Installing Bamboo Flooring

Not all of bamboo flooring’s problems arise from the inherent qualities of bamboo.  There are several installation precautions that you need to take, and most of them are very similar to the requirements for installing real hardwood flooring.

The greatest concern is moisture.  If the bamboo is not adequately acclimated, or if the environment is too damp, then your floor will be nothing but a headache.  But you can go too far in the other direction as well.  A dry climate can be just as hard on bamboo flooring as a wet one.  Depending on your local climate, acclimation can take anywhere from a few days to a couple months.

You must be careful when securing bamboo to the subfloor.  If you are using nails or staples, it can be easy to damage the bamboo thanks to its less than stellar toughness.  For glue-down installations, care must be taken to keep the surface clean.  If glue does get on the surface of the floor, it can be carefully removed, but this is a hassle best avoided.

One installation risk that is unique to the bamboo flooring industry is formaldehyde off-gassing.  If you ever need to cut or sand bamboo flooring, you would do well to wear a mask and protect your skin.  Because bamboo flooring is often impregnated with formaldehyde, the stench alone can be unbearable, not to mention the adverse health effects caused by the pungent chemical.

If you have had any experiences installing bamboo flooring, then please share them in the comments section below.

Comments

RICK

October 6, 2011

“If glue does get on the surface of the floor, it can be carefully removed, but this is a hassle best avoided.”

If you get adhesive on ANY pre-finished flooring, you have the same problem. This is not related what so ever to just bamboo.

    jcolton

    October 6, 2011

    In the first paragraph of this article, it is stated that many of these guidelines apply just as much to other types of wood flooring as they do to bamboo.

John Memering

May 26, 2012

Installed aprox. 1100 square feet of the solid strand in 5 rooms. Used my brad nailer at 90 psi. I also glued it down using the bamboo adhesive recommended. Tho it may seem a bit of a hassle using this extensive installation method but after months of reading reviews, checking web site, “doing my homework”, the use of the glue provides a multiple of positive attributes. I had a few “creaks” in my floor and after the installation of the glued down flooring, all creaks are gone, it also causes an insulation effect in the floor. Also, if you have any “dips” in your flooring, once you install the flooring and let the glue cure, it fills the gaps and keeps the floor even. The brad nailing helped to keep it in place, not to mention some of the boards and not straight, so you have to pry the center of the board inward to close a gap then nail in down to hold it in place. Don’t worry if you shoot a nail into the wood and the tongue splits, the next peice will cover the split, and will butt up against the flooring fine. If I could install a picture of my finished product I would. I does look beautiful. Now, that said, I do see something going on that is not looking so good. In my utility room, I see a couple pieces of flooring, the ends appear to be “bubbling up” and I don’t recall water setting on the floor since installation, so I’m baffled as to whats happening to it, but it don’t look good. If anyone reads this and knows whats going on, please let me know, I’m thinking it’s not going to be fun if I have to remove ANY of this flooring and replace, well, everything I have to remove to access the bad pieces really, because a con to glueing down bamboo……removing it!

    Richard A.Cooper

    September 1, 2012

    Having had my whole house floored with srand bamboo back in Nov ’11,
    we noticed a “cupping” (edges of boards rising) giving a “washboard”
    effect. The installer measured for moisture and said there wasn’t
    enough to require sealing. Now, several inspectors have measured
    and found moisture coming up from the slab. My homeowners insurance
    declines any coverage and the installer says he only has liability
    insurance. I’m wondering if it’s something inherent in the bamboo.

    If you can help me with opinions, reply to rcooper88@tampabay.rr.com

      Mr Bamboo Review

      September 6, 2012

      This is a common problem when people try to install wood flooring onto concrete slabs like most Florida homes have. Some flooring adhesives claim to be a vapor barrier and adhesive in one so that you can glue wood flooring to a concrete slab, maybe your installer did not use the proper adhesive.

      I’ve actually seen a solid hardwood flooring product called Staybull Flooring installed on an aged concrete slab inside a home in Sarasota Florida and it had been installed for 5 years with no issues. The flooring is made like a solid table taop so it resists cupping.

Lilly from Albuquerque

June 10, 2012

Just an FYI, Formaldehyde is in ALL carpet!

aussie chippy

October 3, 2012

the best way lay solid flooring over concrete is to lay plastic over the slab and put batterns down 1″x2″ and that will stop the moisture rising and the flooring can be glued and secret nailed down

Mike Demetriou

October 3, 2012

I am cosidering to use bamboo flooring to dress walls, will this be ok?

kero

October 7, 2012

So what DO people recommend??

    jcolton

    October 8, 2012

    REAL hardwood flooring. You’ll still have to be keep in mind some of the installation tips from the article above, but you’ll get a longer-lasting, healthier floor.

Jason

November 19, 2012

My Parents had bamboo installed on their concrete floor with a vapor barrier foam and glue between the tounge and grove. The floor has held strong for 10 years now with no bad side effects. I was wondering if this might be possible with hard wood floors too.?

    Tina

    February 22, 2013

    Hi Jason,

    Do you know the name of the manufacturer of your parents’ bamboo floor?

    I heard that most of the cupping in bamboo floor is caused by unprofessional floor prepping and installation. Some installers try to cut corners and do not level the floor and not have proper moisture barrier.

      Niu

      April 2, 2014

      I’m starting to feel sorry for the installers. While I do think there are installers who are incompetent, my recent experience with bamboo tells me different. I think my installer and I have both been saved from some real trouble in the future. My click floors were not clicking together (like there was too much wax in the joints or the joints swelled) and we couldn’t instal. I was thinking that if we had installed it and the joints then started to swell, the company and a flooring inspector would have ruled against my installer. Furthermore, the samples I got 3 months ago are molding after 3 months where nothing else is molding. Gross. I can just be thankful that this little headache and extra cost now had not exponentially grown into something worse in the future. Also, an innocent man remains innocent.

Bonnie

February 18, 2013

I choose stranded bamboo because reports I read stated that it was stronger than hardwoods. There were no warnings regarding cupping. Even HGTV shows were touting bamboo for outside use. I purchased 2200 sf. Of bamboo, used the manufactures recommended glue applied to a slab. The installer did not test the slab for moisture, nor did he mention that it should be done. We also had the bamboo in a climate controlled storage for 3 weeks before installation. The installer was not concerned about acclimation. He was recommended by the store we purchased from (a wholesale club).
I hired an attorney 8 months ago, sat in his office for 45 minutes assisting he and his assistant discover the chain of ownership, the manufacture contact info, manufacture specs, ect. To date, I have not received any other information, copies of demands, etc., even communication from this attorney.
We prepared a report of estimates to remove and replace the floor. This will entail removal of all furniture and clothing, contractor to remove the bamboo, remove the glue, baseboards, and kitchen granite. The kitchen counter is constructed like a parsons table, and sits on top of the bamboo. If it is damaged during replacement, the entire kitchen counter top will have to be replaced. We estimate a minimum of 4 weeks to complete the entire process, worst case scenario. My family will have to have other living accommodations during this time. All told, estimated expenses are $50,000.
I am at a loss at the moment, and time is running out to file a claim. I live in Arkansas, and the statute of limitations is three years.

Frank

March 31, 2014

I am having multiple issues with bamboo glue down to concrete slabs. I am getting a lot of cupping issues. Can anyone recommend a good adhesive to use that has been tested. I have been using BRUM430 by Bruce but it doesn’t seem to be working all that well

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