How to install bamboo flooring

How to install bamboo flooring

How to install bamboo flooring

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In today’s more eco conscious world more people moving towards a more environmentally friendly home environment by replacing standard hardwood floors with the greener alternative bamboo. Bamboo flooring is growing in popularity not only because it is one of the most sustainable materials on the planet but also for its extreme strength (stronger than even steel!) and beautiful aesthetic.

Installing a bamboo floor in your home can seem like a daunting task but it is actually quite simple and can make a fun weekend project. Following these installation instructions will get you started on the road to a beautiful and more sustainable home.

Pre Installation

  • Let the bamboo adjust to the natural climate of your home for at least 72 hours
  • Be sure your sub-floor is flat and smooth
  • Inspect each piece of bamboo floor panels for damage or defects
  • Make sure you have a tapping block you never want to hit bamboo flooring directly
  • Determine what kind of floor you have: either a floating floor (does not require adhesive or face nailing) or a standard plank floor (requires face nailing).
  • Make sure you read all instructions that come with your bamboo carefully

The tools you would use to install normal hardwood floors will work for bamboo flooring. Depending on the type of flooring you will need either special glue, a flooring stapler or nail gun. Other basic tools include a miter saw, a rubber mallet and a handsaw.

1. Start at one side and begin laying down the bamboo panels. If your flooring requires face nailing, make sure you apply enough pressure to close the joints between each plank of flooring before you fire the nails. If you are installing a floating floor, firmly close the joints between each piece with a rubber mallet.

2. Always begin each row at the same side of the room. Also, for best appearance, a bamboo floor is often laid parallel to the longest wall or outside wall.

3. There are three times of installment methods: nail down, gluing or floating floor.

Nail down: Nail down flooring is the most traditional way to install your floor. 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 nail gun cant fit.

Glue: This method involves gluing the bamboo floor to the subfloor. Bamboo can be glued down using moisture resistant flooring adhesive on both concrete subfloors and plywood. When doing this method, start with the outside wall and spread as much adhesive as you can in one hour. After applying the adhesive to the subfloor the planks should be placed immediately. Walk on the flooring within 30 minutes of laying the floor to ensure a solid bond with the adhesive.

Floating: A floating floor is attached to itself and not the subfloor. This method is suitable with any subfloor and is recommended for radiant heat. This method involves gluing the tongue and joints of together over an underlay. Start first row with grooves facing the wall and glue end-joints of first row by applying adhesive to the second row. Make sure to use a rubber mallet or tapping block to gently fit the planks together.

4. After you install the flooring inspect the entire surface to make sure there are no misalignments or mistakes before you reinstall your base moldings and corner beadwork.

How to install bamboo flooring

If youre looking for more reasons to choose bamboo flooring, read more at

How to Install Bamboo Flooring

Okay, so your floor prep has been done. Now youre ready to start installing the bamboo floors in your room.

I finished a 13 foot by 10 foot bedroom on Saturday. I did a little work on Friday evening to set everything up, but its a job that can be completed in one whole day.

How to Install Bamboo Floors Part Two

Here is a list of items youll need to install your flooring:

  • 15lb. Felt Paper Underlayment
  • Bamboo Flooring (naturally)
  • A Floor Stapler
  • An Air Compressor (to run your floor stapler)
  • Flooring Staples (I used 2 inch crown staples for the 5/8 thick bamboo)
  • A 10 or 12 mitre saw
  • A Rubber Mallet (mine came with the Floor Stapler rental)
  • Measuring Tape
  • Hammer
  • Finishing Nails
  • Nail Set
  • Chalk Line Set
  • Matching Wood Filler

After the bamboo flooring has acclimated to your room for 3 to 7 days, and your subfloor is clean, you can begin installation.

Lay out the felt underlayment paper. Put it in the same direction your bamboo planks will go. Put down one row at a time to make sure you dont tear it up walking back and forth.

Start with the longest wall that is also an outside wall. Those tend to be the straightest walls. Use a chalk line to snap a straight-as-possible line along this wall. Place your first plank along that line, next to the wall. Youll have to nail it down with finishing nails. Try to nail the planks down to the floor joists underneath (youll see a line of nails along in the subfloor where it was nailed to the joists.)

Note Make sure you dont put the bamboo boards up tight against the walls. Give yourself a half inch or 5/8 inch gap between the wall and planks to allow for expansion and contraction of the bamboo. Your baseboards will cover the gaps (and if its not enough, you can add an additional quarter-round to the baseboard.)

Fit your next plank in and nail it down. Continue along your wall until the row is completed. On your next row, stagger the lengths of your planks. You can either make it random or alternate lengths you just dont want any of your seams to line up. You want the alternating look and you want the added strength.

Because your floor stapler wont fit, youll have to nail down your first two or three rows. Use your nail set and hammer to hammer down the finish nails until theyre below the surface of the bamboo.

Once you have room for the stapler, you can place your planks down and use the rubber mallet to pound the floor stapler to nail in the 2 inch staples. Put in a staple every 6 to 8 inches and not any closer than 2 inches to the edge of the plank. Tap your bamboo planks in with the mallet before a final staple to make sure youre eliminating gaps.

You may need to use a table saw to cut the planks length-wise once you get to the end of the room. Its rare that all the planks will fit in perfectly to every room. You may also need to remove the tongue on the planks to be able to drop those thinned boards in next to the wall.

One problem I had when I first started, my air compressor was set to about 100 psi and it was causing the staples to go in very hard and crack the tongues on the bamboo boards (see pic below.) I backed the pressure down to below 95 psi and the splitting of the tongue stopped. Always test out a spare board before you begin to make sure you dont ruin too many planks.

I purchased matching bamboo T-moldings to transition from the bamboo to the carpet in the hallway. If youre going from bamboo to tile or laminate, you may need a bamboo reducer for your transitions. Nail those down with finishing nails and use the nail set to drop them out of sight.

The only thing left is to clean up and install your baseboards. You should prime and paint the baseboards before you nail them to your wall to make it easier (and avoid getting paint on your shiny new bamboo floor!)

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