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How do You install a bamboo floor?

Updated on March 15, 2010

How do I Install a Bamboo Floor?

These days, the new rage in hardwood flooring is bamboo floors.  The main reason for this is that bamboo is better for the environment, making it perhaps the most eco-friendly hardwood flooring available.  While traditional oak, cedar or maple can take up to 100 years for a tree to reach maturation and ready to become a floor, bamboo matures in less than 5 years.  Plus, considering that technically bamboo is not a "tree" but grass, new bamboo will resprout up without the need to replant. While cutting down forests is not good for the environment, harvesting bamboo for floors doesn't have as strong of an effect in regards to clear cutting that is required with other traditional wood.

Will bamboo fit your needs for flooring?

There are a lot of myths and truths that fly around in regards to bamboo.  For instance, many believe that bamboo is scratch proof.  In reality, there isn't any wood flooring that is completely scratch proof and while bamboo is considered to be one of the harder woods, the reality is that the darker the grain of bamboo, the softer it will become due to the heating process.

How do I install my bamboo flooring?

Installing bamboo flooring is really as easy as installing regular hardwood.  The choices available to the casual do-it-yourself-er are immense and the styles and color available range in spectrum from very light to very dark. 

Bamboo comes in many different options.  The most typical is the solid wood bamboo which will require it to either be glued or nailed down.  For the novice hardwood installer, a floating bamboo floor that "clicks" together will be the easiest option. 

The important thing to consider is whether you are willing to commit the time that it will take to lay floors and that you have all the tools needed.  Be honest with yourself.  If you don't think you can do it or don't have the time, you should look for a professional in your area that lays hardwood floors for a living.

Choosing the right bamboo floor to be installed

When looking at floors, most people will simply look at the style and color of the wood.  Instead, you will want to find a company that is reputable and that is willing to stand behind its product with a warranty.  Warranties for hardwood come in a variety of years but you can find some companies that are willing to warrant their floors for 25-30 years. 

This is especially important when it comes to bamboo.  Because of demand, there are many flooring companies that are currently cutting corners by harvesting the bamboo when it is still too young to become a floor.

How to lay a bamboo floor

The first step to laying a bamboo floor is to either pull up the carpet or remove everything on the floor to reveal the subfloor.  The subfloor must be dry, level and clean.  You should also check it to make sure that the subfloor isn't in a humid environment as this could ruin the floors very quickly. 

The good news is that since bamboo is harvested in humid environments, it can withstand humidity to a degree although there is a limit to it. 

A lot of recent construction also has been done subpar and sometimes when you see the subfloor, you will notice that it isn't level.  You can correct this by using sand and boards to make the area level.  If you try to install floors on an unlevel surface, the bamboo will not install correctly.

If you are installing your bamboo floors the traditional way, you will have two choices.

You can use an adhesive to lay the flooring-  This will require you to spread the adhesive over the subfloor using a trowel.  You will need to lay the planks BEFORE the glue dries.

The other way is to use nails.  You can do this if your subfloor is made of plywood.  Some will use nails on a slab but it isn't recommended.

Caring for your Bamboo Flooring

Once the install is finished, caring for a bamboo floor is the same as caring for an oak or maple hardwood floor (or any wood for that matter).  Since your floors were likely to cost you thousands of dollars, you will want to make sure that you are using the right hardwood cleaning products that are made for wood.  Check with your local home improvement store.


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