Flooring and Carpeting Installing bamboo over Hardibacker board, flooring nails, wall to wall

Flooring and Carpeting Installing bamboo over Hardibacker board, flooring nails, wall to wall

Flooring and Carpeting /Installing bamboo over Hardibacker board


Expert: Robert Knupp — 1/25/2010



I have been asked to install a 5/8” strip bamboo floor in a second story bedroom of a residential home. The measurements of the room is 10’ x 11’. The owners of this home originally had wall-to-wall carpeting in this room.

Underneath the carpeting, we found a ѕ” strip oak floor fastened to a ѕ” tongue and groove sub floor. I would like to lay the new bamboo floor over the existing hardwood floor.

A 3’ x 3’ section of the existing floor was cut-out and replaced with a section of Hardibacker board. This patch is located in the right-hand corner of the room and it is permanently glued down to the subfloor. The patch is perfectly flush and level to the remaining oak floor. It appears as if I would have to remove the entire floor and sub floor to replace the patch.

I had planned on face nailing the first three courses of bamboo down with a finish nail gun (Using 2” finish nails) and then using a floor stapler to finish the job (2’ staples).

Can I drive both finish nails and floor staples through the hardibacker board? If so, would 2” flooring nails be a better choice than staples?

Please let me know.

Thank you for your time and insights.

Chris M.



Thank you for the question. It sounds like you are on the right track with your project.

You really covered your bases in describing your intended installation, except direction of the new flooring.

1. I want to make a strong recommendation based on multiple experiences, that your new floors be installed perpendicular to the existing floors. This will provide much more stability than running the floors the same direction as the old flooring, as the oak and bamboo flooring will expand and contract at different rates during fluctuations in humidity levels. This combined with the compounded forces of two layers of flooring can cause a failure when both floors are installed the same direction.

Flooring and Carpeting Installing bamboo over Hardibacker board, flooring nails, wall to wall

2. To answer the question you are actually asking,the staples have an adhesive coating which melts from the friction providing extra «grab». The staple manufacturers make claims of having as good of a grab, or better, than the more traditional cleated nails, such as used with the manual Powernailer.

I have never run a test nailing vs. stapling into Hardibacker, but I would believe the staples are likely the better fastener in your situation. My experience has been that stapled floors are a bit more difficult to remove than nailed flooring. The only other thing you might consider would be to glue and staple, but I feel this would be overkill.

3. Last option would be to install the bamboo as a floating floor installation, just don’t use an underlayment with a moisture barrier attached, as it will trap moisture and cause problems of its own. Use a Volara foam underlayment in this case. The floating floor would allow you to install any direction you want. You won’t have any face nailing ( I hate face nailing prefinished floors.), and the flooring underneath will be preserved, should anyone ever want to make repairs and save them.

I would recommend option three, but your original plan should be fully functional if the floors are installed perpendicular to the existing floors.

If you have any more questions during your project, feel free to contact me if you like, I will be glad to help.


Robert Knupp



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