Association. Do not deliver flooring to jobsite until the building has been enclosed with windows and doors, all cement, plastering, and other wet work has been completed, and a consistent room temperature has been reached. Confirm proper drainage exists around the structure. Lack of moisture protection can allow excessive water or moisture to penetrate basement walls, flow beneath concrete slabs, basement floors, and into crawl spaces. In crawl spaces, exposed earth must be fully covered with minimum 6-mil polyethylene sheeting. Crawl space vents must be open. A moisture retardant such as 6 mil polyethylene film must be placed in crawl spaces. Heating units or non-insulated ductwork close to the flooring or subfloor may cause hot spots which must be eliminated prior to installation.

During installation, it is the installers responsibility to document all jobsite conditions and measurements including the installation date, flooring moisture content, site relative humidity, temperature, and subfloor moisture content. This information must be retained by the installer and left with the property owner as a permanent record. For a complete list of points to address prior to installation, refer to the NWFAs Jobsite Checklist .

Subfloor Requirements:

General: Subfloor must be structurally sound and meet all NWFA guidelines. All subfloors must be flat to a tolerance of 3/16 in a 10 radius. Use appropriate leveling products for correcting subfloor deficiencies. Subfloor surfaces must be smooth, clean, dry and free of contaminants that would interfere with an adhesive bond. All subfloors should be tested for moisture content (see Subfloor Moisture Testing). If high moisture readings are found, identify the moisture source and correct the problem before installation. Do not install flooring directly over floor joist without proper subflooring.

Wood Subfloors: Subfloor must meet all above requirements. CD Exposure 1 plywood and OSB Exposure 1 subfloor panels are appropriate subfloor materials (grade stamped US PS1-95). Solid board subfloors should be 1 x 6 nominal, Group 1 dense softwoods, #2 Common, KD. Minimum single layer subfloor thickness is 5/8 on 16 o.c. joists or 3/4 on 19.2 o.c. joists. Subfloor must be securely nailed or screwed to joists to minimize movement. Squeaky or loose boards should be reinforced by nailing/screwing every 12 on center along joists. High spots may be sanded down. Low spots should be cut out and repaired. Subfloor must be square with the space and run perpendicular to the joists, or additional subfloor thickness is required. A subfloor of 1-1/8 plywood over joists at 16 on center is recommended for optimal installation. Test subfloor moisture content. Flooring moisture content should be within 3% of subfloor moisture content. In no case should any wood moisture reading exceed 12%.

Concrete Subfloors: Subfloor must meet all above requirements. Concrete must be fully cured and at least 60 days old. Concrete must be free of dirt, oil, paint, old adhesive, wax, sealers and curing agents. Concrete that is not properly leveled can cause improper adhesive transfer, hollow spots, and squeaks. Sand or grind down high spots. Level low spots with appropriate leveling material; allow extra drying time for the leveling compounds. Test subfloor moisture content. To minimize moisture transfer from the slab, apply a moisture barrier such as: Titebond 531+ Moisture Control System.

Moisture Testing Subfloor:

General: Test the subfloor for moisture content before installation. If high moisture readings are found, identify the moisture source and correct the problem. Extend acclimation time and increase ventilation until the proper conditions have been met. Apply a moisture barrier. Please note that test results are only applicable the day of testing and will not ensure that moisture will not fluctuate with seasonal changes. Regardless of subfloor moisture content, the use of a moisture barrier is strongly recommended for all installations. Cali Bamboo does not warrant against moisture related problems.

Wood Subfloors: Use moisture meter to test wood subfloor moisture content. If results show moisture vapor at or exceeding 9%, determine its source and correct problem. Do not install the floor without a vapor barrier.

Concrete Subfloors: Concrete subfloors must be tested for moisture vapor pressure in more than one place for consistent readings. If test results show moisture vapor exceeds the minimum requirements below, do not install the floor without an impermeable vapor retarder with a perm rating of less than .13 perm designed to permanently block this moisture.

  • In-Situ Probe Method (ASTM F 2170): The Relative Humidity levels should not exceed 75%.
  • Tramex Concrete Moisture Encounter: Moisture readings should not exceed 4.5% on the upper scale.
  • Calcium Chloride Test (ASTM F 1869): The maximum vapor emissions cannot exceed 3lbs/1000SF in 24 hours.

Moisture Testing Bamboo Floor:

Use a reliable moisture meter that is acceptable for bamboo flooring. Strand-woven bamboo moisture readings must be converted to achieve accurate results. Contact the meter manufacture to verify substitute settings for bamboo. Meters that have adjustable species settings and conversion tables for strand-woven bamboo (such as Delmhorst; see table; right*) are most accurate. The flooring moisture content should vary less than 3% from the subfloor moisture content prior to installation.

Moisture Barrier Requirements:

General: Unexpected changes to subfloor moisture content may cause dimensional changes to the floor. To ensure a lifetime of satisfaction, it is strongly recommended that Cali Bamboo flooring be installed over a moisture barrier or vapor retarder (following adhesive manufactures guidelines) per the following specifications:

Wood Subfloors: For best results, use a moisture barrier with a perm rating between 0.7 and 50 when tested in accordance with ASTM E-96 Method A. Install as recommended by the manufacturer. Examples of acceptable moisture barriers for wood subfloors include: Asphalt laminated paper (UU-B-790a, Grade B, Type I, Style 1a.) and: Asphalt-saturated kraft paper or #15 or #30 felt (D-4869 or UU-B-790, Grade D.)

Concrete Subfloors: For on-grade and below grade applications, adding a vapor retarder is always recommended. Install an impermeable moisture barrier/vapor retarder systems with a perm rating less than or equal to 0.13. For glue-down or floating installations, Cali Bamboo highly recommends using: Titebond 531+ Moisture Control System. Install as recommended by the manufacturer.

Acclimation & Conditioning of Flooring

The goal of acclimation is to allow the moisture content (MC) of the flooring to fully adjust to its new surroundings before installation

1. Determine Normal Living Conditions - Ideal interior environmental conditions vary from region to region and jobsite to jobsite. It is the installers responsibility to know what the ideal climate conditions are and customize the acclimation of the floor around those conditions. For a general view of moisture-content averages by region, see the map below.

2. Control Home Conditions Accordingly — Acclimation should occur at normal living conditions. Before opening the cartons, the indoor environment should reflect the room temperature and relative humidity levels expected to be present before, during, and most importantly, after installation. Operate temperature / humidity control systems as normal. Allow normal ventilation through rooms.

3. Sticker Stack Flooring Planks - For maximum stability, Cali Bamboo recommends sticker stacking the flooring at the installation site while it acclimates. Remove the flooring from boxes and cross stack planks at least 4 off the subfloor with even spacing between planks to allow for complete and even air-circulation around the flooring.

4. Acceptable Areas for Acclimation - Acclimate the flooring as close to the center of the installation area as possible. Do not store flooring next to outside walls, in direct sunlight, near air vents or under conditions that dont reflect the normal home environment. Garages, and exterior patios, are not acceptable areas to store wood flooring during acclimation.

5. Determine Appropriate Acclimation Time Frame - Cali Bamboo flooring should be allowed to acclimate on the job site for a minimum of 72 hours. Extended conditioning may be necessary depending on the climate. For regions or conditions that are extremely dry, humid or highly-fluctuating, 2 or more weeks may be necessary for acclimation.

Floating T&G Floor Installation Guide

This method offers a fast, convenient, and cost efficient way to install a bamboo floor.

Determine the best installation method that suits your application. Cali Bamboo floors may be Floated (not secured to the subfloor), Glued, or Nailed. For floating applications, Cali Bamboo highly recommends selecting a style from our Fossilized Click Lock Bamboo Flooring series. Follow the instructions designated for the most suitable installation method for your project.

Upon ordering of wood floor material consider adding an additional 8% to allow for cutting waste (5%) and grading allowance (3%).

Cali Bamboo flooring is manufactured in accordance with accepted industry standards, which permit manufacturing, grading and natural deficiencies not to exceed 5%. If more than 5% of the material is unusable, do not install the flooring. Immediately contact the distributor/retailer from which the flooring was purchased. No claim will be accepted for materials with visible defects once they are installed. Installation of any material serves as acceptance of the material delivered.

Installer/Owner assumes all responsibility to inspect all flooring before installation. Boards deemed unacceptable in appearance can be placed in closets, near walls or simply not be used. Pieces with glaring defects that can be seen from a standing position should be cut off or not be used as use constitutes acceptance. The use of putty, stains, filler sticks or markers to touch-up flooring during installation is considered normal practice.

As bamboo is a natural product, natural variations in color may occur within and between individual flooring planks. To visualize the range of colors within the flooring style you are considering, compare your samples to the photos on our web site. During installation, work from several cartons at a time to achieve a uniform appearance across the entire floor. Mix and mingle planks when dry-laying the floor for maximum aesthetic appearance. Blend moldings to planks that have similar color. Natural variations in color are not covered under warranty.

It is the responsibility of the installer/homeowner to determine if the job site conditions, environmental conditions and sub-floor are acceptable for the installation of Cali Bamboo flooring. Prior to installation, the installer/owner must determine that the jobsite meets or exceeds all applicable National Wood Flooring Associations Installation Guidelines. Cali Bamboo does NOT warrant against failure resulting from or connected with subfloor, job site damage, or environmental deficiencies after installation.

Cali Bamboo makes no warranty or guarantee of the quality of the chosen installer’s work or of a particular installation performed by him or her. Cali Bamboo disclaims all liability for any errors or improprieties in the installation of its products by an installer. Please contact the National Wood Flooring Association (800-422-4556) to find a certified installer in your area, or for more information on the installation of hardwood flooring.

Floating Floor - Installation Guide for the DIY Homeowner Cali Bamboo

Controlling flooring moisture content is important for success. Bamboo, like all hardwood flooring species, is hygroscopic; its size and shape changes naturally with the absorption or release of moisture. The amount of movement varies depending on the preventative steps taken at the time of installation (i.e. acclimation, moisture barrier application, etc.) and the stability of the home environment thereafter. Care should be taken to control fluctuating levels of moisture within the building, and to maintain humidity levels within the recommended 40-60% relative humidity range.

Floor noise is normal and will vary from one installation type to the next. Occasional noise is due to structural movement and may relate to sub-floor type, flatness, deflection, and/or related to the fasteners, changes in environmental conditions, relative humidity and the amount of topside pressure applied to the flooring. For these reasons floor noise is not considered a product or manufacturer defect.

Cali Bamboo flooring is intended for installation on or above grade only. Flooring installed below grade is not covered under warranty.

Prior to Installation of Cali Bamboo Flooring

Job Site Preparation:

Prior to installation, it is the installers responsibility to determine that the jobsite, environment and subfloor conditions all meet the requirements of the National Wood Flooring Association. Do not deliver flooring to jobsite until the building has been enclosed with windows and doors, all cement, plastering, and other wet work has been completed, and a consistent room temperature has been reached. Confirm proper drainage exists around the structure. Lack of moisture protection can allow excessive water or moisture to penetrate basement walls, flow beneath concrete slabs, basement floors, and into crawl spaces. In crawl spaces, exposed earth must be fully covered with minimum 6-mil polyethylene sheeting. Crawl space vents must be open. A moisture retardant such as 6 mil polyethylene film must be placed in crawl spaces. Heating units or non-insulated ductwork close to the flooring or subfloor may cause hot spots which must be eliminated prior to installation.

During installation, it is the installers responsibility to document all jobsite conditions and measurements including the installation date, flooring moisture content, site relative humidity, temperature, and subfloor moisture content. This information must be retained by the installer and left with the property owner as a permanent record. For a complete list of points to address prior to installation, refer to the NWFAs Jobsite Checklist .

Subfloor Requirements:

General: Subfloor must be structurally sound and meet all NWFA guidelines. All subfloors must be flat to a tolerance of 3/16 in a 10 radius. Use appropriate leveling products for correcting subfloor deficiencies. Subfloor surfaces must be smooth, clean, dry and free of contaminants that would interfere with an adhesive bond. All subfloors should be tested for moisture content (see Subfloor Moisture Testing). If high moisture readings are found, identify the moisture source and correct the problem before installation. Do not install flooring directly over floor joist without proper subflooring.

Wood Subfloors: Subfloor must meet all above requirements. CD Exposure 1 plywood and OSB Exposure 1 subfloor panels are appropriate subfloor materials (grade stamped US PS1-95). Solid board subfloors should be 1 x 6 nominal, Group 1 dense softwoods, #2 Common, KD. Minimum single layer subfloor thickness is 5/8 on 16 o.c. joists or 3/4 on 19.2 o.c. joists. Subfloor must be securely nailed or screwed to joists to minimize movement. Squeaky or loose boards should be reinforced by nailing/screwing every 12 on center along joists. High spots may be sanded down. Low spots should be cut out and repaired. Subfloor must be square with the space and run perpendicular to the joists, or additional subfloor thickness is required. A subfloor of 1-1/8 plywood over joists at 16 on center is recommended for optimal installation. Test subfloor moisture content. Flooring moisture content should be within 3% of subfloor moisture content. In no case should any wood moisture reading exceed 12%.

Concrete Subfloors: Subfloor must meet all above requirements. Concrete must be fully cured and at least 60 days old. Concrete must be free of dirt, oil, paint, old adhesive, wax, sealers and curing agents. Concrete that is not properly leveled can cause improper adhesive transfer, hollow spots, and squeaks. Sand or grind down high spots. Level low spots with appropriate leveling material; allow extra drying time for the leveling compounds. Test subfloor moisture content. To minimize moisture transfer from the slab, apply a moisture barrier such as: Titebond 531+ Moisture Control System.

Moisture Testing Subfloor:

General: Test the subfloor for moisture content before installation. If high moisture readings are found, identify the moisture source and correct the problem. Extend acclimation time and increase ventilation until the proper conditions have been met. Apply a moisture barrier. Please note that test results are only applicable the day of testing and will not ensure that moisture will not fluctuate with seasonal changes. Regardless of subfloor moisture content, the use of a moisture barrier is strongly recommended for all installations. Cali Bamboo does not warrant against moisture related problems.

Wood Subfloors: Use moisture meter to test wood subfloor moisture content. If results show moisture vapor at or exceeding 9%, determine its source and correct problem. Do not install the floor without a vapor barrier.

Concrete Subfloors: Concrete subfloors must be tested for moisture vapor pressure in more than one place for consistent readings. If test results show moisture vapor exceeds the minimum requirements below, do not install the floor without an impermeable vapor retarder with a perm rating of less than .13 perm designed to permanently block this moisture.

  • In-Situ Probe Method (ASTM F 2170): The Relative Humidity levels should not exceed 75%.
  • Tramex Concrete Moisture Encounter: Moisture readings should not exceed 4.5% on the upper scale.
  • Calcium Chloride Test (ASTM F 1869): The maximum vapor emissions cannot exceed 3lbs/1000SF in 24 hours.

Moisture Testing Bamboo Floor:

Use a reliable moisture meter that is acceptable for bamboo flooring. Strand-woven bamboo moisture readings must be converted to achieve accurate results. Contact the meter manufacture to verify substitute settings for bamboo. Meters that have adjustable species settings and conversion tables for strand-woven bamboo (such as Delmhorst; see table; right*) are most accurate. The flooring moisture content should vary less than 3% from the subfloor moisture content prior to installation.

Moisture Barrier Requirements:

General: Unexpected changes to subfloor moisture content may cause dimensional changes to the floor. To ensure a lifetime of satisfaction, it is strongly recommended that Cali Bamboo flooring be installed over a moisture barrier or vapor retarder (following adhesive manufactures guidelines) per the following specifications:

Wood Subfloors: For best results, use a moisture barrier with a perm rating between 0.7 and 50 when tested in accordance with ASTM E-96 Method A. Install as recommended by the manufacturer. Examples of acceptable moisture barriers for wood subfloors include: Asphalt laminated paper (UU-B-790a, Grade B, Type I, Style 1a.) and: Asphalt-saturated kraft paper or #15 or #30 felt (D-4869 or UU-B-790, Grade D.)

Concrete Subfloors: For on-grade and below grade applications, adding a vapor retarder is always recommended. Install an impermeable moisture barrier/vapor retarder systems with a perm rating less than or equal to 0.13. For glue-down or floating installations, Cali Bamboo highly recommends using: Titebond 531+ Moisture Control System. Install as recommended by the manufacturer.

Acclimation & Conditioning of Flooring

The goal of acclimation is to allow the moisture content (MC) of the flooring to fully adjust to its new surroundings before installation

1. Determine Normal Living Conditions - Ideal interior environmental conditions vary from region to region and jobsite to jobsite. It is the installers responsibility to know what the ideal climate conditions are and customize the acclimation of the floor around those conditions. For a general view of moisture-content averages by region, see the map below.

2. Control Home Conditions Accordingly — Acclimation should occur at normal living conditions. Before opening the cartons, the indoor environment should reflect the room temperature and relative humidity levels expected to be present before, during, and most importantly, after installation. Operate temperature / humidity control systems as normal. Allow normal ventilation through rooms.

3. Sticker Stack Flooring Planks - For maximum stability, Cali Bamboo recommends sticker stacking the flooring at the installation site while it acclimates. Remove the flooring from boxes and cross stack planks at least 4 off the subfloor with even spacing between planks to allow for complete and even air-circulation around the flooring.

4. Acceptable Areas for Acclimation - Acclimate the flooring as close to the center of the installation area as possible. Do not store flooring next to outside walls, in direct sunlight, near air vents or under conditions that dont reflect the normal home environment. Garages, and exterior patios, are not acceptable areas to store wood flooring during acclimation.

5. Determine Appropriate Acclimation Time Frame - Cali Bamboo flooring should be allowed to acclimate on the job site for a minimum of 72 hours. Extended conditioning may be necessary depending on the climate. For regions or conditions that are extremely dry, humid or highly-fluctuating, 2 or more weeks may be necessary for acclimation.


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