When installing bamboo flooring, critical steps should be carried out in the preparation stages before you actually install the floor.
Preparation for Installing Bamboo Flooring
Preparation of the sub-floor is an important factor when installing bamboo flooring. If you're replacing existing flooring, be careful not to damage the sub-floor surface as you remove not only the flooring but also all the adhesive. In cases where tile or stone is removed, be sure to check the sub-floor for any signs of structural damage. In some cases, it's best to replace the sub-flooring to save time and ensure the sub-floor's condition.
If you decide to install your new bamboo floor over existing flooring, the sub-floor must be on or above grade and structurally in good shape. You can install bamboo flooring over the following sub-floors:
- Wood floors (3/4 inch plywood)
- Vinyl flooring
Preparing to install bamboo floors requires steps that include:
Acclimate your bamboo flooring at least 48 hours before you install it. Three to four days is even better. Move cartons of flooring to be installed into the environment where it will be installed. If you don't have the equipment to accurately check for moisture, unpack the flooring and stack it in the room for ten days or more.
Before installing bamboo flooring over concrete or a wooden sub-floor be sure to test for moisture in several areas using a moisture detection meter. Check the moisture in your bamboo flooring materials, too. Moisture difference between the two should be no more than 4 percent.
When you measure the area where you plan to install the bamboo flooring, it is a good idea to plan for a 20 percent overage. This ensures that you'll have the materials on hand to makeup for miscuts, and it gives you extra materials to work with in case of imperfections or damaged sections.
Tools Needed to Install Bamboo Floors
Installing bamboo floors is a dramatic home improvement. The good news is that you don't need a lot of specialized tools to do the job. If you don't have what tools you do need, check with your local home improvement store to see if they can be rented.
Basic Tools Needed
- Compound miter saw
- Hand saw
- Rubber mallet
- Possibly a face-nailer
Lay Out Your Boards
Remove baseboards, undercut door jambs and check the flatness of your sub-floors. A tolerance of three-sixteenths of an inch for a span of eight to 10 feet is acceptable.
Before you start work, lay out your materials. This step helps to get the big picture of what needs to be done, and gives you a visual of how the floor will look. Laying out your materials like this also gives you the opportunity to decide if the colors and graining are what you really want.
Floating or Standard Plank Flooring
Before you install your bamboo floor, you'll have to decide what method you plan to use. The two installation processes to consider are:
- Floating floor: Doesn't require face nailing. Close joints between planks with a rubber mallet.
- Standard plank flooring: requires face nailing. If this is the type of installation you choose, be sure to apply adequate pressure to close joints between flooring planks before firing the nails.
After installing your flooring, complete the project by inspecting the floor carefully. Check for things like:
- Misaligned joints
- Buckled sections
- Exposed, damaged or frayed ends
After you inspect the floor and find it satisfactory, go ahead and install your base moldings. It's best if you paint quarter round molding before installation to prevent the chance of getting stain or paint on your new floor. When you're done, clean up your materials and store larger pieces of leftover flooring for future repairs. They come in handy if unforeseen accidental damages happen to your floor in the future.